EntertainingsliderTime Out


A Special Flan • Witches´ Fingers Cookies • Ranch
Dressing • Coffee Syrup


by Mary Canovas

This month we´ll have lots more recipes and crafts with time enough to spare for
Halloween. This is Part 1 of our October Specials that include recipes
you can make any time of the year and some you´ll have fun
with especially at Halloween. Watch for Part 2 – we´ll
have mummies, spider webs, candleholders,
centerpieces and a pull-apart cheese
bread made with – what else?!
Garlic!!! – it’s going to be a
great Halloween and a
really bad time for


A Special Occasions Flan

There are many recipes for making flan, but this one is very special. Although it´s very creamy it is much lighter than flans made with cream cheese.  The secret – heavy cream combined with whole milk, and condensed milk which gives it that incomparable especially rich flavor.

Serve it on special occasions, intimate or formal dinners where you need more than a simple flan. But, since it is such an easy recipe you can make for the whole family any time.

Serve alone or with a dollop of chantilly or whipped cream on top or accompanied with fruit.

Ingredients for 8 servings
1 can or 400 ml. condensed milk
2 cups or 1/2 liter heavy cream
1 cup or 240 ml whole milk
5 large eggs
2 tablespoons of sugar or more – depending on your sweet tooth
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Make Caramel
2/3 cup – 140 gr sugar
1 tablespoon water
 A few drops of lemon juice – so that sugar does not crystallize

Heat sugar, water and 3 drops of lemon juice on medium heat.  Stir until it starts to boil
Keep heating until golden brown stirring occasionally. Watch it so it does not burn.
When it reaches the desired color, pour into the flan mold and moving the mold so that the caramel covers  the bottom and goes up a little on the sides.  Put aside.

Preheat oven to 170 ° C or 350 ° F.
Prepare Bain Marie: Place a little hot water in a baking pan which will hold our flan mold. See video.

Make the Flan
Put condensed milk, milk, heavy cream,  2 or more tablespoons of sugar, 5 eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl.
Beat with an electric mixer or blender until well blended.
Pour into the prepared mold.
Cover top with foil, place it into the prepared baking pan with water. Pour hot water in the baking pan up to half the height of the mold with the flan.
Bake in preheated over between 50 and 60 minutes or until set.
(To see if it´s done, insert a toothpick in the center. If it comes out clean, it´s cooked. You´ll see that the center will vibrate a little when the vessel moves. That´s fine, it will set completely once out of the oven.)
  Leave it out at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Then refrigerate 3 hours or overnight.
To unmold, run a knife around the edge, put a plate over it, and flip it.  If it doesn´t drop easily, just put the bottom of the mold in hot water. The caramel will then be released and you can plate your flan.

Serve alone, with whipped cream or fresh fruit


Witches´ Fingers Cookies

It´s that time of the year – for fun and mischief for the whole family.  Why not make some delicious cookies straight from the land of Halloween. They may look gory but they taste deceptively great. Maybe there´s some magic in them.  Don´t misplace this recipe because it also makes really great tasting  cookies all year round – just remember to change the shape and maybe the color.         

1 cup (225 gr) softened butter or margarine (not light)
1 cup (225 gr) icing sugar (powder)
1 egg
t teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 – 3/4 cups (345 gr) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup whole peeled almonds
Strawberry jam
Green coloring (optional). Number of drops depending on intensity of color.

Heat oven to 180ºC or 350ºF.
Beat butter, sugar, egg, vanilla extract and optional almond extract. Add optional food coloring now.
Stir flour, baking powder and salt to mix. Add this to butter mixture beating until all ingredients are moistened.
Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Work with 1/4 of the dough at a time and keep the remaining dough refrigerated. The dough must be cool to hold the finger shape when baked.
Make a finger by rolling a teaspoonful of dough to about the length and width of a finger.
Firmly press a whole or splitn the end of the nail.
Squeeze the center of the finger to create the knuckles. Make creases with a knife at the joints of the fingers to form the knuckles.  See video.
Place on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake at 180 ° C or 350 ° F for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned.
Let cool for 3 minutes.
Lift almond off finger and put some strawberry jam on the nail bed. Replace the almond by pressing down to make the marmalade underneath run over.
Remove the cookies from the baking sheet. • Let cool to serve.
They can be dyed green with edible coloring to make them appear more terrifying or make “normal” and other green.


Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing was created by a cowboy from Nebraska in 1954. As you probably know, Ranch Dressing is a different, unique sauce or dressing that seems to go with everything. Although it is relatively new – it only started being popular in the whole country in the 80’s.  But since 1992 it’s the best-selling salad dressing. Its mild, distinctive and memorable taste makes it ideal for salads, sandwiches, potato chips and fried vegetables and nachos or raw vegetables, pizzas, meats etc …

The name ranch comes from the dude ranch hotel he bought and managed. It was a real dude ranch (dude ranches are ranches that host customers who are not necessarily cowboys – in other words regular people. On his dude ranch hotel and restaurant he served his special house dressing with salads.  However there came a time that the dressing became more popular and more profitable than the hotel. In the end he started selling the dressing and got rich. He patented it under the name of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing because that was the name of his ranch. That’s why it’s still known as Ranch Dressing and enjoyed all over the world.

1 cup – 230 ml mayonnaise
1/2 cup – 115 ml heavy cream with 3 tablespoons lemon to make our special sour cream  – or substitute 115 ml store bought sour cream.
2 tablespoons chopped chives – you can substitute minced onion
1/2 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried dill
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder or minced garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
pinch paprika (pimentón dulce )

First make our special sour cream or cream. We´re using lemon juice to make our sour cream, which gives it an added kick and really makes a difference in this recipe.
Add 2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice to the cream. Leave it for 3 minutes. Then stir with a fork – it will thicken making it a sour cream consistency.
Now stir all ingredients together including sour cream until well mixed. Taste for salt. Add salt if necessary restirring until everything is well blended.
Place in the fridge about 2 hours for all the flavors to meld.


Coffee Syrup

This syrup is so easy to make and so practical.  Make it regular o decaffeinated so you can have a quick “pick me up” or an easy “wind me down”.  Pour in on ice cream, on desserts, milkshakes. Great taste whether in hot or cold milk with or without caffeine. Popular with everyone, even the kids.

1 cup – 240 ml water
1 cup – 200 gr sugar
2 tablespoons regular instant coffee or decaf

Boil water, sugar and coffee until sugar and coffee are fully incorporated and the syrup is clear. Bring to the boil for about 2 more minutes.
Remove from the heat, cool to room temperature,  pour into a jar with a screw-top lid and refrigerate.

Expiration date:  4 weeks or a month in the fridge.


Featured image/Hybie, CC BY-SA2.0