Baking for Halloween: Hanson Style. (Yes. I Said “Hanson”.)

If a Jedi, a pirate and Elvis all got together, what would they sing? "Viva The Empirial Death Maaaarch?"

If a Jedi, a pirate and Elvis all got together, what would they sing? “Viva The Empirial Death Maaaarch?”

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.

The House of Blues in Boston, concert night.

The House of Blues in Boston, concert night.

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.

I think the tuxedo pics keep the table festive, but classy. I really hope they don't sue me for using them.

I think the tuxedo pics keep the table festive, but classy. I really hope they don’t sue me for using them.

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.

taylorThere 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.

i-like-ikeAnd 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.

hanson-browniesSo. 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.

Need something else to round out the table? Turn a bag of Blow Pops makes a quick bowl of MMMPops.

Need something else to round out the table? Turn a bag of Blow Pops makes a quick bowl of MMMPops.

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.

See how giddy people get for Hanson goodies?

See how giddy people get for Hanson goodies?

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.

Categories: Baking Holidays | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Baking for Halloween: Hanson Style. (Yes. I Said “Hanson”.)

  1. Where did you get those amazing “Take a bite” cupcake holders? Also, I’ve always wanted to make macaroons so I’m eager to see your recipe! Nice!

  2. Heather Bynum

    You did an amazing job!!

  3. Hannah

    How did you make the ghosts for the tops of the brownies? (you probably mentioned it already).
    And, are you doing anything special for the Doctor Who 50th? 😀

    • Hi Hannah. The ghosts are Peeps marshmallows that I bought and stuck on with toothpicks. I probably could have made something, but after all the other stuff I did from scratch I figured I could take a shortcut on this one.

      For Doctor Who’s 50th I’m actually going to London for the convention they’re having that weekend, because I’m a super geek. I’m also doing a little side trip to Cardiff for the Doctor Who Experience there, and then going on to Edinburgh and Germany to see friends. Should be a good trip. But before I go I’ll probably do some more Doctor Who baking, because there are so many possibilities. What about you? Any timey-wimey baking ideas?

      • Hannah

        Hi Lisa,
        That sounds amazingly cool and incredibly fun!! Unfortunately, although I live in Ireland and actually have family in London and Cardiff, no amount of begging and pleading would let me go (I’m sixteen).

        So instead my friends and I are having a Doctor Who themed dress up party on the 23rd and I am hoping to make Dalek cupcakes and some things from your blog and others on the internet.
        I’m mainly focusing on the costume though, as I haven’t got a clue as what to go as. It might be that, in frustration over what to go as, I throw in the towel and just get a fez, shirt and bow tie to wear.

        Are you dressing up for the convention? Hope you have a great time! 😀

  4. Hannah

    P.S. I will, however, be making a TARDIS cake for my friend’s 18th birthday in December (fingers crossed it goes smoothly!)

    • Oh, there are some great Doctor Who costumes out there. I saw a woman dressed as River Song in full astronaut outfit at Comic Con a few years ago. If you want something simple, I really like this girl’s 1950s poodle skirt, with the poodle replaced by K-9:

      The rest of the outfit is basic – white shirt, saddle shoes, hair ribbon. It’s a nice reminder of the David Tennant episode “The Idiot’s Lantern”.

  5. Pingback: Baking for Halloween: Malted Monster Cupcakes | Baking for the Office

  6. This is awesome. And welcome to the fan club!

    • Thanks, Brittney. I’ve been checking out some of the fan club-only albums and just discovered Digital Pants today. Amazing. I think Zac should single-handedly write and record the whole next album in a hotel room. It’s just too much fun.

  7. Katie

    I randomly ran across this post- so cute! I never would have thought to do anything like this.

    And I’m SO GLAD I’m not the only one who thinks Isaac is where it’s at. The growl, the button down shirts and suits- yes indeed, he is quite deserving of an indulgent dessert. 😉

  8. Pingback: Baking for Halloween: Caramel Brownies and Spooky Jolly Ranchers | Baking for the Office

  9. Pingback: Baking for Whovians: Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary Party! | Baking for the Office

  10. Pingback: Baking for Christmas: Hanson Style. Kinda. | Baking for the Office

  11. Pingback: Baking for All This Love Crap: It’s Valentine’s Day, Hanson Style | Baking for the Office

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