KEARNEYSVILLE – The waning days of October as we prepare for a flood of little ghosts, goblins and costumed creatures of all kinds are the perfect time to head to the kitchen with your favorite kids. A fun family activity is creating and decorating cupcakes and other easy treats.
Before you start, assemble as many garnishes you may have on hand which could include colored sugar sprinkles, black and red string licorice, jelly beans, coconut, raisins, chocolate chips, gummy worms, icing tubes of different colors plus whatever other goodies sound appealing to you.
Decorating cupcakes can become a family affair. Bake up your favorite flavor of cake and let the fun begin.
Add color to your icing: Use orange for a pumpkin, green for a monster, red for a devil, and black for the spider. You can buy black food coloring and make your own by combining red, blue and yellow. Use an empty bottle, add 1/3 red, 1/3 blue and finish off with 1/3 yellow. Mix and or shake until well blended.A tip to remember: You can add a pinch of salt to your food colors to help decrease bitterness. Also remember that your hands and clothing can be stained. It would be wise to cover your table with a plastic cloth to avoid staining and spillage.
Cupcake Spiders. Use white or black icing, black gumdrops for the body and cut a long strips of black licorice for the legs. Use one half of a red jelly bean and or use a red tube of icing for the eyes. You can spruce it up with a cut out bow tie.
Orange Cupcakes. Create a pumpkin by mixing red and orange coloring to blend a bright orange icing. Cover your cupcake and garnish with cut green gum drops or other green available for the leaves and stem, using candy corn to make a face.
White Ghost. What’s easier than a coating of white icing garnished with black-dot raisins for eyes? Be creative and the outcome will surprise you.
Beyond cupcakes, other fun Halloween ideas include spicing up a bowl of punch by taking a plastic and or rubber glove filled with water, freeze and when time to take out for the punch remove the outer glove and you will have a spooky floating hand sure to bring squeals from the children.
Using this simple recipe for Rice Krispies treats you can form several cute ideas. Melt on low heat 3 tablespoons butter or margarine in a sauce pan; stir in 4 cups miniature marshmallows and 6 cups Kellogg’s Rice Krispies. Stir until completely covered and add a few drops of vanilla extract.
To make a pumpkin, form a small ball and use a green gumdrop for the stem; use a tube of green icing to add leaves and a stem. Take candy corn to form a face or leave plain. To make a ghost, simply form a body and add eyes. For a spider, create a small ball and add black licorice for legs and then gumdrops or M&Ms for the eyes.
You can form a ball and then create an eyeball. Cookie cutters offer another a great way to make different forms by filling them with the mixture and decorate.
How about making old-fashioned caramel apples? A favorite treat for young and old, they’re also simple to make. If you have store bought apples, dip them in hot water for a few seconds and dry to remove any wax coating. Melt caramel in a saucepan over low heat (you may add a little lemon juice, cloves and even red food coloring).
Insert a stick in each apple and dip in your caramel mixture, place on waxed or parchment paper. There are several ways to dress up your apples from there. Try rolling them in nuts, sparkles or other edible garnish.
Have fun this week! Halloween is a time to use your imagination – whether you’re headed out in your trick-or-treat costume or heading into your kitchen.