Photo: Yum! More on this mouth-watering pumpkin and dulce de leche puff below!
Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) is just around the corner, and Universal Orlando Resort is practically buzzing with excitement. As a spooky vibe permeates through the air, you can’t help but get excited for all the fall season has in store.
But what if you’re more like me and prefer treats to tricks? Well, the good news is HHN has plenty to offer in terms of terrifyingly tasty treats.
Besides, even those who do love the haunts inside the houses and who dream of wandering through scare zones may still crave a little something sweet to help calm the adrenaline after a good scare.
So, let’s run down some of the highlights that will be available throughout Universal Studios Florida during the event.
Trick Or Treat Bucket
When thinking about sweets and Halloween, you’ll likely end up with trick or treating. And that brings us to what Chef Christopher Colon, the executive sous chef of Research and Development, describes as “a really cute little popcorn bucket that’s essentially supposed to be a trick or treat candy bucket.”
A combination of chocolate creme brulee, peanut butter buttercream, caramel popcorn, candy corn, both chocolate-filled and peanut-butter-filled candies, and licorice strip, the Trick or Treat Bucket offers so much deliciousness in what looks like such a small package.
Besides, it is brilliantly themed, being a trick-or-treating-themed treat to eat between tricks — it’s trick-or-treat-ception!
A Mummy-themed cheesecake pop is something I hadn’t known I needed, but am thrilled I got to try. To say it’s incredible would be drastically understating it. I took one bite and decided I could eat it all day and be perfectly happy.
The cheesecake is perfectly creamy, the cookie crunches just right, and the Mummy design gives it a fun, spooky vibe that just screams HHN. Plus, it’s easy to eat on the go, thanks to it being a cake pop.
“I think people come for the haunted houses but they’re surprised by how great the food is,” says Chef Christopher. I definitely felt that with this dessert. While it may not be a gourmet meal, it’s certainly the dish that demonstrated this idea best for me.
Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Puff
Another dessert that just worked in all aspects, the Pumpkin Dulce de Leche Puff truly hits the spot. The cream puff is filled with pumpkin and dulce de leche, and has whipped ganache, pumpkin seeds, and gold accents on top.
The dish offers a bit of crunch on the baked outside, and a bit of softness with the creamy inside. The combination of the two is perfect, not being too heavy or too light on either.
The pumpkin flavoring is great too, elevating this from a delicious cream puff to a delicious Halloween cream puff. I didn’t think it could get better, but enjoying it in the HHN atmosphere really makes the difference.
Sour Apple Pie Funnel Fries (Dr. Oddfellow’s Twisted Origins)
Desserts can do more than simply provide relief after a fright, or give you a distraction while walking through the fog. Dessert can truly tell a spooky story, in conjunction with the houses and scare zones of which they are a part.
The Sour Apple Pie Funnel Fries for instance, is a conglomeration of all sorts of carnival foods, listed as “sour sugar seasoned funnel fries topping with apple pie filling, streusel and sour apple ice cream.” Fries, pie, and ice cream all scream carnival to me, and Dr. Oddfellow is known for his role in a carnival wherein something isn’t quite right…
“This Oddfellow-themed offering is a churro funnel fry and sour apple carnival-feel dessert that is super delicious,” Chef Robert Martinez, executive chef of Research and Development says. “It’s kind of like you’re eating this twisted apple pie.”
“Twisted” but with a carnival flare is certainly how I would describe Oddfellow. Now, there’s a unique dessert offering that helps convey that energy beyond the inside of his themed haunted house.
Bloody Snowball (YETI: Campground Kills)
Another original house this year is YETI: Campground Kills, and Chef Robert describes the dessert inspired by it as a “chocolate snowball covered with desiccated coconut and some cream inside of it that’s super delicious.”
While snowballs do feel more like a summer treat typically, they will be great to keep the chill in the air during HHN. Besides, the scares never truly end at HHN, and the desserts reflecting the themes of the haunted houses you just escaped from helps tell that story.
Chef Robert explains “we try to dig into all these [stories] in depth and see where the opportunities lie. With the Yeti, it might not actually fall into a Yeti itself. But the fact that a Yeti is within a very snowy area just played into why the snowball made sense.”
Dia de Los Muertos Vegan Churros
Churros are a classic theme-park food. But, they also can fit nicely right into one of the themed food stations for HHN, Dia de Los Muertos.
A vegan version of the popular Mexican treat, the little cinnamon-sugar churros are served with a vegan vanilla gelato, coconut agave nectar and crushed chocolate cookies.
The snack is a sweet and fun addition to Halloween Horror Nights. Besides, I’ll take any reason for more churros in a park.
This is truly just the beginning of the vast array of food offerings at this year’s Halloween Horror Nights. If you are too excited to wait for the actual event to try some of these desserts, as well as several savory options being offered this year, be sure to check out the Taste of Terror event, happening on select nights from August 10 through August 26.