Boulder County Farmers Markets
If you’re a regular reader of our column, chances are you are the type to show up to every holiday, sporting event and gathering with a perfectly planned menu and empty stomach. If you ask us, Halloween should be no exception.
While Halloween doesn’t have the same culinary standards as say, Thanksgiving, it’s still a holiday rooted in food tradition. Today, trick-or-treaters ascend on neighborhoods in pursuit of the best candy they can find. But before candy became the holiday staple in the mid-20th century, there were multiple other food traditions that marked the end of October.
In medieval times, soul cakes — small round shortbread biscuits, usually decorated with a cross — were baked to celebrate Allhallows Eve and All Saints Day. In the 1800s, apple bobbing became a popular Halloween tradition, which is fitting, as the holiday falls soon after the apple harvest ends for the year. To this day, barmbrack (a sweet, yeasted loaf with raisins) is baked in Ireland each October.
And it wasn’t until 1888 that the world’s most controversial candy — candy corn — was born, leading to the candy-crazed holiday that we celebrate today.
Eat, drink, and be scary
Halloween in the United States has become known for highly processed and individually wrapped candy. Our markets don’t sell products or beverages with high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, phosphoric acid or artificial flavoring — knocking fan favorites like candy corn, Sour Patch Kids, Reese’s Take 5, Nerds and Baby Ruth bars out of our market booths. Not to mention they are all made by a select few, very large corporations like Mars and Nestle, which don’t exactly support our local economy and food system.
But have no fear: There are plenty of options to satisfy your spooky Halloween sweet tooth at our markets. And you’ll know that the colors and flavors are au naturel and Colorado-made.
Why confine one of the greatest desserts to one holiday? Pumpkin pie should be for Halloween, too. Hinman’s Pie pumpkin pie is the perfect way to celebrate the fall season and pay homage to the lovely jack-o’-lanterns sitting on your porch.
For chocoholics, we always recommend Bibamba Artisan Chocolate. This single-origin chocolate is made from cocoa sourced from Patrick and Mara’s (Bibamba’s co-owners) farm in Cameroon. To commemorate the orange hues of Halloween, their Orange Spark flavor would be a perfect choice.
And if you scream for ice cream, you have to try the seasonal flavors from Pint’s Peak Ice Cream and Best One Yet. Pint’s Peak is serving pumpkin roll ice cream and, with owner Caitlin’s background as a pastry chef, we are sure the flavor swirls will be out of this world. Helen, the mastermind behind the vegan masterpieces of Best One Yet, is whipping up a trio of ghoulish flavors for the holiday: Monster Matcha, Candy Corn and Swamp Slime. You’ll just have to come to market to see and taste how these candy favorites have been incorporated into ice creams.
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Fire Burn and Cauldron (of Caramel) Bubble: Homemade Caramel Apples
An apple a day keeps the doctor away — even if it’s covered in caramel, right? Right. Crisp apples are identical with Colorado fall, and making your own caramel sauce is surprisingly easy.
8 to 10 apples (we recommend Honeycrisp, Fuji or Gala from First Fruits Organic Family Farm or Topp Fruits)
½ cup water
5 tablespoons butter
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ teaspoon salt
Wash and dry apples.
Remove apple stems and place skewers or popsicle sticks firmly into apples.
Put water and sugar into a pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves.
Turn down heat, let simmer until the simple syrup has a golden color. Add butter and whisk until it melts.
Add cream and stir vigorously, cooking until caramel reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy or cooking thermometer.
Let caramel cool slightly before holding apples by their skewers and coating in caramel.
Add nuts, chocolate or granola for toppings.