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Published: Sunday, 10/21/2001

Festive Halloween foods are fun to eat and make


When youngsters trick or treat on Halloween, their bags will be full of wrapped candies and snacks.

For the classic Halloween treats such as popcorn balls, caramel apples, doughnuts and apple cider, and festive cupcakes, you have to plan a classroom party, family gathering, or neighborhood event.

Not only is this the perfect time to introduce youngsters to these festive foods, adults will enjoy them just as much.

There's nothing like doughnuts and fresh cider on a crisp fall afternoon. That's the quick, easy, pull-it-out-of the-cupboard menu for spur-of-the-moment visits.

When you can plan ahead, those popcorn balls and caramel apples are crowd-pleasers.

To make popcorn balls, you'll need a candy thermometer. Keep the popped popcorn warm in a 200 degree oven while preparing the syrup. The sugar syrup is poured over popcorn to coat every kernel. Then, with buttered hands, shape the popcorn into balls and cooled on buttered foil or wax paper.

For caramel apples, insert a Popsicle stick into the base of a fresh apple. Dip the apple into melted caramel

and let sit on waxed paper for 15 minutes, or until caramel sets. Store in the refrigerator up to two days.

Orange-filled chocolate sandwich cookies, Halloween candies, and licorice make great decorations to top Halloween cakes and cupcakes.

Or, top the traditional cupcake with a candy ghost made from melting white morsel candies; on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper, spoon the melted morsels into ghost shapes. Use chocolate sprinkles for eyes and then refrigerate until firm. Peel the wax paper away from the candy and then stand one ghost in the center of each cupcake.

(To melt white chocolate in the microwave, place in a microwaveable bowl on the high power setting for two minutes, or until it's almost melted; stir halfway through the heating time.)

Ice cream treats are less often paired with Halloween, but they can be part of the festivities.

Make an edible character: For a witch, scoop ice cream onto a sheet of wax paper. Place a chocolate-dipped sugar cone on top of the ice cream scoop, and decorate the face with festive candies such as candy corn and black licorice. Return to the freezer until ready to serve.

For a black widow spider, scoop chocolate fudge ice cream onto waxed paper and decorate the face with chocolate chips. Cut black licorice pieces to create eight legs. Return to the freezer until ready to serve.

Some of the treats are even a good way to use up all the Halloween candy that is collected at your house.

Make a Candy Shop Pizza using a refrigerated chocolate chip cookie bar dough topped with chocolate morsels, chunky peanut butter and an assortment of candies. This dessert is great for any age.

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