Halloween goodies should be creepy, spooky and – above all – very delicious. I always get caught up in the Halloween spirit with my baked goods and have put together some pretty crazy desserts over the years, such as slime-filled cupcakes and vampire cookies. I love to bring in some colors that help give the desserts a little extra Halloween personality and opt for vivid greens, purples and reds that I don’t always use the rest of the year. This year, to decorate my horror movie-inspired Slasher Cupcakes (pictured above), I made a batch of Homemade Fake Blood that is absolutely perfect for adding a scary finishing touch to Halloween goodies.
The “blood” is actually a clear piping gel that is dyed with red food coloring. The gel is made with a combination of gelatin and corn syrup. It is thick enough to hold its shape, but thin enough to pipe easily out of a very fine-tipped pastry bag. I have used a sauce made from raspberries to make a “blood substitute” for some desserts and, while it is delicious, it has its limitations. For instance, the raspberry sauce will be absorbed by buttercream frosting, while the piping gel will not be. This means that you can get a lot more elaborate with your piped-on decorations and you will be able to do them well in advance of when you want to serve them.
I used a gel food coloring to tint my “blood.” Gel food coloring is thicker and more richly colored than liquid food coloring, so you need to use less of it to get the color you want. In the case of this piping gel, I used a very generous amount of food coloring and the gel coloring allowed me to get an intense blood-red color without changing the consistency of the finished product. Since I don’t use this piping gel in huge quantities, I don’t usually add flavoring to it. If you want to give it a bit of flavor, add in a drop or two of a flavored extract when you prepare it. Choose an extract with a strong flavor, so you don’t have to worry about thinning out the “blood.”
The piping gel will keep for at least two weeks when stored in an airtight container and may last even longer than that, though this is not a large recipe and a few batches of cupcakes will use it up quickly. The gel can be stored at room temperature.
How to Make Homemade Blood (a.k.a. Red Piping Gel)
1 tbsp powdered gelatin
1 tbsp cold water
1 cup light corn syrup
approx 1/4 tsp red gel food coloring
In a small saucepan, combine gelatin and water. Allow gelatin to soften for 10 minutes.
Heat saucepan over low heat until the gelatin melts and becomes clear. Do not boil. When gelatin has melted, add in corn syrup and red food coloring. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the mixture is clear and smooth. Add additional food coloring, if necessary.
Remove from heat and transfer to a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down onto the surface of the gel, and allow to cool to room temperature.
Soak gelatine in water. Heat over low heat source until clear and dissolved. Do NOT boil. Add syrup and heat thoroughly. Cool and store in refrigerator for up to 2 months.
When gel has cooled completely, it can be stored in any airtight container.
To use: Transfer gel to a piping bag or a ziploc bag. Snip a very small hole in the corner of the bag and pipe as needed.