Rewind a year ago.
Trevor was only six months old; happy to be in his bouncer seat and stare at the ceiling fan. And Haley, at 2 1/2, was still too young to go trick-or-treating, IMHO.
BUT…she wasn’t too young to help me hand out candy to the other lucky kids.
It was an unusually warm late October evening (storm door still closed, but temps high enough that we could have the main door open), so Haley and I stood in the foyer and waited to see little tots stroll up the walkway. Every time someone did, she would announce it to me, as if I couldn’t see them myself. We would both jump up and down and scream “Yea! Yea!”
Princesses and Super Heroes came. Monsters and Pirates. Dinosaurs and Barnyard animals. And some completely unidentifiable costumes that were still adorable. Haley got to place a treat in each bucket and she beamed ear to ear. We had quite a turn out. It was the best Halloween ever.
Haley is now 3 1/2 and she is SO ready to dress up and be on the other side of that door. Trevor is running, long outgrown the bouncer seat. He’ll stay home with one of us and take Haley’s vital manning-the-front-door position. It’s much colder this year, but we’re ready.
To start the ball rolling, I put on my festive hat and made these Halloween brownies, courtesy of Ms. Betty Crocker. They didn’t taste extraordinary or anything. Your basic brownie (and by basic, I still mean totally yummy.) The difference is with the food coloring you use in the cream cheese mixture. I spent $6 to use eight drops of food coloring. Oy. But, it was worth it.
Don’t have kids? Think orange and black are ugly? Hate Halloween? Well, okay. These brownies don’t care. And neither will you. Make up a batch, anyway. They’re fun.
Note: do not let the overall time discourage you. The actual hands-on time is practically nothing, the rest is spent cooling.
Makes 24 squares
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 45 minutes (including cooking, cooling, and refrigerator)
• 2 (3 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1 egg
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 4 drops red food coloring
• 4 drops yellow food coloring
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
• 1 box brownie mix
• 1/3 cup vegetable oil
• 1/4 cup water
• 2 eggs
Heat oven to 350. Grease or spray bottom only of a 13×9 inch pan.
In a small bowl, beat filling ingredients with electric mixer on low speed until smooth. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir brownie ingredients until well blended.
Spread 3/4 of the brownie batter in the pan. Spoon the filling by spoonfuls evenly on top of the brownie batter. Spoon remaining brownie batter over filling. For marbled design, pull knife through the batter and filling in wide curves. Turn pan and repeat.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean and mixture is set. Cool completely at room temperature (about an hour.) Then refrigerate for an hour until chilled. Cut into 6 rows by 4 rows.
Note: when you blend the cream cheese with the food coloring it might appear somewhat pink. Don’t worry – it turns orange as it bakes.
(originally from Betty Crocker)