Halloween Cupcakes & Grilled Pizza

BOO – HA – HA – HA!
Double, double, toll and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.
Eye of newt, toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork and blind worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg and howlet’s wing.
-William Shakespeare/The Three Witches,Macbeth

Happy Halloween Eve, all!

I saw this really cute mummy cupcake at Hope Studios, and had to try it for my little guy’s third grade Halloween party.  Check out Jennifer’s awesome version and tutorial!  Mine by comparison are a pathetic attempt at frosting with tips, but guess what?  Third graders could care less about perfection.  They totally got that these were mummies, and that they were yummy!  I love baking for kids – they are enthusiastic even if my cake decorating skills are severely lacking!!
Do you feel like a spaz when you’re making cupcakes?
 Like it should be so easy peasy, so why is your kitchen all blown up and there is excess cupcake mix all over the pan? 
For sure, if you’re baking with young kids this is going to be the case, so just suck it up for now because they are going to grow up so fast, and you’ll have plenty of years to have a nice clean kitchen when they are too busy to hang out with mom.  Enjoy the messy years! I repeat, enjoy the messy years!
But I digress….
Here’s quick tutorial on baking the perfect cupcake.
(Disclaimer!:  I use cake mixes on a frequent basis because we make a LOT of cupcakes around here.  Nothing wrong with shortcuts, ladies!  I’m all for a delicious homemade cake but it’s okay to take the easy way out sometimes!)
#1 – line muffin tins with plain paper or foil baking cups.  Save the pretty ones (see #4)!
#2 – use a measuring cup to scoop the mix out of the bowl and drop it into the muffin tin.
#3 – fill the cups generously so they will develop a nice top on them when baking.  You don’t want wimpy cupcakes! I’d guess this is a bit more than the 2/3 the cake mix box suggests.  This mix yielded 30 cupcakes.
#4 – save the pretty cupcake liners until after baking – if you bake chocolate cupcakes in the decorative ones, the design will be hard to see.  Yes, I am saying to double-line your cupcakes using the decorative one on the outside.  Crazy.
#5 – I just learned this one this week – frosting with a bag & tip is easier, quicker, and not as messy as spreading frosting.  I’ll do a little tutorial on tips one of these days!
And then – enjoy! 
{No!  Don’t eat us!}
Now onto some actual nourishment for those lil trick or treaters:
I don’t know about you but every Halloween I am madly trying to stuff something halfway decent into my kids before they set out to gorge on candy all night. 
Make-your-own pizzas are the perfect solution because you can control the portion, and most importantly, how much cheese goes on them. 
(Pizza wouldn’t be so unhealthy if not for the large amount of cheese on them.) 
More importantly for this occasion – making individuals pizzas is fun, easy and a great way to go if you’re hosting a group of kids and adults.
Put together toppings ahead of time:  shredded mozzarella, pepperoni, and carmelized onions are our faves, but you know the drill – anything goes on pizza!
Purchase pizza dough balls at the grocery store.  Some pizza chains (such as Bertucci’s) sell the dough also.  Divide the dough into the size of baseballs for a kid’s individual pizza. 
Sprinkle cornmeal or flour on your (clean!) countertop, and roll the ball in it so the dough doesn’t stick to your hands.  Gently stretch your dough into a thin sheet, being careful not to make any holes.
{The dough will get mis-shapen moving it from the counter, to the cookie sheet, to the grille – don’t stress about it’s shape.}
Brush one side of each dough with olive oil and throw on your grille over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes, until it has stiffened a bit and has golden grille marks on the bottom. 
Remove from grille and flip over; on the grilled side, let each person assemble their own pizzas with the toppings.  (We like Pastene pizza sauce.)
{Don’t they look like humungous grilled chicken breasts??? :)}
Put the pizzas back on the grille for 5 minutes or so, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. 
{I could eat this for breakfast right now!}
Have a cutting board nearby to slice; serve with a big tossed salad for a balanced and fun meal!
Are you doing anything fun for Halloween?
Whatever you’re up to, may you have a hauntingly delightful All-Hallows Eve!

Check out lots of fun and creative ideas at A Little Lovely’s Saturday Soiree!