Hey there witchy worms, Kallie here. Happy Halloween! I am back for another round of book-themed recipes with Kami. This month we have a special dessert guest, Tav. The latest Night Worm’s package was HEX EDUCATION, so we brought out our fanciest potions and my most wicked brews for you all. You can put away your cauldron, eye of newt and dead men’s thumbs (unless you feel like getting extra fancy), you won’t need to have magical powers for these supernatural recipes.
The best part of this month’s theme for me was looking for witchy books. I know of a few, of course. But there were not as many witch-themed horror books on my shelves as I had suspected. So the hunt began! I asked for recommendations on social media and from my bookish friends, and you all really came through for me. I picked up quite a few books, some I have yet to read, and some that I binged right away.
The first book I picked up was Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin. I had read and loved this one years ago, but I didn’t own my own copy. So obviously, that wrong had to be righted. I am sure you know the gist of the book but in case you don’t, it goes a little something like this: A happy couple moves into a new apartment. The husband lands a primo acting gig and the wife ends up with a child. As their neighbors grow increasingly nosey, the wife grows increasingly paranoid that their neighbors might not be who they seem.
1 Rosemary Sprig
1 ounce Bulleit Rye
½ ounce simple syrup
Muddle the rosemary (I used a mortar and pestle like a proper witch) and put it into a cocktail shaker
Add the Rye and Simple Syrup to the shaker
Top with ice and Shake
Strain into a rocks glass and top with lemonade
Drink up and have a wicked good time
White is for Russians
The next book I purchased was White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi. I have to be honest here, I saw this book making the Instagram rounds and I wanted it before I ever read the synopsis because the cover is so damn pretty. The book is about the Silver family and their home in Dover, England, that has been converted to a B&B. When the mother passes away, the daughter, Miri, starts suffering from different strange ailments. But it isn’t until Miri brings a friend from college home to visit, that we see what the Silver family, the B&B and the town of Dover have in store for anyone who is unlike them. It focuses on race, family legacies and mental health. It’s an amazing slow burn of a book that I highly recommend.
Here is a twist on the classic White Russian. I drink it every so often when the kids are at the sitter's and I feel like lounging around in a robe. You might say that I look lazy, but that’s just, like, your opinion, man.
1 oz. coffee liqueur
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. fancy coffee creamer (I like to use a vanilla coffee creamer, but I’ve gone hella fancy before and used a peppermint mocha creamer, it’s up to your taste).
Half and half
Fill a rocks glass half-way with ice. Add the coffee liqueur and vodka. Now here is the part where everyone messes up and they make this drink not as pretty as they see on the internet. Over the back of a spoon, pour the fancy coffee creamer into the glass. The spoon helps to slow the pour and allows the creamer to sit on top of the liquid that is already in the glass. Then, fill the glass with the half and half using the spoon method again. Take your Instagram pictures before you stir it using your witch powers like that one part of Practical Magic
The Black Rock Witch’s Brew
The next book I picked up I had seen EVERYWHERE. It followed me like a curse. I had read mixed reviews about Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt and I had to see what all the fuss was about.
We follow people in the town of Black Spring. A modern-day town haunted by a 17th-century witch. The town has decided to do everything in its power to protect itself and the rest of the world from the evil that the witch could unleash. I’ll have a full review of this book soon, but just know that I have mixed feelings about this book.
2 oz. Vodka
3 oz. Lemon Lime Soda (I used sprite)
2 oz. Cranberry juice
In a shaker filled with ice, add all ingredients and stir with a bar spoon
Strain into any glass you please
Garnish with a licorice stick or sucker (it’s Halloween, have some candy) and serve!
Don’t forget to practice your alcohol potion consumption safely!
Now we’re moving on to our special guest, Tav. Tav came to Kami and I because she loves making desserts and wanted to make a special Halloween dessert to sweeten up our monthly article.
All witch stories seem to involve sweets of some type and the stories in Hex Life are no exception. Whether they are luring kids to their demises, or just feeding hungry children who need a little tender love and care, these cookies in the form of bony witches fingers will make you feel magical as you creep out your friends and family. They are also excellent for dipping in your morning coffee.
Witchy Shortbread Finger Cookies
2 sticks unsalted softened butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp baking powder
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
ground cocoa powder and cinnamon
light corn syrup and red food coloring
In a large bowl, beat sugar, butter, and extracts until creamy with an electric mixer. Add egg, salt, baking powder, and mix. Gradually mix in flour until fully incorporated. Chill dough in the fridge for at least 40 minutes.
After the dough has chilled preheat oven to 375*
Scoop out tablespoon-size scoops of dough and roll into a little thinner than your own fingers. They will expand in the oven, so the thinner the better. Use a small knife to make joint notches in dough in the middle and top parts of the “finger.” Press in a sliced almond nail at the tip on the finger. Bake for about 9 minutes.
As the first batch cooks, make more fingers and put them in the fridge until they are ready to go in the oven.
Once fingers have all been baked and are cool dust cocoa powder over the joint creases and mix together 2 tablespoons of corn syrup with drops of red food coloring. Drop over nails and paint onto the edges of the cookies or anywhere you want to look bloody.
Ania Ahlborn’s story The Debt in Hex Life, has a character doing a deal with the famous Slavic witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga traditionally lives deep in the forest in a hut with chicken legs. Ania’s story doesn’t deal with the chicken legs of the hut, but after I found chicken feet gummy candy at Central Market I couldn’t resist making a batch of apple cider doughnuts with chicken legs.
Apple Cider Doughnuts (adapted from the takeout)
3 cups apple cider (reduced to 1 cup)
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting your kneading surface
1 cup potato starch, plus extra for dusting.
2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. apple pie spice (a mix of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, nutmeg and allspice) or cinnamon
1/2 cup evaporated milk
½ tsp. salt.
High-heat oil, like vegetable or canola, for frying
Pour the apple cider into a saucepan and bring to a boil, reducing its volume from three cups to one cup. This took me about 12 minutes. It’s handy to have a glass-measuring cup nearby to check the reduction process. Let chill after it’s reduced.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, potato starch, sugar, baking powder, and spice. Make a little rounded cave in the center of the mixture.
Whisk the eggs, evaporated milk, salt, and reduced apple cider together until well combined, then pour into the center of the dry ingredients. Mix them together just until they are fully incorporated.
Generously flour a clean counter or wooden board, as well as your hands. Pour the sticky doughnut batter out of the bowl and gently knead for about one minute until it forms a sticky dough ball. Put back into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a wet cloth and let sit for half an hour
Fill a Dutch oven or your largest pot with at least 4 inches of frying oil. Clip a fry/candy thermometer to the side of the pot; making sure that the bulb doesn’t touch the bottom. Turn heat on high and wait for the temperature to get to 350* and then adjust to med-high.
Plop the dough onto a floured counter and cover your hands with potato starch. Pat dough out until it’s about ½ inch thick and cut into circles using a round cutter or the top of the evaporated milk can. Use a little round cutter or an empty pill bottle to cut little doughnut holes into the circles.
Test your oil temperature by dropping in a scrap of dough and seeing how quickly it bubbles and browns. If it burns immediately turn the heat down. If it bubbles quickly and browns in 30 seconds you’re ready.
Drop 4 doughnuts into the oil at a time. They will sink to the bottom at first, and then, as the baking powder is activated, they will puff up and rise to the top. Fry for about two minutes and then flip over and fry for a minute more, remove from the oil and place on a wire rack over a baking sheet to drain and cool. As you fry up the next batch drop the slightly cooled doughnuts into cinnamon and sugar.
How great are those recipes? I am bewitched by those donuts! Thanks to Tav for taking the time to come up with such awesome recipes! Next up, Kami opened up her spellbook just for us!
Witches are such a staple to Halloween. And an essential staple to a kitchen! Witches always have the very best and freshest ingredients making throwing something into the cauldron pretty easy peasy!
One of the BEST parts about being a Night Worm is getting to see what your fellow worms have “cooking” in their minds and together coming up with some fun stuff! I enjoy working each month with Kallie; she’s artistic, creative, talented and always pairs the best books with some great drinks! When Tav asked if she could join in on some witchy action, I was all-IN on that addition because you never know what Tav is cooking or up to as she is one inventive and eccentric Night Worm.
This month as we celebrate the HEXucation and near closer to All Hallows Eve I wanted to take it back and get a little vintage with you. One of my favorite authors of all time is Christopher Pike. Growing up as a young adult I made it my mission to collect all his books. The covers are timeless and the stories never disappoint. For this month’s theme, I present to you Witch and some delicious Moon Spell Cookies.
Moon Spell Cookies
1 cup finely grated almonds (optional)
1 ¼ cups flour
¼ cup of confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup butter
1 egg yolk
Combine almonds, flour, and sugar
Work in butter and egg yolk until well blended
Set mix in the fridge until chill (like a witches tit) ((so they say))
Roll into crescent moon shapes or use a cookie cutter in shape of
Place on to greased cookie sheet and bake at 320 for 20 minutes
**When cooled shake confectioners sugar on top**
LOVE: add a few pinches of rosemary, sweet basil, cinnamon and/or honey
PROSPERITY: add cinnamon, nutmeg, basil and/or grated lemon peel
PROTECTION: add cloves, rosemary, anise and/or cinnamon
PSYCHIC ABILITIES: add star anise, nutmeg orange and/or thyme
Remember to eat and consume with caution. Spells can give you more than you bargained for! Happy spellbinding and have a happy and safe Halloween.