The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook is based on the cult-classic 1993 film Hocus Pocus. Halloween recipes within these pages—complete with color photos—will be the hit of the party this October!
Who doesn't love a great cookbook? And, when you combine it with one of my favorite celebrations—Halloween—it is perfect. I have to say I smiled when I saw The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook: Bewitchingly Delicious Recipes for Fans of the Halloween Classic. Yep, that Hocus Pocus. Here is a little bit about this fun cookbook and a few of my favorite recipes from inside the pages of the new book.
About Hocus Pocus
The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook: Bewitchingly Delicious Recipes for Fans of the Halloween Class is by Bridget Thoreson and released from Ulysses Press in September 2021. This “marvelously spooky cookbook” features recipes based on the 1993 cult classic film Hocus Pocus.
Yes, can you believe Hocus Pocus flew onto the scene (sorry, I couldn't help myself) 28 years ago? Since then, it has achieved cult-classic fame, with both children and adults. Fans fall in love with the delightful, demonic, and diva-esque Sanderson sisters and the sleepy New England town they torment.
Some Hocus Pocus Halloween Recipes
So, in honor of Hocus Pocus and Halloween, here are some of my favorites from within the pages of the book. Note that all of the recipes are excerpted from The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook by Bridget Thoreson. Copyright © 2021 Ulysses Press. Reprinted with permission from Ulysses Press. New York, NY. All rights reserved.
Baked Witch Casserole: Main Course Recipe
Should thou find thyself in a battle of wits against three witches or tackling a complicated recipe, you shall require the appropriate tools. A pottery kiln may leave the former unscathed, while proving overkill on the latter. For this simple and tasty baked casserole, a run-of-the-mill kitchen oven shall serve thee well enough.
Serves: 8 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour
- 1½ pounds russet potatoes, peeled and diced
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 5 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1½ tsp kosher salt, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- ½ cup diced celery
- ¾ cup chopped green bell pepper
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes
- ⅔ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1½ Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ Tbsp tomato paste
- fresh parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Place the potatoes in a pot and fill with water until they are covered. Bring the water to a boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to keep the water simmering. Allow the potatoes to cook for approximately 15 minutes, until they are tender. (Test the potatoes by stabbing them with a fork.)
- Drain the water when the potatoes are cooked.
- Add the heavy cream, butter, 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1 clove of minced garlic. Mash
- the potatoes until they are smooth and the ingredients are well blended.
- Place a cast-iron skillet on the stove and heat it on high. Just before the skillet starts to smoke, add the olive oil, onion, celery, and bell pepper, and sauté until they are soft.
- Add the ground beef and sauté until it is cooked.
- Remove from the heat and add the remaining salt, crushed tomatoes, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, and tomato paste. Mix the sauce into the ground beef filling.
- Spread the meat filling into a casserole dish or the cast-iron skillet. Spread the mashed
- potatoes evenly over the meat filling. Place the casserole in the middle of the oven and let it bake for 25 minutes.
- Garnish with parsley.
Mac ‘n' Cheese: Side Dish Recipe
Cheese and crust, you’ll lose your head for this tasty dish! It’s almost wicked how sinfully delicious these few simple ingredients can be. Macaroni and cheese is never not the perfect meal choice, but on a cool autumn night when the breeze is rustling through the trees and the sky is black, a comfort dish like this is nothing short of marvelous.
Serves: 8 | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 60 minutes
- 1 lb large-shell pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 10 oz grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese, divided
- 8 oz grated gruyère cheese, divided
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (1/2 stick) plus 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cups half-and-half
- ⅓ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- freshly ground pepper
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
- Add the pasta and cook so that it is al dente, per the package directions.
- Drain the pasta in a colander and pour it into a 12-inch cast-iron skillet.
- Add the olive oil to the pasta, toss, and set aside.
- Combine the cheddar and gruyère cheeses and set aside.
- In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup of unsalted butter over medium heat.
- Add the flour to the butter and whisk well until fully combined.
- Add the half-and-half and whisk well. Continue whisking until it simmers.
- Lower the heat to low and add the cheese in batches, mixing well so that it fully melts. Continue adding the cheese until approximately ⅓ is left.
- Pour the cheese mixture over the pasta and mix well.
- Sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top of the pasta.
- Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter into thin slices and place them on the top of the pasta.
- Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the pasta.
- Bake the pasta for approximately 20 minutes, or until the top of the cheese is melted and slightly browned.
Red Velvet Tombstone Cake: Dessert Recipe
Did you know that hallowed means “sacred,” or “consecrated”? It comes from hallow, which in turn comes from the Middle English halowen. Most church cemeteries have been consecrated so they are, in fact, hallowed ground.
This tombstone cake, on the other hand, has not been blessed, so it won’t turn any witches into stone, but it will make your mouth water. If you don’t like cream cheese frosting, a simple buttercream will work just as well.
Serves: 8 | Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Ingredients for the Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
- 2 Tbsp red food coloring
- Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
Preparation for the Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans or coat with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2 or 3 minutes).
- Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- In a separate large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add half
- of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
- Add the buttermilk, vinegar, and food coloring, beating well to combine. Add the remaining dry ingredients, folding in until just incorporated.
- Pour the batter evenly into the two cake pans. Bake about 25 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool fully before frosting.
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 (8-ounce) blocks of cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar, divided
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
Preparation for the Cream Cheese Frosting
- In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Mix in 1 cup of powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla and salt and mix until combined. Add the remaining powdered sugar a ½ cup at a time until the frosting is thick and spreadable.
Halloween Cocktail Recipes
I recently wrote an article highlighting some of my favorite fall cocktail recipes. Included in that list was the Black Flame cocktail from the Hocus Pocus Cookbook. I've added it below for you, along with one more from the book that is sure to please.
Witch's Brew Espresso Martini
While a witch’s brew is a pretty generic term when it comes to spellmaking, this recipe is a very specific take. This concoction doesn’t bubble, bubble (unless you’re using a moka pot), but it does brew up a marvelously magical martini. It leaves only one question — this witch’s brew, what’s it gonna do to you?
Serves: 1 | Prep Time: 22 minutes
- 1½ ounces espresso
- 1 oz vodka
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
- 1 oz heavy cream
- Brew espresso and let it sit for 20 minutes to cool.
- Pour the espresso over ice in a rocks glass and give it a stir to cool it further.
- Add vodka and simple syrup.
- Add the heavy cream and stir well.
Black Flame Cocktail
I know what you’re thinking — you’re too cool for school and not afraid of a little old cocktail. But be ye warned — just like black magic and three ancient hags, this cocktail is not to be trifled with.
Though it does not include the fat of a hangman, this combination of ingredients could be called hair-raising. So be sure you don’t have too many, or thou wouldst hate thyself in the morning.
Serves: 1 | Prep Time: 10 minutes
- ⅛ cup sugar
- food coloring
- lime wedge
- 2 ounces Captain Morgan Black Rum
- ½ oz dry vermouth
- blackberry, for garnish
- ¼ oz Bacardi 151
- Chill a cocktail glass.
- Pour the sugar into a small resealable storage bag.
- Add a few drops of the food coloring to turn the sugar the desired color. Shake the bag well to distribute the coloring throughout the sugar.
- Dump the bag contents onto a plate.
- Use a lime wedge to rim the cocktail glass.
- Dip the rim of the glass in the colored sugar so it is evenly coated with the sugar.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the black rum and vermouth and shake well.
- Strain the cocktail into the rimmed glass.
- Garnish with a blackberry.
- Optional: Drizzle the Bacardi 151 onto the top of the cocktail and light on fire. Let it burn out before you drink!
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I really enjoyed flipping through the pages of The Unofficial Hocus Pocus Cookbook: Bewitchingly Delicious Recipes for Fans of the Halloween Classic.
Hocus Pocus: Halloween Recipes for Everyone