"Double double toil and trouble/ Fire burn and cauldron bubble"
By GERRY BARKER
When you open "The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook for Kids," you almost feel like Shakespeare wrote those lines to set the mood for these "50 fun and easy recipes for tricks, treats, and spooky eats inspired by the Halloween classic."
This is a follow-up by author Bridget Thoreson to her original, best-selling "Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook," both inspired by Disney's cult-classic, 1993 movie, "Hocus Pocus." There's everything here you would want for a Halloween party, tailored for kids who like to cook, ranging from easy to needing an adult sous-chef.
Categories include "Breakfast," "Mains," "Sides," "Desserts and Treats" and "Drinks." Kids will take delight in the recipe titles alone, such as "Newt Saliva and Fries," "Dead Man's Toes," "Black Magic Meatballs" and "Baked Witch Ziti." Each one is accompanied by photos guaranteed to make kids reach for the pots and pans.
Of course, the best way to judge the book is turn it over to your own kid. In my case, it was our 10-year-old granddaughter, Cate. Not surprisingly, the recipe she landed on was "Witches' Buttercream Cake Pops," since cake pops have been one of long-time favorites. So with grandfather's assistance, we went to work in the kitchen.
Following the recipe, we started by assembling the vanilla cake from a box mix and getting it baking. Once it's done, you have to let it cool completely before moving to the next step. So far, so good.
While the cake was baking, we started on the buttercream frosting. For this step, Gigi (her grandmother) helped Cate sift the four cups of powdered sugar needed -- is there anything more messy than powdered sugar? -- and we got that ready to go. After the obligatory taste test, it was "thumbs up" on the frosting.
Next, we crumbled the cooled cake and combined it with the frosting to create the mixture that would we would form into the cake pops. To form the ball shapes, we used a melon baller. Once those were done, they would then have to refrigerate for one to two hours. Then came Cate's favorite part: Inserting the lollipop sticks into each one. By the way, one item you may need to special order are the lollipop sticks. I got ours from Amazon.
The final steps are dipping the pops in melted chocolate and adding the decorations of your choice. We used some Halloween-themed sprinkles.
We had a few learning curve moments, and our cake pops weren't as pretty as the ones in the book, but they were delicious and certainly best of all, it was great fun. We sent Cate home happy, with enough for all her friends. Then came the clean-up. But it was worth it.
"The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook for Kids, retailing at $17.95, from Ulysses Press is available on Amazon and from other book sellers.
Exploring what to see and do in North Palm Beach and the South Florida area. Your hosts are Pam and Gerry Barker.
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