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Tricks for Treats

Go beyond dressing your pug in an owl costume this year. How about costuming your food? Spooky and kooky surprises are part of Halloween, and these recipes are delightfully different …

Candy Sushi

It’s a little known fact that food loves to dress up as other food. These sticky “sushi” snacks are gearing up for the holiday.

  • Ingredients:
  • 4 tbsp. butter
  • 4 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups crispy rice cereal
  • 2 boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups (green may look the most authentic)
  • 30 fish-shaped gummy candies (I used multi-colored Swedish fish)

Preparation:

Note: The first four sets of instructions are on how to make rice crispy treats. Similar recipes can often be found on the back the rice cereal boxes. If using another recipe, begin at step five.

Prepare a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet by lining it with waxed paper and spraying the paper with nonstick cooking spray.

Place 2 tbsp. of butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and microwave until melted, between 30-45 seconds.

Add 2 cups of miniature marshmallows to the bowl and microwave until the marshmallows are completely melted or for about 1 minute, stirring every 30 seconds. Stir the mixture until it is completely smooth.

Add 3 cups of rice cereal to the marshmallow and stir until completely coated. Immediately pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Spray your hands with nonstick cooking spray or use a piece of waxed paper between your hands and gooey mixture, and begin to press the candy into the sheet in a thin layer. Begin working from one of the shorter sides of the sheet. The mixture will only cover approximately half of the baking sheet.

With the short side of the baking sheet nearest you, place a pair of gummy worms an inch from the edge. Repeat until you have a line of worms stretching across the baking sheet.

Using the waxed paper (This stuff was so helpful!) to help you, roll the cereal mixture around the gummy worms, pressing firmly to make a tight roll. Take a large sharp knife and cut the log away from the rest of the mixture. Place it off to the side, and repeat the worms/rolling/cutting procedure for the remainder of the cereal.

Slice the logs into 1-inch rounds. Wrap each round in a strip of Fruit Roll-Ups.

To make the fish-topped “nigiri,” repeat steps to make the rice crispy base, but do not press the rice mixture as thinly. It should be about ¾-inch thick once pressed into the baking sheet.

Cut the candy into rectangular 1.5-inch pieces. Place a candy fish on top of each rectangle and wrap a strip of Fruit Roll-Up around the entire package. Don’t be too fussy about the sizes of the rice crispy squares and the width of the strips of Fruit Roll-Ups, play with it until you get the desired look.

The best part is plating your sushi. I used some extra green Fruit Roll-Up as wasabi, but a green frosting would work. Chocolate sauce could be used for soy sauce. A shaved pink fish or pink pieces of Fruit Roll-Up can be used for the ginger. Place pieces on a bamboo cutting board or sushi serving boat. Chopsticks on the plate are adorable.

Serve and amaze.

Adapted from a recipe by Elizabeth LaBau, an About.com guide.

cupcakes-batter

Fill 'em halfway.

Chocolate Sauerkraut Cupcakes

(Yes, sauerkraut. Keep reading. Trust us.)

You may consider wearing a wizard’s costume when serving these cupcakes because your family and friends will be asking how you got them so magically moist. Be aware, the secret ingredient may spook them, so perhaps wait until the compliments come pouring in to reveal the surprise.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sauerkraut
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (To substitute with all-purpose flour, remove 2 tbsp. from each cup and add 2 tbsp. of corn starch)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation:

Rinse and drain the sauerkraut. Run it through a food processor until chopped into fine bits. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until well incorporated. Beat in the sauerkraut. (If using a hand mixer, I highly recommend wearing an apron for this step.)

In a second bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Sift each one or be sure there’s no clumping.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet batter in thirds, adding a third of the water each time. Beat lightly with each addition.

Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon.

Line muffin tins with cupcake papers and fill them halfway up with the batter (I made mini cupcakes, so the recipe made twice as many.)

Bake for 20 minutes and check for doneness with a toothpick. (For mini cupcakes, bake for about 10 minutes.)

Let cool for 5 minutes and then remove from tin.

Do not ice until completely cooled.

Chocolate Icing

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups icing sugar (powdered sugar)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 1/3 cup butter (room temperature works best)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk

Preparation:

Beat butter with 2 cups sugar.

Add cocoa and beat.

Add the remaining 2 cups of sugar, milk, and vanilla. Beat.

Frost and decorate cooled cupcakes (I used candy corn decorations.)

Serve and surprise.

Adapted from recipe appearing on adventuresinlocalfood.wordpress.com.

cupcakes-ii

Ok, but they taste unbelievably delish.

 

- Biz Farrell, freelance food writer, gourmand, and food costumier.

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