Unwrapped treats may be a no-no when going door to door, but a class party or evening event deserves more than a fun-size variety pack. These simple sweets and snacks are hauntingly delicious -- watch them vanish, ghostlike, before your very eyes.
Crisp Candy-Corn Treats
Spike the colored layers of these marshmallow crispy treats with orange and lemon zest for a new take on Halloween's signature candy.
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
12 cups miniature marshmallows, divided
3/4 teaspoon fine salt, divided
9 cups crisp puffed-rice cereal, divided
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
Yellow and red food coloring
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1. Lightly coat a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. In a large saucepan, melt 3 tablespoons unsalted butter over medium. Add 4 cups miniature marshmallows and 1/4 teaspoon fine salt; stir until melted. Stir in 3 cups crisp puffed-rice cereal and immediately transfer to pan. Coat an offset spatula with cooking spray and firmly press mixture into an even layer.
2. Rinse saucepan. Repeat step 1 twice: To second batch, add orange zest and enough yellow and red food coloring to tint marshmallow mixture orange before adding cereal, then press into pan. To third batch, add lemon zest and enough yellow food coloring to tint marshmallow mixture yellow. Press third batch into pan.
3. Let set 2 hours (or overnight). Run a small knife around edges of pan and invert loaf onto a cutting board. With a serrated knife, cut loaf into 10 slices. Cut each slice in half crosswise.
4. Using your hands, gently mold each treat into a candy-corn shape.
Combine grape juice and white wine with lime juice and raspberry sorbet for a vampire-approved, sweet-tart drink best enjoyed at twilight.
4 cups (32 ounces) Concord grape juice
750 ml sparkling white wine or apple cider
1/2 cup lime juice (from 4 limes)
1 pint raspberry sorbet
1. In a large pitcher, combine grape juice, wine, and lime juice. Scoop sorbet into eight small glasses and top with grape juice mixture. Serve immediately.
Slimy Bog Balls
Roll goat cheese balls in fresh herbs and set over pesto for an appetizer straight from the Black Lagoon.
3/4 cup (7 ounces) pesto
2/3 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, basil, tarragon, or cilantro
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper
10.5 ounces fresh goat cheese
Belgian endive leaves, for serving
1. Spread pesto on a serving plate. In a small bowl, combine herbs and zest and season with salt and pepper. Roll cheese into 12 balls, then roll in herb mixture to coat. Place on top of pesto. Serve with endive.
Cut puff pastry into spooky shapes with mini cookie cutters to make these crispy crackers in paprika-spiced orange and poppy-seed black.
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 teaspoons paprika
All-purpose flour, for work surface
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 tablespoons poppy seeds
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Combine Parmesan and paprika. On a floured surface, roll out puff pastry 1/8 inch thick and lightly brush with cream. Sprinkle Parmesan-paprika on one-third of the pastry, then sprinkle poppy seeds over another third (leave remaining third plain). With cookie cutters, cut out cat and bat shapes (or cut into 1 1/2-inch squares).
2. Transfer to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, then cover with more parchment and another baking sheet (this will keep pastry from puffing). Bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove top sheet and parchment and let crackers cool completely on sheet on a wire rack.
"I Scream" Graveyard Pie
Take mud pie to the extreme with this tombstone treat, where candy, cookies, and ice cream rest in peace together.
16 graham crackers, broken into large pieces
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
1 cup roughly chopped chocolate flaky-crisp candy bars, such as Butterfinger "fun size" (about 8)
1 pint chocolate ice cream, softened
1 cup roughly chopped chocolate-coconut candy bars, such as Mounds "snack size" (about 8)
2 tablespoons chocolate chips, melted and cooled
6 oval chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Milano, halved crosswise
12 candy skulls, for decorating
20 chocolate wafers, such as Famous
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor, process graham crackers until finely ground (you should have about 2 cups). With motor running, add butter in a slow, steady stream and pulse until combined. Firmly press crumb mixture into bottom and up side of a 9 1/2-inch pie plate. Bake until crust is dry and set, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely in plate on a wire rack, 45 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, stir vanilla ice cream with a wooden spoon until smooth. Fold in flaky-crisp candy bars. With a small offset spatula, spread ice cream mixture evenly in crust. Freeze until firm, 1 hour 20 minutes.
3. Stir chocolate ice cream until smooth. Fold in coconut candy bars and spread evenly on top of vanilla ice cream layer. Freeze until firm, 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, with a small spoon, place a dot of melted chocolate at one end of each sandwich cookie half. Immediately top with candy skulls and let set. In clean food processor, pulse wafers until finely ground (you should have about 1 1/4 cups). Spread crumbs on top of pie. With a knife, cut slits for "tombstones" and press cookie halves, cut side down, into slits. Serve immediately.
Grape-Lemonade Ghost Ice Pops
Give your guests the shivers with these fruity pops.
1 cup pure Concord grape juice
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 4 lemons)
2/3 cup sugar
6 raisins, halved
12 small honeydew melon balls (from 1/2 melon)
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together juices, sugar, and 1/2 cup water until sugar dissolves. Slightly flatten each raisin half and press one against flat side of each melon ball. Using a skewer, wedge 2 melon balls, raisins facing out, in bottom third of each of six 3-ounce ice-pop molds. Pour juice mixture into each mold, insert ice-pop sticks, and freeze until solid, about 3 hours (or up to 1 week).
Add some Halloween spirit to blondies with festively colored candies.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus more, room temperature, for pan
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/4 cup each orange, yellow, and brown candy-coated chocolates (from a 12.6-ounce bag)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush an 8-inch square baking pan with butter; line pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Butter paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together butter and sugars until smooth. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and salt; stir just until moistened. Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth top. Arrange candies in 12 rows (2 rows per color, repeating once) on top of dough.
3. Bake until top of cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Set pan on a wire rack and let cool completely. Using parchment overhang, lift cake from pan and transfer to a cutting board; cut into 16 squares.
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15 New Ideas for a Healthy, Delicious Breakfast
These one-bowl chocolate cupcakes are always a hit -- tint the frosting orange for a festive spin.