Why a Hanson-themed Halloween party? It’s not like I’m a lifelong mega-fan. I hadn’t even really thought about Hanson in a long time. Once in a while “This Time Around” would come up on my iPod and I’d think about how fun they used to be, but that’s about it.
Then a few months ago Hanson popped up in my Facebook newsfeed – something a friend of mine had Liked – and I saw that they had a new album and tour on the way. No stops in San Francisco unfortunately, but after some Googling and YouTubing I got caught up in a wave of nostalgia and bought tickets for the Boston show. I was planning on going there anyway, sort of.
I emailed one of my old BU friends that I was coming to visit and take her out for a wild night with Hanson, and over the next few weeks we both got caught up on their albums and videos. Then she moved to New York and I had to take another friend, but whatever. It all worked out.
The concert was fan-freaking-tastic! The guys sound great together, which I guess they should after playing together for 21 years, and I was very impressed that even Zac played guitar and sang solo. I had no idea he had those kinds of skills.
So anyway, here we are coming up on Halloween and sure, I could just do the regular pumpkins and vampires and spiders, but that’s so expected. My coworkers seem to enjoy the odd parties I put together much more. (Remember the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy birthday party?)
And sure enough, aside from enjoying the treats, almost everyone who came by and looked at the pictures and signs had to smile and say, “Hanson? Are they still around?” or “Ohmygod I totally loved them!” And then I immediately pointed them to YouTube to catch up on the past 15 years of Hanson tunes.
So I’m feeding people and spreading the Hanson gospel all at once. Not bad use of some sugar and eggs.
And just what do you feed people for Hanson Halloween? Have a look:
I thought each of the guys should have their own special treat. Of those three I’m most proud of the name Zacarons. It sounds like something you’d shout at a bullfight, or maybe when Batman punches someone really hard. “Zac-a-ron!”
This is my third attempt at macarons and the first time I used dulce de leche to sandwich them together. I’ll write a separate post just on macaron making, but just say for now that these are quickly becoming an office favorite.
There are no good T words for Halloween, so I almost gave up on Taylor. V’s, M’s and P’s would have been much easier. I settled on Taylor-Made Meringues and took the recipe for these straight from Martha Stewart. Meringue isn’t difficult to make, but the orange food dye didn’t transfer nearly as well as it was supposed to, so only the first few have a really nice orange swirl to them. Still tasty though.
A coworker suggested I could have made “DemenTaylors” – maybe Blow Pops covered in black fabric or something – but covering 40 candies sounded like it would take even longer than making meringues. I think Valentine’s will be more his holiday, when I can make Taylor’s Heart Tarts.
And then there’s Isaac. Oh, Issac. His dessert had to be the most overwhelmingly rich and sexy and tasty because he’s clearly the most delicious Hanson. Sorry, what was that? You disagree? Then you must not have seen this video, because there’s no arguing with this:
Right? That little growly thing he does? Are you with me now? Ok.
So my idea of rich and indulgent is chocolate with chocolate and caramel and more chocolate. I considered a cheesecake, but taking things that need to be refrigerated to the office can be tricky, and I didn’t want a mess.
I had also planned on calling this dessert “Eye Like Ike…” and decorating with candy eyeballs, but eyeballs aren’t sexy, and they don’t really look that tasty. If you’re doing this at home though, maybe you could do eyeball popsicles and call them “Eye Like Ikecicles”.
Too much? Probably.
I settled on Chocolate Kahlua Dulce de Leche Cupcakes. I started with a regular chocolate cupcake recipe and replaced part of the liquid in the recipe with Kahlua… maybe a little too much Kahlua. They really smell like booze. You can do this with any recipe or even a box mix.
After baking them and letting them cool I took a knife and cut a bit out of the top, added in a sumptuous amount of dulce de leche I had left over from the Zacarons, and then put the top back on. I frosted them with chocolate buttercream and added a few red sprinkles.
And now here’s another musical interlude:
Hanson and TLC: Two classic 90s bands brought together at last.
So. What else could I do for the theme? How about playing off “Get the Girl Back” (The video has Kat Dennings, Nikki Reed and Paul McDonald so you know it must be cool.) with some Get the Ghoul Back Brownies? I’ve tried many from-scratch recipes over the years, but I always come back to the one on the back of Ghirardelli’s can of Sweet-Ground Chocolate.
And don’t skimp on the bittersweet chocolate chips. Some ghosty Peeps stuck on with toothpicks make them frightfully tasty. Wah ha ha!
All of these were perfect after-lunch treats, but I wanted to start the day with something sweet as well, so I decided “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin'” (The video is a “Blues Brothers” tribute with Weird Al on tambourine, so you know it must be cool.) should inspire some Thinking ‘Bout Pumpkin Bread with cream cheese frosting on the side.
I used to frost the top of the bread before setting it out but found that people really like to layer it on the entire slice, so now I just leave out a knife and let everyone put on their own perfect amount.
It would have been really fun to serve MMMHops at our little shin-dig, but it’s not sold anywhere that I know of, and our office isn’t booze-friendly anyway. Instead I set out a bowl of MMMPops. That would also be a great name for cake pops if you wanted to make those instead, or for labels on bottles of soda.
So whatcha think? Should I start planning my Hanson Christmas party now?
Where’s the love? Oh, it’s right here,
Update 10/9/2013: Look what just came in the mail! Yep, I’m a card-carrying member now. I can hardly believe it myself 😉
Shame it came with what looks like a dead bug laminated into it. Still fun though.