When did Halloween begin?
This week's class will focus on when and where Halloween might have begun. The mystery and beauty of fall has been the inspiration for many traditions around the world. Next month we will talk about how other cultures celebrate thanksgiving. Some are very different from our own.
For this class, right before Halloween, we will learn how October 31st marked the time between the Autumnal Equinox and the Summer Solstice for the Irish and how the trick or treating tradition came to be. We will taste the very first Halloween treat, which was shortbread, made over 1,400 years ago.
For the Mexicans Oct. 31-Nov. 2nd is a time to honor dead loved ones. For most Americans it is a fun time to dress up, trick or treat and have fun. The class will begin with decorating a calavera. A calavera is a decorated sugar skull used in Mexico during Dia de Los Muertos.
Since there is only an hour for the class, I made the sugar molds ahead of time. For the SproutChefs that want to make their own at home, I ordered the molds on Amazon. Cybrtrayd H166AB Large 3D Skull Chocolate Candy Mold Bundle with 2 Molds and Exclusive Cybrtrayd Copyrighted 3D Chocolate Molding Instructions. Even though it says it is a chocolate mold is works equally well for sugar. The recipe follows.
Mexico's Calavera Sugar Mold Recipe
Dia de los Muertos
2 egg whites
5 pounds of granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Place sugar in a large bowl and stir to get rid of lumps.
Add two egg whites to the sugar and blend well with your hands. It should take about 5-6 minutes
Press the sugar into the mold. Pack as much sugar in as possible. The better packed, the stronger the skull will be.
Scrape of the extra sugar on top of the mold with a straight knife.
Unmold and place on a cookie sheet.
Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes.
Un-mold the skulls.
The back of the skull has to be attached to the front of the skull with a generous spreading of icing. Let them try for a an hour or two before decorating.
Royal Cream Icing
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons meringue powder
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup of water
Combine first three ingredients into a mixing bowl.
Slowly pour the water into the bowl and mix all the ingredients together.
Beat on medium high for 5-7 minutes, until the icing is smooth.
This icing will dry 30 minutes to an hour after it has been applied.
Samhain Treats, the first Halloween Treats
(from a 1,400 year old recipe)
1 cup very good butter (no substitutions)
2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine butter, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl.
Cream all ingredients together using a mixer, spoon or by hand.
When the dough forms a ball, spread it into an un-greased 9” x 9” pan.
Prick the top of the dough with a fork.
Bake treats for 35 minutes or until lightly browned.
While still warm, cut treats into small squares and serve on a plate.