In case you haven’t noticed, fall has arrived. Luckily, winter is still at bay, so instead of panicking, you can rejoice and look forward to things like apple picking and celebrating Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Thanks to the “Harry Potter” film franchise, whenever I think of Halloween I now also invariably picture a pre-pubescent Harry, Ron and Hermione stuffing their faces at the Hogwarts’ Halloween feast. This, in turn, makes me wish I could experience butterbeer for myself.
This long train of thought ultimately resulted in me seeking out a recipe for this magical drink and trying it. Trust me, it’s as good as J.K. Rowling said it was for all those years.
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
1/4 cup heavy cream
Four 12-ounce bottles of
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
1. Combine the brown sugar and water in a small saucepan, heat over medium flame until the mixture comes to a boil. Make sure to stir often. (If, for some reason, you have a candy thermometer you can check that the mixture has come to 240°F before removing it from the stove. But just eyeballing the pan and waiting for the mixture to boil works, too).
2. While you’re waiting for the brown sugar mixture to boil, combine whipping cream, vanilla extract and powdered sugar in a mixer with a whisk attachment to make whipped cream.
3. Add butter, salt, vinegar and 1/4 cup heavy cream to the brown sugar mix in the pan and stir just until heated, but don’t let it return to a boil.
4. Divide the brown sugar mixture among four glasses to serve and then fill the remainder of the glasses with cream soda — stir to combine. Dollop with whipped cream and enjoy.
But what’s a drink like butterbeer without a snack to go with it? Not much. Enter pumpkin bread.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup canned* pumpkin puree
1/2 cup olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
* To make your own pumpkin puree, cut a ripe pumpkin in half, scoop out all the seeds and gross stringy stuff and lay the halves face down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350°F until soft — about 45 minutes to an hour. Let cool, then scoop out the squash and run through a blender or food processor. Freeze whatever you don’t need for future use.
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, water and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, but do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in the nuts if desired.
4. Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out the loaf onto a cooling rack, then slice into the perfect Halloween treat. Best served with the butterbeer you just whipped up.
Sklar is a member of the class of 2014.