Halloween is not just about the sweet stuff.
If you want to creep out your family with scary-looking treats, you need some real food, too, to counteract the inevitable sugar rush that comes with candy consumption.
Warm and flaky is always good, as is any nosh that requires dipping. And if you can work some fresh fruit or vegetables or a healthful nut butter into the mix? Even better.
We’ve assembled some creepy-crawly Halloween treats that have two decidedly unscary things going for them. They’re assembled with everyday ingredients you probably already have in your pantry or fridge. And they require almost no effort.
All five of the scary foods can be made in five easy steps — less if you don’t consider turning on the oven an action that requires effort.
They include a bewitching finger food that looks like actual fingers, a quick-and-easy bedtime snack that’s an edible doppelganger for the carved pumpkin on your doorstep and kid-friendly hot dogs wrapped up like mummies.
Not one revolves around sugar, which means you don’t have to feel guilty when indulging.
Sliced olives turn deviled eggs into creepy crawlies. To prevent the eggs from cracking while cooking, start with cold water.
Juicy Spider Eggs
Makes 12 spider eggs
6 hard-boiled eggs
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoon mayonnaise, or more to taste
Dash of white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon paprika, optional
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
18 black olives, divided
1. Cut your eggs in half lengthwise, and gently scoop out the yolks. Use fork or spoon to mash the yolks up. Stir in mustard, mayonnaise and vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Fill your egg white halves with the yolk mixture, heaping it carefully. Hand-sprinkle with paprika to taste, if desired.
3. Slice 6 of your black olives in half, saving both halves for the main part of the spider’s body.
4. Place each half of your olives on the center of an egg yolk for the spider’s body.
5. Gather remaining 12 olives, split in half and thinly slice each half into quarters to make the spider’s legs.
These flaky, crescent roll-wrapped mummy hot dogs are instant party hits for kids and adults. Serve with ketchup or mustard for dipping.
Mummy hot dogs
Makes 10 mummy dogs
1 can (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
2½ slices American cheese, quartered
10 hot dogs, patted dry with a paper towel
Mustard or ketchup, if desired
1. Heat oven to 375 F.
2. Unroll dough; separate at perforations, creating 4 rectangles. Press perforations to seal.
3. With knife or kitchen scissors, cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 40 pieces of dough. Cut the whole cheese slices into quarters and the half slice in two.
4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around each hot dog and ¼ slice of cheese to look like “bandages,” stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About ½ inch from one end of each hot dog, separate “bandages” so hot dog shows through for “face.”
5. On ungreased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs (cheese side down); spray dough lightly with cooking spray. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard, draw features on “face.”
These quesadillas are stuffed with chicken and cheese, but you could also use seasoned ground beef or leave the meat out all together. Serve with salsa, guacamole, sour cream and/or hot sauce.
2 cups shredded chicken
Juice of ½ lime
½ teaspoon each chili, cumin and garlic powders
8 medium flour tortillas
1½ cups shredded Mexican cheese
1 tablespoon vegetable oil, for brushing
Hot sauce, guacamole, salsa and/or sour cream for serving
1. Preheat oven to 425 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, add chicken and toss with lime juice and spices.
3. Using a paring knife, cut a jack-o’-lantern pattern into 4 flour tortillas.
4. Sprinkle chicken and cheese onto remaining 4 tortillas, and top with jack-o’-lanterns.
5. Place quesadillas onto baking sheet, brush with oil, and bake until cheese is melty and tortillas are golden brown, about 10 to 12 minutes.
These smiling apple faces will make your guests smile, too. I used Granny Smith apples and almond butter. You can find candy eyeballs in the baking section.
Scary Apple Bites
Makes 8 to 12 apple bites
2 medium-size green apples, each quartered
Sunflower, almond or peanut butter
32 sunflower or pumpkin seeds, or puffed rice
2 to 3 strawberries, sliced thin
1. Cut the middles out of each quarter of the apple to create a mouth. Don’t worry about perfection, you are filling this gap with nut butter anyway, so if you cut too deep, you can always just cover it up and no one will know.
2. Coat the inside of the cut gap with a filling of your choice of nut butter.
3. Place 4 sunflower or pumpkin seeds or pieces of puffed rice on the top of the “mouth” for the teeth.
4. Place 1 sliced strawberry inside the mouth for the tongue.
5. “Glue” each eye above the mouth with a dab of nut butter to stick.
These spooky snacks look like just witches’ fingers, with slivered almonds for nails. Serve hot with ketchup or marinara sauce.
Potato Witch Fingers
Makes around 2 dozen fingers
1 large russet potato (around 13 ounces), cooked, peeled, mashed
¼ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1½ teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
24 slivered almonds
1. In a bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the almonds, and form a smooth dough. You may need to add more flour if it’s sticky.
2. Using a measuring spoon, scoop around two teaspoons of the mashed potato dough and with floured hands, roll into a ball.
3. Roll the ball into the shape of a finger, shaping one end to a point for the nail to sit on. Place the shaped finger on the prepared baking tray. Repeat with the remaining dough.
4. Using a paring knife, score knuckle lines on the finger with 3 or 4 lines below the nail area, and 3 or 4 lines toward the end of the finger. Place an almond half on the nail area.
5. Bake in a 400 F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bottoms are brown and crisp and the top is puffed and firm.
Adapted from idahopotato.com
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