Sunday, 30 December 2012

Dawn of the Gingerbread

Ever wonder what happens to the poor gingerbread souls who still haven't been eaten days after Christmas?

Zombies! These cookies are made from your basic gingerbread recipe, cut to look like people, some of them sans limbs. Once baked and cooled, I decorated them using a basic milk+icing sugar glaze. 

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     These zombie cookies inspired me to re-watch Dawn of the Dead (2004). I'm probably among a minority group of people who actually prefer Snyder's remake of Romero's 1978 original. I recognize that the original is probably "better" in terms of originality, influence and social commentary, but I find the remake to be much more enjoyable. First of all, I prefer fast and strong zombies for their ability to scare the living daylights out of me, even if they are less "authentic." Then again, why can't we have both? If you don't have anything better to do with the rest of the holiday season, you can watch both of them while nibbling on some stale gingerbread.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Gremlin Cookies

Meet Gizmo, the sweetest little mogwai of the bunch!

     For these, I used a basic sugar cookie recipe and cut out individual, mogwai-shaped cookies before baking. Coincidentally, a mogwai head is about the same shape as Yoda's head, so you could easily double up on your pop culture references in one batch. Here, I kept it (sort of) simple. The icing is a basic glaze made from icing sugar and milk. The consistency should be smooth but not runny. I used gel colouring to get the right shades and then I broke out my paintbrushes and got to work.

Plush Gizmo, for comparison.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     These sweet little treats might not look very terrifying, but appearances can be deceiving. They hail from the classic Christmas movie that gave you nightmares as a child: Gremlins (1984). It's hard to see how anyone wouldn't want a mogwai for Christmas. They're only the cutest pets imaginable. They sing, they play games and they're fairly low-maintenance, too. You only need to follow three simple rules: 1. Keep them out of bright light, 2. Don't get them wet, and 3. Never, ever feed them after midnight. Remember, the last one is especially important.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Nightmare Before Christmas Cupcakes

Time to start making Christmas!

     These rich chocolate cupcakes are topped with fondant that I painted using food colouring and a few drops of vodka. It was just like doing watercolours! Once they've dried, you can't taste the alcohol at all. 

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     I've painted scenes from everyone's favourite macabre children's holiday classic, The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Pictured above (clockwise) are Skeleton Jack's silhouette on a mountaintop, the Boogeyman,  Jack's ghost-dog Zero and a close-up of Skeleton Jack's face. As a small child, this movie was one of my earlier experiences with horror and dark comedy. I remember being captivated by the world of Halloween and all the creepy characters, stunning animation and catchy music. This might be a family-friendly film, but even today, as an adult, I find the scenes where Santa is mistreated to be incredibly disturbing. That's probably the only part I still don't like. I love Jack's hilariously misguided attempts to make Christmas, resulting in a hysterically funny and terrifying Christoween. If you haven't watched it in a while, I recommend putting it on again this season. It's as charming as ever!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Fingers from the Grave

Yikes, looks like somebody just won't stay buried!

     This week I used another Martha recipe, this time for Ladies' Fingers. Although, I think mine look much more disturbing than hers, with their bony knuckles and unvarnished, rotting nails...

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     These dreadful digits remind me of the final scare from the movie Carrie (1976). Carrie White is a very unfortunate teenage girl. She's the daughter of a religious fanatic and everyone at school hates her for existing. It just so happens that Carrie also has telekinetic powers, which she uses to exact revenge against the whole town. After the ordeal is over, a surviving classmate is racked with guilt at the way Carrie was treated, and visits Carrie's grave in her dreams. As she kneels down to lay flowers on the grave, an undead arm reaches out of the earth and grabs hold of her. Gotcha! She wakes up, screaming. This is one of my favourite jump scenes, and I am not a fan of jump scenes. I wonder if they'll try to do something like it in the remake that's coming out soon. We'll see.

If you've got a taste for terror... stay tuned for more Terrifying Treats.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Suspiria Cupcakes

These cupcakes have seen better days!

     I was inspired by this recipe from Martha Stewart, of all people. I used chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing. The sugar glass is made by heating sugar just short of caramelization. I added food colouring and made sugar glass in blue, green, orange and clear.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     These cupcakes pay homage to the famous execution scene from Dario Argento's Suspiria (1977). A deranged murderer is on the loose in a ballet academy and ends up killing two birds (ballerinas) with one stone (stained glass ceiling). Suspiria is a brilliant, colourful, twisted movie that's a lot of fun to watch. It's about an American ballerina who moves to Munich to attend a prestigious ballet academy, when strange things start to happen...

Ouch, that's gotta hurt!

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Minnie Castevet's Chocolate Mouse

     Mousse au chocolat or "chocolate mouse", as she calls it, is one of Minnie Castevet's speci-al-ities. I used a recipe involving Kahlua; it's like eating chocolate velvet. Each ramekin is initialed with pink icing.    

I know which one I'm eating...

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

    So far I've chosen desserts and tried to make them scary, so this time I tried to think of horror movies in which a dessert plays an important role. My all-time  favourite horror movie, Rosemary's Baby (1968), just happened to fit the bill. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the pivotal pudding that gets the ball rolling, and the precursor to one of the most uncomfortable dream sequences of all time. From confection to conception. Allow me to explain...

     Rosemary's husband, Guy, answers the door after dinner and brings in two cups of chocolate mousse from their next-door neighbour, Minnie. One for him and one for her. As they eat, Rosemary notices a funny taste, while Guy denies this and aggressively tells her, "The old bat slaved all day on it; now eat it!" Even though she slips most of it into her napkin, within 10 minutes she's losing consciousness. Oh yeah, and when she wakes up the next morning, she's pregnant with the devil's child.  

"It has an undertaste... a chalky undertaste"

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Teeth Cookies

     Try taking a bite out of these goofy cookies!  I have to admit, I didn't come up with the idea; it was based on the winner of the Toll House Spooktacular Baking Contest, which you can find here.  I omitted the almond slivers, since I made vampire cookies not too long ago, and went instead for a more generic, toothy look, with pink gums.  

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

Okay, but what horror movies are about teeth?  Teeth... teeth...

I'm so sorry.

     Really though, Teeth (2007) is a pretty interesting movie, with an original concept.  Some parts are disgusting and other parts are hilarious and absurd.  Overall, it's fairly well-done.  Just do some research before you watch, and you'll find  out very quickly if it's your kind of movie or not.  

"Dentata... it's Latin for 'teeth'"

Sunday, 28 October 2012


     These spidery specialties incorporate a family recipe and crunchy Pocky.  The thorax and abdomen are made from haystacks: a chewy treat consisting of oats, coconut and chocolate.  The legs are Pocky chocolate biscuit sticks, cut and "glued" together with melted chocolate, which I also used to make the eyes.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     These terrifying treats remind me of the infamous spider (and its young) from Arachnophobia (1990).  This is a very satisfying and funny horror movie.  The pacing is perfect, so you're not left frustrated while waiting for the characters to figure things out, which is a problem I have with a lot of horror movies.  Spiders make a pretty great villain, too.  Their small size is both their strength (easy to miss) and their weakness (easy to squish).  This is a fun, creepy, almost family-friendly adventure, and it's the perfect time of year to watch it.  Eat these yummy arachnoclusters while you do, and enjoy a sense of poetic justice.


Rock and roll!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Brain Cupcakes


     These are some smart cupcakes!  To celebrate my recent graduation, I made this batch of pumpkin spice cupcakes with cream cheese icing, tinted pink with pumpkin, cinnamon and just a drop of red food colouring.

Photo Credits: Kelly Garsha

     These are pink, healthy brains, not at all like the mutant monstrosity shown below.  But still, The Brain (1988) is probably my favourite brain-centred horror film.  It's actually about a giant brain that terrorizes teenagers and eats people.  It's got a strongly 80's B-movie vibe to it, and it's so enjoyable that it's achieved cult status.  And what could be worse than a smart bad guy?

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Evil Dead Devil's Food Cake

     This terrifying treat is the book of the dead, in cake form, and bound in chocolate icing instead of human flesh.  You might even call it the NecroNOMicon.  Maybe.  

     I started with a basic devil's food cake, of course, and iced it with vanilla and chocolate buttercream icing.  I used a combination of marshmallows and layered icing to make the facial features, and then poured some melted dark chocolate (mixed with a little milk and instant coffee) into the craters of the eyes and mouth.  I then unceremoniously hacked at it with a toothpick to give the icing some texture.

Join us!

Photo credits: Ann Fillmore

     This cake was inspired, of course, by Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981).  In fact, you should be thanking me, because there are many moments in the film that could have made for some truly unappetizing food.  And by that, I mean there's some spectacular gore.  Demonic possession, rotting body parts all over the place, oatmeal oozing out of shirt-sleeves!  The special effects are so creative and weird you'll have to pick your jaw up off the floor when it's over.  This is a great example of fun horror.  It's just so creepy, insane and hilarious!  I haven't met anyone who hates it.  Just watch it.  But you might not want to be eating anything while you do.   

Really though, this is a film for people who like horror movies.  If the trailer offends you, the movie will as well.  You've been warned.

Join us!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Nosferatu Pfeffernüsse

     In celebration of Oktoberfest, I decided to create a German horror-dessert masterpiece.  I fused the delicious, gingerbread-like pfeffernuss cookie with one of the greatest German horror films: Nosferatu.  I pressed whole blanched almonds into the dough before baking, creating the pointed ears.  Once baked, I either coated the cookies in icing sugar or glazed them.  I liked how both techniques looked, for different reasons.  Next I piped some melted dark chocolate onto the face as shown, and attached the eyes and fangs, which were cut from marshmallows.  

"It will cost you sweat and tears, and perhaps... a little blood." - Tell me about it. Cutting marshmallows is hard work!  Thanks for the help, David.

I like their surprised expressions.

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

     Nosferatu, eine Sinphonie des Grauens or Nosferatu: A Symphony of Terror (1922) is a classic of German Expressionism, directed by F.W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck.  It is an unofficial adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, but names have been changed to protect the undead (a.k.a. the studio couldn't get the rights to the novel).  The film was very influential for the vampire sub-genre.  You might be wondering though, what does a 90 year-old vampire movie look like today?  A bit dull, a bit confusing, a bit unintentionally funny.  Graf Orlok, however, still looks great in film and cookie form, if I may say so myself.  You might put it on in the background at a get-together, if your friends are as geeky as mine are.  And don't forget: everything's more pfun with pfeffernüsse! 

Guten Appetit!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Halloween Thanksgiving Pie

     In honour of Thanksgiving, I baked the classic pumpkin pie – with a twist.  I used the leftover dough and cut out jack-o'-lantern features, lightly baked them and then arranged them on the finished pie.

I've finally mastered the homemade crust!

Photo credits: Kelly Garsha

This creation was inspired by Carpenter's hugely influential Halloween (1978).  I won't say anything about it, because who hasn't seen it already?  If you haven't, it's the perfect time!  I tried to copy the features from the classic title screen below:

Happy Thanksgiving!