A lot of bibliophiles love a bit of seasonal reading, especially around Halloween time. There’s something about curling up with a big blanket, a mug of cocoa, and a super spooky read that turns the early darkness of chill autumn nights into something cozy and fun. I always like to save recipes from books like this for my October blog menus, because this is just the right time of year for them. Some of my fondest blogging memories are of making recipe posts for books like Dracula, Sherlock Holmes, various Edgar Allen Poe titles, and most recently The Phantom of the Opera. They allow so much room for creativity, and I often get to use fun colors and plating styles that normally wouldn’t fit the tone of other books.
Below are my Top 10 Bookish Halloween Recipes, a roundup of my favorite blog recipes from Octobers past. I hope you all enjoy them and that they make the spookiest day of the year just a little bit sweeter! 😉
I first heard of opera cake almost a year ago, and I’ll never forget how floored I was by the elegant appearance. It’s traditionally a thinly layered torte composed of joconde sponge cake, coffee syrup, coffee buttercream, and chocolate ganache. The delicate, refined style and the rumor that it was created in honor of the Paris Opera House had me transfixed. I knew when I got around to making a Phantom of the Opera menu, this HAD TO BE my dessert.
But truth be told, I was thoroughly daunted by the time and energy required to make such a cake (we’re talking joconde, flavored syrup, buttercream, and two thicknesses of ganache!). I had no idea how I’d manage it will a little baby on the verge of crawling, and I had a feeling a lot of my readers would consider it too much work as well.
I searched online for an easy version and couldn’t find one, so I decided to create my own! I went with a chocolate strawberry theme, in honor of the red, black, and white motif so closely associated with Phantom of the Opera. This recipe uses frozen pound cake from the grocery store, strawberry jam, vanilla buttercream, and chocolate ganache. I made my own buttercream, but you can even use the stuff in the can to save time. So in the end, the only thing you HAVE to make from scratch is the ganache! The final flavors are a delicious combo of sweet buttercream, rich pound cake, sweet-tart jam, and bitter-sweet chocolate. Sooo delicious!
I’ve been eager to share this recipe for weeks! When I first started planning my Phantom of the Opera menu, I came across this recipe, and it was just too perfect to pass up. The black and red color scheme and wicked theme made them just the side dish I needed!
They may look complicated, but they’re actually very easy to make. Just whip up your favorite bread dough (I used a basic bun recipe I developed for my cookbook) and create a black rice flour mix to go on top. Spread on the topper, bake, and you’re all set to enjoy some piping hot bits of brimstone! 🙂
Hey, everybody! We’re due for another cookbook update, and what a grand one it is: I FINISHED MY MANUSCRIPT!
I’ve spent the last month or so making final tweaks to recipes, fine-tuning instructions, and finalizing photo choices. My perfectionist streak truly made itself known. I can’t tell you how much time I spent staring at two virtually identical photographs, trying to decide which one I liked better!
Then at 2:20 am (!!!) on Monday morning, I hit send on the final document. It was such an incredible moment…but also strange, realizing I’d completed something I started over a year ago. All of a sudden, I felt like a real author. Despite the early hour, the Little Mister was awake for the occasion…which I’m sure was because he wanted to share the big moment with me. 😉
I haven’t gotten word yet from my editor about what she thinks, but I’ll probably hear from her by the end of the week. There’s still a lot of work ahead, but it’s such a relief to have cleared this first big hurdle!
Here’s a rundown of some new things I added to the manuscript:
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt—“Ten Yummy Foods in Books”—seemed tailor made for my blog. After all, food in books is what I DO. As excited as I was to tackle the prompt, it only seemed fair to up the ante and make it a bit more challenging. So instead of ten yummy foods, I chose ten books (some of them are series) that all have iconic dishes associated with them. In the end, I got closer to 20 foods than 10, but everything’s better when there’s more food, right? Hope y’all enjoy! 😉
Roses are one of the many iconic items from The Phantom of the Opera. They’re most commonly found in the movie–as mysterious gifts from the Phantom that appear for Christine seemingly by magic–but they make appearances in the book and stage play as well. They’re seen as the Phantom’s calling card, so I knew they had to have a place in our menu.
In the past, various “apple rosette” pies and tarts have caught my eye on Pinterest. I noticed that they were all dessert bakes, so I decided to make a savory version. I whipped up the herbed pie crust that will appear in my cookbook next year and filled it Gouda cheese and carmelized onions, topping it with rosettes made from thinly sliced Gala apples.
I love the way the cheese stretches just a bit as you bite into it and how the sweet apples and flaky, savory crust play off each other. Just a little bit of bite from the caramelized onions finishes it off. Bon appetit!
I’ve had this tea blend waiting in the wings for almost a year now. I’ve known for AGES that I wanted to do a Phantom menu, but it took me quite a while to figure out exactly what I wanted to make for it. In the mean time, I designed this tea through Adagio Teas and saved it until I was able to make a Phantom menu. And now that time is here, so we can finally enjoy some Music of the Night tea!
I wanted something rich, indulgent, and romantic, so I went with a blend of chocolate and strawberry tea. For a little extra flair, I accented it with strawberry pieces, cocoa nibs, and rose petals. Brew yourself a cup and lose yourself to the Music of the Night!
Happy October, Wonderlanders! Our new book of the month, in honor of Halloween, is The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux! I remember reading it in college and loving all the drama, intrigue, and interesting themes. Plus, the spooky nature of the Phantom makes this book a perfect choice for October.
One of my favorite themes in the book (and maybe the most common) is the concept of angels and demons. I’ve always thought of the Phantom and Raoul’s battle for Christine as symbolic of the battle between Heaven and Hell over the human soul. I’m not sure if this is the intended interpretation or not, but either way I wanted to include an homage to this theme in my menu. Which brings me to Devils on Horseback!
I heard the recipe name tossed around several years ago and looked it up out of curiosity. As it turns out, Devils on Horseback is a fancy name for a dish many of us know and love: BACON. WRAPPED. DATES.
* resists the urge to squeal *
I’m not exaggerating when I say I’m CRAZY about bacon wrapped dates The Mister and I once spent a whole party hanging out by the oven as we waited for tray after tray of bacon wrapped dates to come out, snagging as many as we could before the hostess (my sister) took them away to serve to other, less obsessed guests. So when I saw that I had an opportunity to make them for this menu, I was like UM YES THIS IS HAPPENING.
Halloween is peeking it’s head around the corner, so in the spirit of the season, our new Book of the Month has a spooky vibe: The Phantom of the Opera!
There are so many iconic items from Phantom: masks, roses, pipe organs, chandeliers, sheet music, magical lassos—the list goes on! So naturally, it was pure fun to put this reading kit together. It features cozy Phantom throw pillows, perfectly themed snacks, and even fancy abstract sunglasses made to look like the famous Phantom mask.
Read on, Wonderlanders…and be sure to keep your hand at the level of your eyes! 😉 Read More