Tomorrow is Halloween and thousands of kids in our area will be out trick-or-treating, and others of all ages will be attending parties just for the fun of it all.
When I was a kid we could hardly wait until we were old enough to go out on our own; but alas, by then we were deemed old enough to take our younger siblings out first.
It was a simpler time; a much safer time for Halloween, when people could make homemade candy apples, cookies, popcorn balls, and cupcakes to give away, when we knew most all our neighbours and our parents trusted people more. They still checked our stash, never expecting to find anything dangerous, but it never occurred to them to throw out perfectly good food. There was always a huge bonfire at the fair grounds with hot chocolate for everyone, sponsored by the local firemen. It was the perfect place to meet up with our teenage friends before heading off to do mischief at certain teachers’ houses. All in fun, of course.
Today I have a couple of last-minute treats you can whip up for the kids’ lunch boxes or for kids’ home parties. Happy Halloween, may you see a ghost or two.
Chocolate Spider Webs
6 squares semi-sweet chocolate (or 6 oz. baking chocolate wafers)
2 cups (100 g) straight pretzels
12 gummy spiders
Line 2 baking sheets with wax or parchment paper. In a large bowl, melt chocolate over a pot of simmering water (creating a double boiler). Once chocolate is melted, stir pretzels into chocolate to coat.
Using tongs, pick up bunches of coated pretzels and flatten into messy stacks on lined sheets. Make 12 stacks.
While chocolate is still warm, dip the bottoms of the gummy spiders into melted chocolate and press onto pretzel stacks to stick. Chill in fridge about 15 minutes to harden chocolate.
Serve these sweet tangles the same day you make them to keep the chocolate from turning streaky.
3 cups miniature marshmallows
1/4 cup butter
8 cups freshly popped popcorn
1/2 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips
Place the marshmallows and butter into a large pot over medium-low heat, and melt them together, stirring often. Cook until blended and smooth, about 5 minutes, and remove from heat.
Stir in the popcorn and peanuts, and stir gently to thoroughly coat them with the marshmallow mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. With greased hands, shape the mixture into 3-inch balls, and wrap each ball in plastic wrap.
Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every Wednesday and one Sunday per month.