Cooks Exchange

Scare up tasty, homemade Halloween treats

While candy takes center stage for Halloween night, be sure to celebrate with homemade goodies, too.
While candy takes center stage for Halloween night, be sure to celebrate with homemade goodies, too. Getty Images/iStockphoto

Before the days of poisoned candy and razor blades in candy, the good treats for Halloween came from the kitchen.

A banker in my hometown decorated his backyard with spooky decorations and washtubs full of apples for bobbing. We loved it; of course, we got soaked but that was part of the fun.

Then we would stop at one of our favorite teacher’s home for homemade popcorn balls. What a treat! Other special folks gave us homemade cookies and candies. What a shame our kids and grandkids do not get to enjoy this.

I try to instill some of these memories in Lilly, just as I did for her mom. I let them help make the Halloween goodies for our house or for friends. Lilly loves apples, so it is caramel or red candied apples for her. My daughter’s favorite is popcorn balls. I use the recipe that my great-grandmother made for us. I feel like these recipes are a part of my heritage in a gentler time.

Do kids really care if treats or store-bought or homemade? Probably not, but they do know when parents and grandparents have spent time with them. Lilly looks forward to cooking with me. She has her Minnie Mouse apron and set of kitchen tools. Is she more likely to eat what she makes? Of course.

Since Halloween is at hand, I am sharing some homemade goodies that are not difficult to make and can involve the kids.

I also offer an adult snack, a garlic baked brie spider, which takes 40 minutes from start to finish. I love brie, and this spooky spider is most edible using puff pastry sheets and prosciutto. Need I say more?

Twix is one of Lilly’s favorite candies, so I share the recipe from


Yvonne Hicks wants the recipe for Marguerites shrimp scampi-like dish.

In last week’s column, the daughter of the late owners of the now-closed Marguerites Italian Village in Pascagoula shared the recipe for Eggplant Lamberto.

“It was almost shrimp scampi,” said Hicks. “I know it had mushrooms, light garlic buttery sauce. It was wonderful.

“Would Liz O’Cain share this recipe?” Hicks said.


1 brie cheese wheel

2 cloves garlic, sliced

2 sheets puff pastry

3-4 prosciutto slices

2 black olives


4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon Rosemary, chopped

1/2 teaspoon thyme, chopped

1 teaspoon basil, chopped

Pinch of salt

Black pepper to taste

1 egg for egg wash on top of spider

Slice a grid on top of a brie wheel; approximately 4 slits horizontally and vertically. Insert thinly sliced garlic into the slits.

To make the spider legs: roll out a sheet of puff pastry dough; then a layer of prosciutto on top; cut 1 to 2-inch strips.

To make the spider’s head: take a puff pastry dough and make it into a small ball (the size of a large meatball); slice black olives and insert them into the ball to make the eyes and fangs. The brie wheel becomes the spider’s body.

Position the head and brie wheel on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Twist each strip of pastry dough/prosciutto and place them around the spider’s body to form the legs. In a bowl, mix olive oil, rosemary, thyme, basil, salt and black pepper; spoon the mixture over the brie cheese wheel. Brush egg wash over the head and legs. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

– From


Shortbread layer:

2 sticks butter, softened to room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Caramel layer:

2 (11-ounce) packages caramel squares

1/2 cup heavy cream

Chocolate layer:

2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I like to use milk chocolate chips.)

Flaky sea salt for garnish

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a 9-by-12-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

Make shortbread layer: Lightly cream softened butter with sugar until well combined. Add vanilla, then, add 2 cups flour and mix until a breadcrumb texture forms.

Press mixture into a prepared pan and prick all over with a fork.

Bake until lightly golden, 30 minutes. Let cool completely.

Make caramel layer: In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stir caramels and cream together until melted, 10 minutes. Pour over cooled shortbread crust.

Make chocolate layer: Melt chocolate in microwave in 30-second intervals and stir until smooth. Pour over caramel layer. Refrigerate 20 minutes until firm, then slice into bars.

– From


16 cups popped popcorn

2 cups mini-chocolate sandwich cookies (mini-Oreos)

1 (11-ounce) package gummy worms

1 cup fruity candy pieces (could be gummies)

1 can (1.5-ounce) green food color spray

Place popped popcorn in large bowl. Add cookies and candy. Spray popcorn with green food color spray. Serves 12-14.



2 green apples

2 strawberries

1/4 cup sunflower seeds


Peanut butter

1 small pack candy eyes

Cutting the apple is the most challenging part of this recipe. Cut the apples into large pieces and take a chunk out of the center to create the mouth. Fill with peanut butter and stick sunflower seeds in for crooked teeth.

Stick candy eyes on top using peanut butter. Attach a few eyes with toothpicks to make the monster look even scarier. Slice strawberries and use the slices as the tongues.

– From

Andrea Yeager can be reached at and Cooks Exchange, 205 DeBuys Road, Gulfport, MS 39507