Make spooky treats for your holiday table

Use your imagination to create Halloween-inspired dishes that add a festive flair to snacks and meals

    Even though Halloween is coming up fast, there’s still time to create some spooky foods ideal for snacks and dinners.
    Popular motifs like witches, spiders and ghosts are easy to create. Make your favorite sandwich, then use a cookie cutter to create these spooky lunchtime staples. Or use the cookie cutters to create tasty desserts.
    Other holiday themed entrees you can make include pumpkin pasties, witches’ finger sandwiches or a plain old cheese pizza with the toppings arranged to give the appearance of a carved pumpkin.
    Toast the seeds from your jack-o’-lantern to create a delicious, seasonal treat, or shape toasted rice bars into holiday shapes. You can spread melted chocolate on top or use food coloring to give them an orange tint.
    Decorate cupcakes with orange frosting to create a pumpkin and add features with licorice and candies for a jack-o’-lantern.        
    If spooky is what you’re after, make a red punch and float a pair of icy hands in it. Fill a pair of clean, non-powdered and non-latex gloves with water, then tie them tightly with an elastic band so no water will leak out. Lay the gloves on a cookie sheet and freeze. Once they’re frozen, cut the gloves off and place the hands in the punch bowl.
    Another unexpected option is to place plastic spiders — wash them first — into an ice cube tray, fill with water and freeze. Use the cubes to chill your beverages, giving guests a fright.
    Serve your meals in a spooky atmosphere. Paint miniature pumpkins black and attach wings made of black foam sheets to create bats, or wrap helium-filled balloons in cheesecloth, allowing plenty of fabric to trail beneath, tying the cloth off under the balloon to create flying ghosts.
    Here are some other Halloween-inspired ideas from and

Halloween Blueberry Mummy Muffins

For muffins:
2 cups fresh blueberries
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup sugar
2-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/4 cups buttermilk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
For frosting:
2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
For eyes:
24 blueberries
24 small candy eyes

    To make muffins, crush blueberries in a medium bowl with a potato masher or fork until completely smashed.
    Whisk together flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, apple pie spice and salt in a large bowl.
    Beat the egg and egg yolks until blended. Add egg mixture, buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract to blueberry mixture and stir until combined and creamy. Gently fold  into the flour mixture until just combined. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin cups that are coated with nonstick spray.
    Bake in a 425-degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cool five minutes. Remove the muffins and let cool completely on the rack.
    Beat cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl using an electric mixer on high speed about five minutes, until light and creamy. With the mixer on low, gradually add confectioners’ sugar, then increase the speed to high and beat three minutes, until stiff and creamy. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch flat tip.
    Starting from the top of a cooled muffin and leaving a small space for the eyes, pipe frosting from left to right, forming crisscrossing ribbons that mimic the wrapping of a mummy. Pipe a small amount of frosting on the back of two blueberries and two candy eyes. Place blueberries, frosting side down, onto the unfrosted part of the muffin. Top each with an eye. Repeat with remaining frosting, muffins, blueberries and eyes.


Halloween Popcorn Treats

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/3 cup popcorn kernels
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 cups mini marshmallows
6 fun-size caramel peanut chocolate bars, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3 3-inch chocolate chip cookies, crumbled
1/3 cup chopped salted almonds
1/2 cup orange and black candy-coated chocolate candies

    Spray the inside of a large mixing bowl with vegetable cooking spray, and lightly spray a baking sheet. Set aside.
    In a three-quart or larger heavy-bottomed pan, heat oil and popcorn over medium-high heat. Cover and shake gently about three minutes, until all the kernels have popped. Place popcorn in a large bowl that’s been coated with cooking spray.
    In a medium saucepan, heat butter over low heat. Add the vanilla extract and marshmallows. Stir constantly until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth, about five minutes. Pour melted marshmallow mixture over popcorn and, using a spatula coated with cooking spray, stir until the popcorn is coated.
    Spread mixture on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with chocolate bar pieces, cookies, almonds and chocolate candies. Using a spatula, gently press toppings into the popcorn. Allow the mixture to dry for one hour.
    Break into two-inch pieces and store airtight in a plastic container.


Bloody Berry Hand Pie

4 packages pre-made pie crust
2 cups mixed frozen berries
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 egg, whisked

    Combine berries and sugar into a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
    In a small dish, dissolve cornstarch in water to create a slurry. Add slurry into the pot and stir. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush berries. Let simmer for five to six minutes, until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and transfer to a dish. Refrigerate until cooled completely.
    Roll pie dough on a clean surface. Using a sharp paring knife, trace your hand. Repeat a second time, tracing further from your hand to create a slightly larger cut-out. This will be the top of your hand pie.         Place two tablespoons filling in of the smaller piece of dough. Using the back of a measure spoon, drag a small about of the filling up each finger. Top with the large hand cut-out. Press gently around the edges, then crimp the edges with a small fork to seal. Repeat until you’ve used up the dough and filling.
    Place pies on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush pies with egg wash, then bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 to 25 minutes. If making eight pies, bake in batches of four with two pies per baking sheet. Finished pies should be a light golden color and firm to the touch.


Witches Hats

For mousse:
5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup 35% cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For hats:
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
8 sugar ice cream cones
Caramel sauce, optional

    To make mousse, place chocolate in a bowl. Set aside.
    In a saucepan, bring cream and sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. Let stand one minute.
    Gently whisk mixture until the chocolate melts. Add the eggs, whisking until the mixture is smooth. Cover and refrigerate about one hour, until mixture reaches room temperature.
    Using an electric mixer, beat about five minutes, until mixture becomes frothy and starts to turn pale. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip.
    Melt chocolate in a bain-marie or double boiler.
    Brush the outside of the cones with a generous amounts of melted chocolate. Arrange cones on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, pointed end up. Refrigerate about 10 minutes, until chocolate is completely set. Set the remaining chocolate over the warm water in the bain-marie or double boiler.
    Place cones, open end up, in eight Popsicle molds or glasses. Leave parchment paper on the baking sheet.
    Spoon about one tablespoon caramel sauce into each cone, then pipe mousse into the cones, filling them to within 1/8 inch of the top. Set aside.
    Using a tablespoon, spread remaining melted chocolate on the baking sheet to form 8 discs about 3 inches across. Place a cone, pointed end up, in the center of each disc. Refrigerate one hour.



 Apple Spider Web Pops

2 large Granny Smith apples, stems removed
4 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate
2 teaspoons coconut oil
4 ounces chopped white chocolate

    Cut apples from stem to bottom into four thick slices each. Remove any visible seeds and keep the core intact. The end slices will be rounded; cut a thin slice off so they lay flat. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each slice with a wooden stick and push halfway into the apple.
    Combine bittersweet chocolate and one teaspoon coconut oil in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
    Place white chocolate and remaining coconut oil in another medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave at 50% power in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.
    Dip half the apple slices completely in the bittersweet chocolate, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, then place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Dip remaining apple slices in the white chocolate. Let sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes.
    Transfer leftover dark and white chocolate to two small resealable plastic bags and snip a small corner off each bag. Pipe three to four dark chocolate concentric circles on the white chocolate-dipped apples and visa-versa. Drag a toothpick through the circles, starting at the center and working your way out to create a spider web design. Refrigerate 15 to 20 minutes, until hardened.


Mac-O-Lantern and Cheese Bowls

Kosher salt
6 medium orange bell peppers
8 ounces elbow macaroni
1-1/4 cups half-and-half
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
4 ounces mild cheddar, shredded

    Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
    Cut tops off the peppers and reserve. Remove the seeds and membranes. Put peppers and the tops in the boiling water and cook two to three minutes, until just tender. Plunge peppers and tops into the ice bath. Once cool, remove and use a sharp knife to carve a jack-o-lantern face into one side of each pepper.
    Return water to a boil, add macaroni and cook about six minutes, until al dente. Reserve one cup pasta water, then drain but don’t rinse the pasta.
    Heat half-and-half in a large saucepan over medium heat until it just comes to a simmer. Simmer about 10 minutes, until reduced to about 3/4 cup. Add cream cheese and stir until melted. Whisk in cheddar until all the cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
    Off the heat, add macaroni to the sauce and stir to combine. Stir in some reserved pasta water to thin the sauce if needed. Season with salt. Let sit 10 minutes, then divide the macaroni and cheese among the peppers and cap each with a pepper top.


Bloodshot Devilled Eggs

6 large eggs
1 tablespoon red or burgundy gel food coloring
4 cups water
For filling and toppings:
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon prepared wasabi
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
6 pitted black olives, sliced into rounds
3 tablespoons to 1/4 cup sriracha

    Place water in a medium saucepan and stir in food coloring. Add eggs and stir. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat, cover and let sit 20 minutes.
    Carefully remove eggs from water with a spoon. In a bowl, tap egg with a spoon or press gently with your thumb to create cracks all over exterior. Place back in the red water and refrigerate at least six hours.
    Peel and rinse eggs. Slice in half lengthwise and place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Place hollowed egg whites cut side-up on a serving platter.
    Mash yolks with a fork. Add mayonnaise, wasabi and sesame oil. Mix well.
    Spoon or pipe filling into hollowed egg whites. Dot filling with a black olive round to create the pupil. Pipe sriracha onto whites to create a bloodshot eye.


Bacon-Wrapped Jalapeno Ghouls

4 large jalapenos, cut lengthwise, seeds and veins removed
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon grainy mustard
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
4 strips bacon, cut lengthwise into thin strips
2 pitted black olives, diced small

    Line a large baking sheet with foil. Place jalapenos, cut side-up, on sheet.
    In a small bowl, combine Greek yogurt, grainy mustard, Parmesan cheese and dried thyme. Divide evenly between jalapenos and smooth the top.
    Wrap thin strips of bacon around jalapenos, leaving a small gap near the stem for the eyes.
    Bake in a 325-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until bacon is crispy and cheese is bubbling. Cool five minutes.
    Place two pieces of diced olive in the small gap near the stem of each jalapeno.
    Serve warm.

Haunted Orchard Punch

1-1/2 cups silver tequila
2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 to 1/3 cup maple syrup
1 inch fresh ginger, grated
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 3 12-ounce bottles sparkling hard cider
3 to 4 cinnamon sticks
1 apple, thinly sliced

    In a large pitcher, combine tequila, cider, lemon juice, maple syrup, ginger and cinnamon. Chill until ready to serve.
    Top with hard cider and stir in cinnamon sticks and apple slices just before serving.


Mummy Pizzas

2 ciabatta rolls
4 tablespoons sun-dried tomato pesto or pizza sauce
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 small zucchinis
4 black olives

    Cut rolls in half and spread each piece with sun-dried tomato pesto or pizza sauce. Sprinkle with grated cheese.
    Use a vegetable peeler to cut zucchinis into thin ribbons. Lay ribbons across the rolls at different angles.
    Cut two slices out of each black olive and position them to become the mummy’s eyes.
    Place pizzas on a baking sheet. Bake in a 375-degree oven about 20 minutes, until cheese has melted and zucchini has wrinkled.




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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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