Halloween is just around the corner, and though produce typically doesn’t fit in the holiday’s emphasis on candy, there are plenty of creative sweet treats you can make at home using items from area farmers tailgate markets.
Honey, winter squash, and apples. There are so very many possibilities of what to create with these three ingredients — individually or combined. Honey caramel (homemade caramel which you can make using local honey) is a great starting point for a few treats, including caramel dipped apples (a steadfast of the autumnal sweets cannon), “pumpkin” caramels, (despite the name, you can make it with any winter squash of your choice), or baked goods with honey caramel mixed in, such as honey caramel apple muffins — just to name one! And all pumpkin recipes — pies, bars, breads, not just caramels — are up for experimentation with other varieties of winter squash.
With the seeds that remain from your winter squash treats, try candying them. First, cook the seeds either on the stove or in the oven. Then set them aside while you heat sugar, water, and other spices such as cinnamon, in a saucepan stirring continually until mixture thickens. Then stir in the cooked seeds, continuing to stir. Once seeds are coated, remove into a layer on parchment paper to dry and cool.
Want to make this a spookier treat? Use your candied seeds to create apple monster mouths. Cut apples into quarter wedges, then cut the inside of the wedge out to create the “mouth.” Spread still warm caramel and before it dries stick slices of the candied seeds in as “teeth.”
Ginger. Just like the seeds above, ginger is great candied. It’s recommended to boil the ginger and then let it dry before starting the candying process. And once it’s made, you can snack on it as is, or add it to baked goods recipes, such as scones. You can also use fresh, grated ginger in sweet recipes such as gingerbread cookies.
Eggs. Use local eggs from farmers markets to make meringue ghost cookies. With a standard meringue batter and a piping bag or the corner cut out of the ziplock bag, squeeze out upright “ghost” mounds on a baking tray and add small chocolate chips for eyes.
What other spooky Halloween themed treats can be made from farmer market ingredients? You can make any baked good Halloween themed with bat, spider, and pumpkin shaped cookie cutters. With a little creativity and just a few tools, there are endless possibilities!
Some markets around the region have begun to close, while others are getting ready to switch locations or hours for the holiday season. To find out about markets near you, visit “Farmers Market Closings and Holiday Dates” page at asapconnections.org.
Area farmers tailgate markets take place throughout the region. As always, you can find information about farms, tailgate markets, and farm stands, including locations and hours, by visiting ASAP’s online Local Food Guide.