Joe's Recipes for Samhain


Boxty Pancakes Recipe


  • 1 C. raw, grated potato
  • 1 C. cooked mashed potatos (leftover is fine)
  • 1 onion, minced fine (optional -- for savory Boxty pancakes)
  • 1 C. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp. butter

Boxty Pancakes


  1. In a med. mixing bowl, combine the grated potato, onion (if using), and buttermilk (this keeps the potato from discoloring).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Add grated potato mixture, egg, and mashed potato.
  4. Mix well. Batter should be about the texture of thick pancake batter. Add additional flour or buttermilk if necessary.
  5. Melt butter in a heavy skillet or on a griddle.
  6. Over medium heat, drop large spoonfuls of Boxty batter into skillet, making approximately 6" pancakes.
  7. Brown well on both sides.
Boxty potato pancakes have been one of the most traditional Samhain/Halloween recipes made over the centuries. These pancakes are creamy, rich, and just wonderful. I think they're best when cooked with onion and served savory. Makes 8-10 pancakes.

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Bread of the Dead

Serve with milk or hot chocolate, or spider cider not forgetting to offer some to your departed ancestors, so they may breathe in its essence and be nourished, before you gobble it up yourself!

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 10 drops anise extract
Bread of the Dead


Mix all of the above until smooth. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a cookie sheet. With clean hands, mold the dough into a round shape with a knob on the top (which will be a skull) or into smaller round shapes, animals, faces or angels. Place dough on cookie sheet.

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 T. flour
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. melted butter
Mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and melted butter for the topping. Sprinkle topping on dough and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. When cool, decorate to taste adding pumpkins seed and wee bit powered sugar or sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar lightly.

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Barmbrack is traditional bread served during Samhain with tea, and is the center of a divinatory ritual for the coming year. To make a traditional Barmbrack, trinkets and charms are always added into the mixture. Naturally, your own charms and meanings can and should be utilized as a part of your Samhain traditions. Each charm should be wrapped carefully in parchment or wax paper and placed equally through the bread before its final rise. Remember, when choosing to add charms to your Barmbrack, be certain to warn your guests before consuming!


  • 1cup of Orange Spice tea, prepared
  • 4 cups white flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp Allspice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 stick butter
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups Luke-warm milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried fruit


The evening before, soak the raisins and dried fruit in the brown sugar and tea. Drain before using. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Sift flour, spices and salt into a bowl. Rub in the butter.
  2. Add the yeast to the teaspoon of sugar and 1 teaspoon of the warm milk.
  3. Pour the rest of the warm milk and the egg into the yeast mixture and combine with the dry ingredients and the sugar. Beat well and knead until the batter is stiff but elastic.
  4. Fold in the prepared fruit. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave in a warm place until the dough has doubled. Knead again for another 2 or 3 minutes and divide between two greased 1 1b loaf pans.
  5. Wrap the charms in greaseproof paper and then hide them in the dough. Be sure they are well distributed. Cover again and let rise until the dough comes up to the top of the pan (30 minutes to an hour).
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, until the top is nicely browned and the bread sounds hollow when thumped.

Keeps about one week in a sealed container, but do note: Stale Barmbrack is still delicious when toasted and buttered!

Waste not want not... as mother use to say.
So I hope you enjoy these few family traditional treats.
May your coming year be all you wish.
Happy holidays to all.
From Joe and Puddin

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