I can’t pretend this isn’t one of my favorite times of the year. When else can you offer someone a skull full of almond flavored witch fingers and not expect screams?
But whether you have signed up to bring the classroom treat, are throwing a Friday-night-fright-fest, or just feel like serving something creepy for dessert, finding the perfect, easy, recipe can be a chore.
Allow me to help! I’ve collected seven of my favorite creepy concoctions. I do not take credit for creating any of these ideas, but I’ve kitchen- and kid-tested each of these and know they are sure-fire hits, whatever your event.
- Sticks (either lollipop sticks or actual Q-Tips with the cotton heads clipped off)
- Ear Wax (butterscotch, caramel, or cookie butter–see below)
This is one of the simplest treats to make. Simply place one mini-marshmallow on each end of the stick and dip in the “ear wax” of your choice. Store bought butterscotch and caramel don’t always set up completely and can cause some stickiness between “Q-Tips” on the tray. Homemade caramel usually sets up harder and is a nice option–email me for my recipe and instructions. Or, Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter works wonderfully.
- Graham Crackers
- Sugar Sheets (white)
- Piping Gel (clear with food colors, or red and white)
- Dried cranberries
- Split the graham crackers into fourths along the break lines.
- Trim pieces of sugar sheet to resemble the center white of a bandage.
- Use white or clear piping gel to stick sugar sheet to the center of the graham cracker.
- Pound down a cranberry and stick to center of the sugar sheet bandage with piping gel.
- Use a combination of piping gel colors to smear “blood” around the cranberry “scab.”
- Clear plastic cups
- Green grapes
- Large marshmallows
- Brown M&M’s or chocolate chips
- Black tape
- Press n’ Seal wax paper
- Line the top of plastic cups with black tape to resemble hair. I lined up small strips of black tape along the edge of my kitchen counter and trimmed the edges into wedges. I then stuck them around the lip of the cup with the wedge side down.
- Fill the cup with washed grapes about 2/3 of the way to the top. Leave just enough room for the marshmallow “eyes” to be visible below the “hairline.”
- Push M&M’s (or chocolate chips) into the marshmallows for pupils and place on top of grapes.
- Fill in the rest of the space with grapes.
- Close the cup with the wax paper.
- Add a black tape “mouth.”
Almond Witch Finger Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) soft butter or margarine
- 1 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp almond extract
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 2/3 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- Whole almonds
- Red piping or decorator gel
- In a bowl or mixer, beat together butter, sugar, egg, almond extract, and vanilla.
- Mix together flour and salt and slowly add to butter mixture.
- Scoop into ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- While dough is cooling, place almonds in a pot of water. Allow to boil for several minutes until the almond skins slide off easily. Caution: Place almonds in cold water before rubbing the skins off.
- Once the dough is cool, cut off a small portion and return
the rest to the refrigerator.
- Using approximately one teaspoon of dough per cookie, roll into a thin finger shape. Roll the dough along the tips of your fingers to use your own knuckles to help create a realistic looking “finger.” See picture for demonstration. Note: These cookies will expand when baked, so make your “fingers” thin for more realism.
- Press a skinless almond into the tip for a creepy “fingernail.”
- Use a knife to slash several crease lines into each knuckle.
- Place cookies in the freezer for several minutes before baking to help them hold their shape. If you want a variety of curves and shapes, now is the time to arrange the cookies into those shapes.
- Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes until pale golden brown.
- After cooling, check almond. Many of them will slip out of their “fingernail base.” If the almond is not firm, take off and squeeze red gel on “nail base.” Replace the almond allowing some of the gel to squeeze out along the edge of the “nail” for a perfectly bloody cuticle look.
- ½ cup (or more) butter
- 1 package regular marshmallows or 4 cups mini-marshmallows
- 6 cups Rice Krispies
- 2-3 drops red food coloring
- 1 cup red velvet cake mix
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Brain mold – optional
- Melt the butter in a large pot over low heat.
- Add the marshmallows.
- Stir vigorously until all the marshmallows are melted and combined with the butter.
- Reduce heat to lowest setting–this is a careful balance between keeping the marshmallow smooth and yet not burning it.
- Add vanilla and red food coloring. Mix well.
- Slowly stir in the red velvet cake mix. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more butter and allow to melt before adding any more cake mix.
- Slowly add the Rice Krispies. Stir vigorously to coat with color. If not all the cereal gets completely red, don’t worry. The little bits of flesh colored cereal really add to the creep of this dessert.
- Shape into desired mold or containers. Note: If using the brain mold, take a few small handfuls of “brains” and press them into the base of the mold to fill all the cerebral grooves. Then add the rest of the treats and press firmly.
- Allow to cool before cutting or serving.
- Donut holes (one per serving)
- Chocolate icing (Nutella can be used as a substitute)
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Thin pretzel sticks
- Spread frosting or Nutella across the top 1/3 of the donut hole. Note: If you are using this for a school treat, check for hazelnut allergies before using Nutella.
- Roll frosted top in sprinkles. Note: If you are using glazed donut holes, the sprinkles will want to stick to the glaze, so be careful to only roll the top.
- Break pretzel sticks into halves or thirds and insert into the top of the frosted cap of the “acorn.”
- Hot Dogs
- Hot Dog buns
- White piping gel (if needed)
- Prepare hot dogs according to package instructions.
- Chop off one end of the hot dog to resemble finger length.
- Slice off a finger nail size and shape section off the intact tip.
- If you have used an all-beef hot dog (as I did in the picture) you will find that the inside of the dog is the same as the outside. If this is the case, tap a very small amount of white piping gel on the “fingernail” to make it pop.
- If you have used a hot dog with a lighter colored inside, the “fingernail” will stand out on its own, so the piping gel will not be needed unless you would like to make the appearance more extreme.
- Using a serrated knife, add creases where the knuckles would be.
- Artfully smear bun and “severed” finger end with ketchup. I also like to rip the ends off of the buns to add to the rough and traumatized look of the dish.
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