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Summon spooky snack from 7-layer dip

It isn’t a party — in Southern Oregon, at least — without seven-layer dip.

Known in some circles as “taco dip,” this specialty has held sway over the buffet at every casual gathering I’ve attended locally for the past 15 years. Strangely enough, it isn’t a dish I recall from gatherings during my childhood spent on the South Coast. Whether it’s a generational or regional development, I couldn’t say, but it’s clearly a crowd pleaser.

The recipe also is affordable for hosts and potluck contributors and perfectly suited to day-before preparation, allowing the viscous layers of refried beans, sour cream, mashed avocado and salsa to firm up a bit. This adaptation acknowledges the prominence of Halloween entertaining, as well as the appeal of savory options next to all the sweet treats.

Lacking the shredded cheese and sliced olives of many versions, this one isn’t technically seven layers but does boast some ghoulish garnishes. Try your hand at cutting then toasting tortillas into the shape of ghosts, tombstones and bare-limbed trees for your frightful festivities.

Graveyard Taco Dip

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans

2 cups sour cream

1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning

2 avocados, mashed

1 garlic clove, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Pinch of salt

1 cup salsa

2 scallions, green parts only, trimmed and chopped

2 large flour tortillas

Spread the refried beans into a small baking or casserole dish. Mix together the sour cream and taco seasoning; spread on top of beans. Mix together the mashed avocados, garlic, mayonnaise and salt; spread on top of sour cream mixture. Spread the salsa on top and scatter the chopped scallions across salsa. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut tombstones, ghosts and a scary tree out of the tortillas, and place shapes on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and crispy, for about 7 to 9 minutes. If desired, decorate these shapes with a black, food-safe marker or black decorating gel.

Arrange shapes upright in dip to resemble a spooky cemetery; serve with potato chips or tortilla chips.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe adapted by the St. Louis-Post Dispatch from Joe and Sue via blog.chickabug.com

Tribune News Service photo