Look out June Cleaver

Every Halloween, I feel like I’m fighting an uphill battle. All I want is a clever couples costume. All my boyfriend wants is not to look stupid. Apparently, we can’t have it both ways. I thought I came up with some pretty good costume ideas this year, all of which required little effort. Among the top contenders were America’s most dysfunctional couple, Jon and Kate; and hosts of MTV’s The Aftershow, Jesse and Dan. Both my ideas were rejected, especially the latter. We settled on another dynamic duo: Canada’s own UFC champion Georges St. Pierre, and an octagon referee. I was going to go as GSP.

Unluckily (or luckily) for my boyfriend, he was sidelined with a cold, so I had to fly solo to my friend’s Halloween party. I ended up recycling my sister’s costume from last year, and went as Suzy Homemaker.

Since I was dressing up the pinnacle of Domestic Bliss, I felt the pressure was on to produce a particularly delicious – and spooky – Halloween dessert. After sifting through dozens of recipes, I decided to try my luck with Martha’s Coffin Brownies. However, I decided to ditch the coffin theme. It involved working with marzipan and measuring stencils, and I really wasn’t feeling it. Instead, I used marshmallows, chocolate chips and red icing to make Bloodshot Eyeball Brownies.

IMG_1719

Eye spy a tasty, but tedious, treat!

I’ve tried making brownies once before, and it didn’t go too well. I’m not sure what happened, but I ended up with a tray of burnt pudding. This time, however, I fared much better! Martha’s brownies were pretty quick and easy. The recipe called for chopped chocolate covered almonds, which added a really rich, crunchy texture to the brownies.

The eyeballs were really cute, but incredibly tedious. The red veins had to be painted on the marshmallows by hand, using a tooth pick. Luckily, I enlisted the help of my artistically inclined sister. With her steady hand and keen eye for detail, she saved the day!

I also wanted to bake something to carry as an edible prop when I wore my costume to work on Friday. A colleague of my parents’ gave me her recipe for zucchini loaf, which was absolutely delicious. Over the past few days, I think I’ve made at least six loafs! The recipe is simple, healthy and really tasty. It calls for whole wheat flour, and plain yogurt to reduce the amount of oil. The cake is moist, and rich in cinnamon and clove flavour. I added chocolate chips, which was a hit – at least with everyone except my mom, who’s more of a zucchini purist.

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Here's looking at you!

These are two must-try recipes, especially if you’re dressed-up like a brunette June Cleaver!

Bloodshot Eyeball Brownies

  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder, plus more for marbling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 8 ounces dark-chocolate-covered almonds, chopped
  • Bag of large marshmallows, for garnish
  • ½ cup of chocolate chips, for garnish
  • Red icing, for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square pan, and line it with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on 2 sides. Butter and flour parchment, tapping out excess.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a small bowl. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sift cocoa powder on top of butter, and whisk to combine. Let cool 3 minutes. Gently whisk in vanilla and eggs, then stir in sugars and flour mixture until just combined. Fold in almonds, then spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
  3. Bake until the top is firm and set, about 30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove brownies from pan using parchment overhang, and let cool on wire rack. Once cooled, cut brownies into squares.
  4. Cut marshmallows in half, to form two circular “eyes.” In the center of each marshmallow, insert a chocolate chip, pointy-side down. Use a tooth pick to draw veins in red icing along the side of each marshmallow. Once completed, place one eyeball on top each brownie square.
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It's scary how well the zucchini and chocolate chips go together!

Best-Ever Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

*Makes 2 loaves

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 2/3 cups of granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ cup chocolate chips (if desired)
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare loaf pans with butter and flour.
  2. Mix zucchini, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs. Add in remaining ingredients.
  3. Pour into pans. Bake loaves for 45-55 minutes until done (insert knife into loaf, and if it comes out clean, loaf should be ready).
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