Sunday, December 17, 2017

Krampus Clusters


I see a future where Krampus is to Winter, what Pumpkin Spice is to Autumn.  If Etsy is any indicator in trends, it's already begun.  Krampus seems to invoke essences of evergreens, musk, leather, charcoal, orange and spices both fiery and aromatic.

Just a few of the products out there:

Cocoa Vom Krampus - "Fiery Black Gourmet Hot Chocolate"

Krampus Oil - "... a wickedly good winter blend of evergreens, rich herbs, mystical black tea leaves, aged leather and a trace of warm incense."

Krampus Beard Oil - "...it smells of Spiced woods with notes of Fir Needle, Balsam, Juniper Berries and Cinnamon Clove with a touch of Vanilla."

Krampus Perfume Oil - "A dark smudge of holiday naughtiness.... well worn leather whips and smouldering black coal."

Krampus Yule Soap - "This charcoal infused soap is scented in a lovely orange clove scent that will wake you up and put you in the mood for some holiday cheer."

Gruss Vom Krampus Bath Bomb - "...an amazing fragrance that smells like a firey mix of amber, incense, patchouli, cinnamon, and cedar."

With that in mind I wanted to make a chocolatey Krampus treat.  I played with the idea of using some peppery heat, but decided to go a little tamer with cinnamon spice instead.  Altogether I wanted a little citrus, a little cranberry, a little spice and some pecans all wrapped up in dark chocolate.  I found this recipe at glutenfreehomemaker.com which was pretty close. 

The original recipe calls for a sprinkle of salt at the end.  I forgot to do this, but it is a nice touch.  I did sprinkle a few pieces of fruit as a garnish, but I don't think it's worth the effort and wouldn't do it again.

I'll be honest the cinnamon didn't do anything for me, if anything it was a little distracting.  Can I still name it after Krampus if I leave out the cinnamon next time? Krampus Lite maybe? 

Also I thought the texture of the craisens was too soft.  Even though I chopped them up pretty fine, next time I will mince the hell out of them and only use half a much. Also I might do half pecans, half pistachios. The recipe is basically 3 cups of stuff mixed into 12oz. of chocolate, so you can mix and match how ever you like.

Here's the recipe as I made it:

Krampus Clusters


2 cups pecan halves
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 candied orange*, chopped 
12 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
coarse salt (optional)

Toast the pecans on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper for 10 minutes at 300°.
Let the pecans cool, then very coarsely chop them. 
Mix the candied orange pieces with the cranberries with your fingertips to separate the cranberry pieces.  The sugar from the orange pieces will act as a coating to help keep the cranberry pieces from sticking together.  
Add the pecans and cinnamon and toss together.
In a microwave safe dish that is large enough to hold all the ingredients melt the chocolate.  Microwave at 50% power for 60 seconds and stir. Continue to microwave at 50% power at 30 second intervals, stirring each time until the chocolate is almost melted.  
Continue stirring until completely melted, then add the pecan & fruit and stir until coated.
Drop spoonfuls onto a wax paper lined baking sheet.
Sprinkle with coarse salt if desired and let stand until hard.

Makes about 42 tablespoon sized pieces.  These keep well in an airtight container and freeze nicely as well.  

*The recipe for candied orange can be found at tiphero.com.  It makes a lot more than you need for the Krampus Clusters.  That is a good thing, because candied orange is divine.  It's great by itself or dipped in chocolate as the recipe suggests.  You can use it anywhere you would normally add dried fruit. Add it to cookies, breads, trail mix...  I love it with butternut squash, diced with a little butter, salt and pepper.  

The only deviation from the recipe I make is how I cut the orange, which after all these years I just learned is called supreming. My peel slices don't end up all nice and uniform, but I prefer my orange segments without any pith or membrane.  I'm assuming it's a little extra work, although I've never done it the way the recipe says.  The edges of peel that are just pith need to be trimmed off and any remaining orange needs to be sliced off.  I use a serrated knife to supreme the orange and a thin paring knife to clean up the peel.  

I refrigerate the leftover syrup and usually end up cooking up a second batch of orange peels in it. The second time around I keep the lid on the pot during the first half of the cooking time.  I can't tell a difference between the two batches.  By the time I've cooked two batches the syrup is fairly thick and I'll use it as a sweetener.  I like it in plain Greek yogurt with a splash of vanilla and fresh fruit.  

Friday, December 15, 2017

Krampus Krispies



I really can't take credit for these.  I saw this rice krispie reindeer pinterest fail and immediately saw not failure, but a cute tasty Krampus.

I suppose I'm just being heavily influenced by the original picture I saw, but I really like the green eyes with the blue nose despite those probably being the least Krampus like colors.  I tried blue eyes with a green nose, but it didn't look right at all.  I didn't care for orange either.  The red eyes are probably most Krampus like, but I do like the feral look of the yellow eyes.

I've deviated from the original recipe.  It calls for a package of hot cocoa mix. In my opinion the only reason the average cocoa mix is appealing at all is because it's hot and usually consumed after riding the wave between hypothermia and frostbite during snow induced activities. Also adding gobs of whipped cream doesn't hurt either.  Now if they used Kellogg's Cocoa Krispies, I can understand why they would feel the need to amend the flavor.  That stuff is nasty.  I use Mom's Best Crispy Cocoa Rice, because it actually tastes good. It's recommend by four out four people*.

*Admittedly it's a small survey group of the people I live with including myself.


Krampus Krispies


3 cups Mom's Best Crispy Cocoa Rice or some other cocoa crisp rice that doesn't suck
1.5 tablespoons butter
5 oz of marshmallows (20 regular sized)

pretzel twists for horns
mini M&M's for eyes
regular M&M's for noses

candy melts, chocolate or frosting (whatever your edible adhesive of choice is)

Butter a large bowl.

Melt the butter over medium low heat. Add the marshmallows and constantly stir until the marshmallows have completely melted.

Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa krispies until all the cereal has been coated. 

Pour the mixture into your prepared bowl. Lay out a sheet of wax or parchment paper. When the mixture is cool enough pull off a chunk (3-4 tablespoons?) with buttered hands and form a loose ball. Smoosh it down on the paper to flatten the bottom and insert two horns.  Squish the ball tight enough to hold them in.

Melt your candy, chocolate or make frosting and glue on the eyes and nose.

Below is a little diagram of the best way that I found to make pretzel horns.  I used a thin paring knife and for each cut I made,the pretzel would also break in another spot on it's own.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Creepmas Needle Felting


I added a little needle felting to my Creepmas this year. The frog is from a previous post.  The tree is combination of hemp, wire, beads, glitter and tatting.


If you were around last year you might remember the Cthulhu Snowdeity inspired by the Cthulhu Snowman card by AmysNotDeadYet,which can still be ordered by the way.  This is the felted version.  I'm currently working on another one and once I see which method works best, I'll write up a tutorial.

I'm not thrilled with how these others turned out, but I can count them as a learning experience.

The Yeti.  I like his teeth.


My Creepy Snowball that doesn't look very creepy or snowbally.
Probably shouldn't have given him hair.


My Sinister Snowman.  He looks more like a crotchety old snowman,
yelling at the snowkid to get off his lawn.  


My favorite creepy felted snowman of the season is the guy lurking in the back, that a friend made.  He was actually created with Steven Wright in mind. I'm pretty sure he's up to no good.  The snowman that is.  I don't know what Steven Wright is up to.  

Well another Creepmas season is at it's end...Who am I kidding, that's a lie.  I still have Krampus recipes to post and there's a lot of posts from other Creepers I haven't read yet.  And the Krampus Advent is still going.  So I'll still be here keeping it creepy.  Thanks everyone for making this another twisted fun filled Creepmas.  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

There'll Be Scary Ghost Stories…

What could be better than reading M.R. James on a cold winters night? Listening to Christopher Lee read them. He narrates "The Stalls of Barchester", "The Ash Tree", "Number 13" and "A Warning to the Curious" in a series called "Ghost Stories for Christmas".

The Stalls of Barchester

Check out SOG59's The Horror Vault channel for the rest.  The Christopher Lee version of "Number 13" is unavailable but there is another version, along with many other M. R. James stories and quite a few other classics to give you Creepmas chills.


Another classic Christmas ghost story, this is A. M. Burrage's Smee.  


And Lovecraft's "The Festival"

Over at SoundCloud there is a reading of The Christmas Carol by Neil Gaiman.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Grinch (Grincsfa) Trees

I love these Grincsfa trees, which seem to be very popular in other parts of the world much more interesting than mine.  Someday I will make my own Grincsfa.  I haven't figured it all out yet, but it will be black with a beautiful skull bauble hanging down off the tip.

 Here is a tutorial video. 


This one is in English.


This video is still shots of a three tipped (headed?) Grincsfa.
I love the alienesque look of it.


Here are some more examples and any other interesting tree that caught my eye. 
I see so much Creepmas potential in these. 



















Speaking of the Grinch, I love this mashup that's linked to teefury.com but I couldn't find it there.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Krampus Plushies & Dolls

The question is whether being naughty or nice will increase you're odds of finding one of these wrapped up under the Creepmas tree...

I love the expression on this Krampus by RavenCroftCottage


This Krampus by Camamiel is an ornament, but he looks cute enough to cuddle.


I swear this Krampus by Zombiehun  looks like it could be a real creature.


The details on this Krampus by MedusaWood are incredible.


This Krampus by grandbaby1 has such a silly grin.


I think a letter from Krampus is a fantastic idea. 


This guy looks so huggable. 


This is actually a set of three dolls by, Living Dead Dolls ,
but I love the white one most, it's such a contrast to the usual Krampus.  

Friday, December 8, 2017

Happy! Creepmas


Add a little Happy! to your Creepmas cheer.  I finally watched the season premier and I have to say this it what the Creepmas season is all about.  There's lots of bright festive blood, inappropriate humor and a deranged Santa Claus.  It's kind of like Deadpool got together with Bad Santa and they made a bastard mini-series.  More info and the first episode available at  SYFY

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Creepmas Gingerbread House


This is my second attempt at a creepy gingerbread house.  The first was during my first year joining Creepmas!  That one was a haunted house kit that I tweaked a little with a skull wreath and some icicles.  This year I wanted to make one that almost looked normal, at least from a distance, standing on one leg, with squinty eyes. The kind of house someone might make if they had seen a real gingerbread house, but then had gotten it all wrong.

I realize not everyone wants to muddle through my ramblings on a rather mediocre gingerbread house, so I will interrupt this post to show you this awesome creation by the Keeling family.  If you remember last year I posted about their Overlook Hotel. Go to imgur.com to check out all the pictures, where all the movie magic of Psycho has been recreated with edibles.  Yes, even the famous shower scene.  



So back to the rather anticlimactic creation of my house...there were a few things to consider, the main thing being that I'm complete rubbish when it comes to decorating with icing.

I heard somewhere that it's easier if you do the decorating first and then assemble the pieces together. I figure it couldn't end up any worse, so why not? The haunted house came with two packages of icing powder, one black and one gray.  I still had the gray one left, so I mixed about a half cup of it with a bit of black coloring and enough water to make it fairly thin and painted all the pieces.  While that was drying I assembled the houses from a mini village kit, because kids and normal stuff...


Dried it was a lot lighter of course, but it also had a mottled look.  I don't know if that's because I added food coloring or didn't mix it as well as I thought I did.  I wish I knew because I think the light and dark gray splotchiness looked very wall-like.

I meant to roll out black jelly beans and use them as windows. They where a bit hard so I warmed them up first.  The second batch I gradually heated in the microwave a little bit at a time until they were just warm enough to roll out between wax paper.  Oh the first batch, you're wondering? If you've ever said to yourself, "Well I might like to play with a bit of napalm, if only it was licorice scented."  No.  No, you wouldn't.

Moving on...I did get jelly beans rolled out and they did look quite interesting.  Some of the shell melted into the center goo, some it cracked in an almost mosaic pattern. But I could tell they weren't ever going to be windows, no matter how hard they tried, so I decided to go with curtains.

I rolled out gumdrops to go behind the curtains for a little contrast. Last time I rolled out gumdrops and cut them into windows and then completely botched outlining them. But this time they were going to be perfect because everything was still laid out flat.  All I'm going to say is that gingerbread icing is just mean and nasty.  It doesn't stick when you want it to. You're going along thinking you're laying down a nice line of piping and then the whole thing just pulls off.  And then you're stuck trying to push it back into place without smushing it.  I swear it enjoys being difficult.

Since I'm not good at the whole icing thing I mostly used it to glue things on.  I used the Wilton skeleton bones candy mold, mini skulls candy mold and a button mold to make stuff.  I only partially filled the skull molds so they weren't too thick.  I didn't utilize the foot/leg bone component of the skeleton mold, but now that I think about it, two of those together would frame out a window nicely.

My other plan was to have candy eyes peeking out the windows, because I remembered LadyM doing that and it looked awesome. She also knows how to accessorize a house with candy bones. Unfortunately, I forgot I used up my candy eyes on the cake pop monsters.  So I used candy pearls and dabbed on a black iris with gel food coloring on a toothpick.



I think this little guy looks a bit like Frank from the first Hellraiser, before he gets his skin suit.  The resemblance is purely accidental as I was just poking the red icing with a toothpick to get it to stay put.



And here you can see my sorry swirls.  I was trying to channel my inner Tim Burton, but the stupid icing wasn't seeing things my way.  Again I did the roof décor prior to assembly.  I think that did help, but then I dinked it up fumbling the roof while putting it together. The gingerbread gods hate me.  I do like the skeleton hands capping off the ends of the roof. 



...and this is my kiwi tree.  I bought dried kiwi around Halloween, because it was green and funky looking and kiwi is delicious.  Dried kiwi is not delicious, it's not good at all.  But you can make little snips around edges of the slices and then layer them together with a spot of icing and boom, you got a pretty cool looking tree.  The "rocks" are also from Halloween.  A flavor of M&M's called Cookies & Screeem.  They are too disgusting to eat, but great for landscaping. 



Last up is this trio of snowmen.  The one in the back is my daughters creation, beside the gaping wound in his belly and guts spilling out, his head has turned inside out.  Who says kids don't use their imaginations anymore? The one in front lost his head.  Actually I tried to use red icing to join his head to his body. Stupid icing wouldn't stick them together, but it left a red stain, so I just went with it.  The guy in the back, without any blood is held together with a toothpick.  The heads are regular marshmallows and the bodies are jumbo sized. The details were made with a toothpick dipped in black gel food coloring.  Mind where you put your fingers, I transferred black coloring everywhere.  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Santa Roaches


Chocolate Covered Santa Roaches were one of this years Creepmas treats.  These are so easy to make this isn't really even a recipe.  But you will need:

Chocolate [I used Doves Dark, it's a mild dark for those that can't handle the strong stuff]
Pecan halves
Chocolate Jimmies
White and Red candy melts
White Pearl decorating candy [optional, could use white candy melts instead]

Sprinkle a layer of jimmies on a jelly roll pan covered with parchment paper.

Melt the chocolate, temper it.  Dip the pecans in one at time.  Pull them out flat side down on a fork, tap the fork on the side of the bowl to remove the excess chocolate. Use another fork to slide the pecan off and onto the jimmie covered parchment.  Let chocolate completely set before moving on.

Below is a visual on improperly tempered chocolate.  I have tempering info in my Rat Truffle post.  You can see starting from the top left hand corner my chocolate is not tempered correctly, which has resulted in an unsightly bloom.  This does not effect the taste at all, but it can take longer to set.  You can see how the very act of stirring and dipping more roaches actually helped the tempering process as they go from full bloom, to swirly to all smooth and shiny.   


After they were set I microwaved the red candy melts in a freezer ziplock, snipped a corner off and zigzagged a little triangle shape onto their little heads.  I added a candy pearl for the hat tassel, but you could also pipe white candy melt, which I used for the brim of the hats.




And these are the Santa Roaches in the bathroom.  Yes they've been up since the craft party just so they could join in the Creepmas festivities this year.  I made about 30 little hats.  And that alone is probably grounds to have me committed...Here they are up close:



I may be a little crazy, but I am not the only one. 
Check out this Christmas Caroling Cockroach Diorama.

 

and this ornament...

and this festive bugger...
source: pinterest.com