Dash of Class: A ghoulishly good treat buffet

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Food column by Nora Sweat

By Nora Sweat

Halloween is upon us and I hope you have your costumes ready and your treats ready for the little ones sure to ring your doorbell. But something else might be a little more pressing if you are planning a Halloween gathering. I have selected some snacks and beverages, from Taste of Home’s website, that will leave even adults shaking in their boots. Enjoy.

Caramel Apple Dip

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup caramel ice cream topping

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup marshmallow crème

3 medium tart apples

2 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, brown sugar, caramel topping and vanilla until smooth; fold in marshmallow crème. Cut apples vertically into thin slices.

In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and water; toss apples in lemon juice mixture. Drain.

Using Halloween cutters, cut out the center of each slice. Serve apple slices and cutouts with dip.

Yield: 2 cups-16- ½ cup servings.

Apple Cinnamon Snack Mix

3 cups Apple Jacks cereal

2 cups pecan halves

1 cup whole blanched almonds

1 cup Chow Mein noodles

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg white

In a large bowl, combine the cereal, nuts and Chow Mein noodles. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt; stir in egg white. Pour over the cereal mixture and toss to coat. Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake uncovered at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.Yield: 6 cups

Batty Bark Recipe

8 ounces milk chocolate, chopped

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup crisp rice cereal

1/4 cup unsalted sunflower kernels

1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

In a microwave, melt milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate; stir until smooth. Stir in the cereal, sunflower kernels and cherries. On a waxed paper-lined baking sheet, spread chocolate mixture into a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Refrigerate until firm.

Let stand at room temperature for 10 minutes. Cut with a 3-1/2-in. bat-shaped cookie cutter. Re-melt scraps and cut if desired.Yield:1-1/2 dozen

Bits and Pieces Munch Mix

3 cups popped popcorn

3 cups Crispix

1/2 cup mixed nuts

3 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons caramel apple dip

In a large bowl, combine the popcorn, cereal and nuts. In a small saucepan, combine butter and caramel dip; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat. Pour over popcorn mixture and toss to coat.

Transfer to a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 250° for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield:6 cups

Bloodshot Eyeballs

2 cups confectioners’ sugar, divided

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

3 tablespoons butter, softened

1/2 pound white candy coating, coarsely chopped

24 brown Reese’s pieces or milk chocolate M&M’s

1 tablespoon water

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red food coloring

In a small bowl, combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and butter. Shape into 1-inch balls; place on a waxed paper-lined pan. Chill for 30 minutes or until firm.

In a microwave, melt white candy coating; stir until smooth. Dip balls in coating; allow excess to drip off. Place on waxed paper. Immediately press a Reese’s candy onto the top of each eyeball for pupil. Let stand for 30 minutes or until set.

In a small bowl, combine the water, food coloring, and remaining confectioners’ sugar. Transfer to a heavy-duty resealable plastic bag; cut a small hole in a corner of bag. Pipe wavy lines downward from pupil, creating the look of bloodshot eyes. Store in an airtight container.

Yield:2 dozen

Ghoul Punch

12 gummy spiders

1 vinyl glove

1 gallon tropical fruit punch, chilled

2 liters lemon-lime soda, chilled

1 quart raspberry sherbet

Pour water into an ice cube tray; add a gummy spider to each of 12 compartments. Freeze for at least 4 hours. Fill glove with water; tie or seal and freeze for at least 4 hours.

In a 7-qt. punch bowl, combine punch and soda. Add sherbet and ice cubes. Remove glove from hand-shaped ice; add to punch. Serve immediately.Yield: 32 servings

Nora’s Note: Make sure the vinyl glove is not powder-lined.

Witches’ Brew Punch

1 package (6 ounces) orange gelatin

1/2 to 1 cup sugar

2 cups boiling water

1 can (46 ounces) apricot nectar

1 can (46 ounces) pineapple juice

3/4 cup lemon juice

4 liters ginger ale, chilled

In a large bowl, dissolve gelatin and sugar in water. Stir in the apricot nectar, pineapple juice and lemon juice. Freeze in two 2-quart freezer containers. Remove from the freezer 2-3 hours before serving. Place contents of one container in a punch bowl; mash with potato masher. Stir in ginger ale just before serving. Repeat.Yield: about 8 quarts.

Source for all recipes: www.tasteofhome.com

Nora Sweat, author of “Mama and Me,” is a native of Hardin County and a retired home economics/family and consumer science teacher. She can be reached at norasweat@thenewsenterprise.comor by mail at 408 W. Dixie Ave., Elizabethtown, KY 42701.