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Carroll County restaurant owners share favorite Halloween treats

Some celebrate the spookiest holiday of the season with a night of trick-or-treating or decorating the front lawn, but for some, Halloween means experimenting with delicious treats and other foods.
The Advocate spoke with the owners of some Carroll County eateries, who shared with us their favorite Halloween recipes. Feel free to get zany and add some of your own ingredients to these scarily good dishes.

Robyn Zumbrun, Sweet Simplici-Tea in Sykesville: Pumpkin Scones
Pumpkin pie graces the table for Thanksgiving, but what have you heard of pumpkin scones? Zumbrun said she begins serving these moist pastries at the beginning of October in preparation for Halloween and other fall festivities.
The recipe yields scones roughly the size of a large muffin, which are cut into triangular shapes. They possess a rich golden-orange color, akin to pumpkin pie, and Zumbrun said the flavor is delicious.
She spent hours trolling online recipes, baking and testing various pumpkin scone recipes until she found the one she liked best. The scones are moist on the inside, but have a flaky outer crust that is adorned with a glaze.
"The dough holds its shape very well and it's easy to work with," Zumbrun said. "And it expands very well in the oven."
When Zumbrun serves the scones in her shop, she serves them with either whipped cream or apple butter, though she said a jam might be an appropriate complement. Zumbrun said she likes hers plain. You can experiment with the scones by adding powdered or granulated sugar, even almonds to top it, though she recommended sticking with the glaze for this particular recipe.
The scones can function at any meal, Zumbrun said. Slice them in half and serve them during breakfast, or a mid-afternoon snack as a pick-me-up before trick-or-treat night. You can freeze them two ways: either shape the raw dough and put them into freezer safe bags, or bake and freeze. Both methods keep the pastries fresh for three months.
"They're a tea room staple here," she said.

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Sherri Hosfeld Joseph, Birdie's Café in Westminster: Candy Corn Latte and Gourmet Grilled Cheese Fingers in a Blood Red Tomato Bisque
Hosfeld Joseph shared two recipes that her café serves for the Halloween season - one for caffeine addicts, the other for those who want to enjoy a hardy meal.
The Candy Corn latte means to replicate the flavor of the iconic candy perfectly, with an edge of coffee. The recipe does require an espresso machine.
The taste is not overwhelming or sickly, Hosfeld Joseph said. The recipe adds notes of apple, white chocolate and marshmallow syrup, with steamed milk and coffee, which blend together to create the latte.
"We do a lot of testing - you'd be surprised at what goes into it and what flavors taste like candy corn," she said.
To avoid overpowering the drink, you may add as little or much as the syrup or ingredients as you like, per your preference, Hosfeld Joseph said. In a 20-ounce cup, she adds no more than two ounces of the syrup.
For the sandwich, take four kinds of cheeses - Parmesan, swiss, provolone and cheddar - and two slices of sourdough. Though the recipe indicates an even amount of all the cheeses, you can use as little or as much as you like to balance the flavor to your liking.
With a panini press, you can slice the sandwich into "the fingers" to prep for the bisque, which is an improved version of a basic soup, Hosfeld Joseph said.
Hosfeld Joseph adds roasted red peppers to kick up the flavor, but also suggested adding milk or heavy cream for a little bit richer flavor. Many other spices fit well with the recipe, she said.
"It's terrifyingly good," she said.
You may also add pesto or a spicy mustard to the sandwich, which would add a bit more of a bite to the already gooey sandwich, Hosfeld Joseph said. She serves her version of the dish with the fingers of the sandwich emerging from the soup - claws reaching from their soupy cave.
"There's so many ways to be creative," Hosfeld Joseph said.

Shannon Clarke, Starry Night Bakery & Coffeehouse in Westminster: Skeleton Cookies
Clarke suggested skeleton cookies as a fun activity for a rainy weekend before or after Halloween - a small baking project children can help with.
The recipe is one for simple cinnamon-snap style cookies, a little crispy with a bite, however, the unique part is the icing decorations.
After the dough is rolled out, children and adults can use a gingerbread man cutter to create the basic shape. After the cookies are baked and cooled, you can design the skeletons with any store-bought icing of your preference, Clarke said. The cookies are also perfect for friends who just want to grab a bottle of wine and bake together for the weekend.
"I have fond memories of making cookies and cakes with my mom and grandma," Clarke said. "It's something simple, but memorable."
If you want to experiment with the dough, you can add a variety of spices to kick up the flavor: nutmeg, cardamon, ginger or clove. The blend you use can create a flavor of chai tea. Just be sure to remove one teaspoon of cinnamon for every teaspoon you add of another spice.
A steamed milk with pumpkin spice or tea would be a perfect complement for the cookie, Clarke said.
"Have fun, add your own flare to it," she said.

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