Happy Halloween! If you haven’t bought your candy yet, head out! You don’t want any nasty tricks played on you this year.
This week, I thought I’d write about spooky foods. Now there are a million ideas out there on Pinterest, but a lot of them verge on being so gruesome that you and your guests might lose your appetites. And that’s not good — you need a good meal before everyone starts dipping into all that sugar!
I also wanted ideas that are easy to put together, or at least, not more difficult than a normal dinner. And so I came up with two great, easy, spooky dinner foods and a little dessert, because not everyone has little ones that go out trick-or-treating.
First up, spooky eyeball tacos. These are really easy tacos, made by splitting a pound of ground beef (or turkey, if you prefer) and making half into meatballs and half into regular sautéed taco meat. Then when you assemble the tacos, you go light on the crumbled ground beef, because you top them off with meatball “eyes,” which become 3D when you use sour cream and olives to make the iris and pupil. Shredded cheese can be used to look like hair too. I liked these because they’re easy tacos, and more cartoonish than creepy.
Second dinner choice is a version on pigs in a blanket that looks like spiders. Here you cut the ends of the hot dogs lengthwise into four legs per end, wrap the middle with half of a crescent roll, and affix olive eyes on them before baking. As the hot dogs cook, the legs start to pull apart, making it more animated looking. Again, cute, and delicious to kids, and pretty darn fast.
And as for the dessert, these looked pretty enticing. You make a little dirt mound, I guess like a cemetery plot, by baking King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls with chocolate syrup, caramel syrup and crushed chocolate cookie crumbs on top, so they turn pretty black but are syrupy sweet. Then you make homemade whipped cream ghost figures beside them, and tuck gummy worms around them to look more cemetery-like. It’s like dirt cake, which is actually a pudding, but with rolls.
According to a National Confectioners Association article from last October, 68 percent of Americans surveyed said chocolate is their favorite Halloween treat. This column focusses on savory chocolate recipes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan. Place King’s Hawaiian rolls in the pan.
Combine brown sugar, melted butter, chocolate and caramel sauce, then spread evenly over the rolls. Mixture will be fairly thick, but will melt over the rolls as they bake. Sprinkle half of the cookie crumbs over the rolls.
Bake rolls for 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce around the bottom of the rolls is bubbly.
While the rolls bake, make whipped cream. Whip heavy whipping cream until it begins to thicken, then add powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Continue whipping cream until stiff peaks form.
Once rolls are baked, tuck gummy worms around the rolls. To serve the rolls, place on a plate, then pipe some whipped cream in a ghost shape and add mini chocolate chips for the eyes and mouth. Serve rolls warm. There should be enough whipped cream to make six to seven “ghosts.”