Don't let Halloween creep up before cooking up some ghostly fun with your little ghouls and goblins.
Go all out at every meal for a monster mash of wicked fun.
It doesn't take much to turn Halloween into a sweet treat. Kids can dress up cookies and cupcakes with colored icing and use jelly beans, candy corn, black licorice, M&M's and peanuts and raisins to create their own creatures.
And ice-cream cones are perfect as hats for popcorn balls or rice cereal treats. After that, they'll just need chocolate chips eyes and licorice mouths. Try these recipes from McCormick and Betty Crocker.
CREEPY-CRAWLY CAKE TRUFFLES
1 package white cake mix
1 teaspoon orange extract
1/2 teaspoon yellow food coloring
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
1 cup marshmallow creme
White confectionery-coating wafers, such as Wilton White Candy Melts
Black confectionery-coating wafers
Semisweet baking chocolate
Assorted candies, for decorating
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, adding the orange extract and food coloring. Bake as directed on package for a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Crumble cake into a large bowl. Add the marshmallow creme and mix until well-blended. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Melt the coating wafers or chocolate as directed on package. Using a fork, dip 1 cake ball at a time into confectionery coating or melted chocolate. Tap back of fork 2 or 3 times against edge of dish to allow excess to drip off. Place cake balls on a wax paper-lined tray. Decorate as desired.
Makes 4 dozen or 24 (2 cake-pop) servings.
GHOSTS IN THE GRAVEYARD CUPCAKES
1 (18.25-ounce) package white cake mix
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Black food coloring, as needed
2 (16-ounce) containers vanilla frosting
24 oval-shaped cookies
Chocolate sprinkles and miniature chocolate chips, as needed
Prepare the cake mix according to package directions, adding the vanilla. Tint cake batter grey with 1/4 teaspoon of the food coloring.
Bake batter as directed on package for cupcakes. Cool cupcakes on a wire rack.
Tint 1 container of the frosting black with 1 teaspoon food coloring. Frost cupcakes, reserving 1/4 cup frosting. Spoon reserved frosting into a small, resealable, plastic bag. Snip a small corner from bag. Pipe "RIP" onto top half of each of the cookies. Push tombstone cookies gently into cupcakes.
For ghosts, spoon remaining container of frosting into a large, resealable plastic bag. Snip a corner from bag.
For ghost's body, pipe 1/2-inch dollop next to tombstone. Pipe a smaller dollop on top, lifting while squeezing bag so top of dollop is pointed. This is ghost's head.
Use the chocolate sprinkles and chocolate chips to decorate ghost's face.
Makes 24 cupcakes.
SEVERED-FINGER SUGAR COOKIES
1 (17.5-ounce) pouch Betty Crocker sugar-cookie mix
1/4 cup raw, slivered almonds
1/4 cup seedless strawberry jam
7 drops red food coloring
Heat oven to 350 F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
In medium bowl, mix the cookie mix and egg, using a fork or spatula, until well-mixed and texture of sand or breadcrumbs. Squeeze handfuls of dough tightly to form small logs or "fingers." Score top of logs with a butter knife to shape knuckles, then press 1 slivered almond at 1 end of each to make fingernails. Repeat to use up dough. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Cool completely. In a small bowl, mix the jam and food coloring. Trim base of "fingers" with a fork to give it a severed look. Dip base of finger into jam.
Makes about 24 cookies.