Food & Drink

Try new tricks with your treats

Coming up with new tricks to wow Halloween visitors and party guestsevery year can be a monstrous challenge. but don’t be scared. We’ve gota treat for you: A grab bag of spooky decorations and frighteningly easyrefreshments to get you in the spirit of the holiday.

MINI CARAMEL APPLES

Bite-size versions of the fall fair treat, these tiny "caramel" applesare a great party snack.

YOU WILL NEED:

4-inch lollipop sticks

Melon baller

Granny Smith apples (one apple makes about 8 mini apples)

Butterscotch or peanut butter chips

Chopped nuts, nonpareils, sprinkles, shredded coconut (optional)

Small paper candy cups

First, cut the lollipop sticks in half at an angle (the pointy end willgo into the apple pieces easier). With the melon baller, scoop littleballs out of the apple. Each ball should have a section of apple peel.Push half of a lollipop stick into the peel of each ball. Pat the applepieces dry.

Melt the chips according to the package directions. Dip and swirl themini apples in the melted chips, then roll the apples in nuts,sprinkles, non-pareils or coconut, if desired. Place the mini apples inpaper candy cups to set.

— FAMILY FUN MAGAZINE

BLACK BEAN CAT CRUDITES

Looking for a Halloween night snack that’s both healthy and festive?This skeletal array fits the bill, no bones about it — just assortedfresh vegetables and a bowl of dip arranged in the shape of a spooky cat.

BRAIN CUPCAKES

Here’s a treat to put you in a Halloween mindset. Spread a coat of lightorange icing (we stirred drops of yellow and pink food coloring, andjust a touch of green, into 2 cups of buttercream frosting until we hada hue we liked) on a dozen cupcakes.

Then use a pastry bag fitted with a number 10 round tip to top them withfat zigzags. It works best to first pipe two zigzags down the middle andthen fill in the sides.

WITCH'S HOUSE CAKE

When guests dig into this devilishly delicious cake with its brokencandy "glass" path, cookie graveyard, marshmallow ghosts and spookyhilltop shack, it will be love at first bite.

Ingredients:

3 baked devil's food or chocolate cakes: a 13- by 9- by 2-inch, an8-inch round cake baked in an ovenproof bowl and a 6-inch loaf

4 cups chocolate frosting

1 cup orange frosting

Decorations: chocolate graham crackers and ice-cream cones, NutterButter cookies, black shoestring licorice, green gumdrops, chocolatekisses, twisted licorice, mini marshmallows, mini chocolate chips,chocolate-covered raisins and green hard candies

Cover a large cutting board with foil. Place the 13- by 9- by 2-inchcake on top to create the "graveyard." On one end, place the bowl-shapedcake "hill." Ice the graveyard and hill with chocolate frosting. Cut outa 2- by 3-inch rectangle, about 1 inch deep, on top of the hill toaccommodate the house.

Turn the loaf cake into a house by cutting the corners off one end tomake a peaked roof. Place the house in the 2- by 3-inch slot and "paint"the house with orange frosting. Tile the roof with chocolate grahamcrackers and frosting. Add scary details: windows made of brokenchocolate cones with orange icing grids and a peanut butter cookie doorwith a candy doorknob.

Surround the house with shoestring licorice barbed wire. Add a flyingwitch (a gumdrop face with a chocolate kiss hat on a twisted licoricebroomstick).

To create gravestones, break peanut butter cookies in half and pipe onspooky sayings with orange frosting ("R.I.P.," "Boo" and so on). Securein the muddy frosting. Next make ghosts in the trees (cut crookedbranches in a piece of twisted licorice and add mini marshmallow ghostswith mini chocolate chip eyes), then plant the trees in the mud. Next,draw a crooked path from the base of the cake to the witch's door with atoothpick. Outline the path with chocolate-covered raisins, thensprinkle with broken green hard candies. At the entrance, add achocolate graham cracker drawbridge. Finally, outline the yard withbroken chocolate cone fencing. Set the house in a place for all to see —and scream about. Serves 20.

CANDY CORN BALLS

A sprinkling of candy corn makes these popcorn balls an extra-specialtreat. While boiling the syrup is a job for adults only, shaping theballs is a fun activity for little hands.

To make them, put 12 cups popped popcorn in a mixing bowl large enoughto allow for stirring. Mix in 1 and 1/2 cups candy corn.

Next, fill a medium-sisze bowl with ice water and set out a cookie sheetor a piece of waxed paper.

Mix 3/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup corn syrup, 6 tablespoons butter, and1/2 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart pot. Bring to a simmer over medium-highheat, stirring constantly. Stop stirring and let the syrup boil until aninserted candy thermometer reaches 275 degrees (a parent's job).

Carefully pour the syrup over the popcorn and stir well with a woodenspoon to evenly coat the kernels and candy. Cool slightly.Now quickly dip your hands into the ice water and shape the popcorn into3-inch balls. Place on waxed paper to cool completely. Tightly wrap theballs individually in plastic. Makes 18 to 24.

SPIDER PRETZELS

These arachnid treats are easy to make — and they look positivelylifelike crawling across a snack plate.

Ingredients

For each treat:

2 round crackers

2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter

8 small pretzel sticks

2 raisins

With the peanut butter, make a cracker sandwich. Insert eight pretzel"legs" into the filling. With a dab of peanut butter, set two raisin"eyes" on top. Makes 1.

— All projects from ‘FamilyFun Tricks and Treats,’ from Disney Editions

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