Slimy and scary goodies are Halloween favorites

This photo  shows bright, colorful and jiggly Get Slimed Cupcakes, which will have all kinds of appeal with kids of all ages for  Halloween.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
This photo shows bright, colorful and jiggly Get Slimed Cupcakes, which will have all kinds of appeal with kids of all ages for Halloween. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

Don’t be afraid, some cupcakes can be made without recipes

Murky, dark and swampy isn’t a description often applied to good food. Except around Halloween, of course, when the swampier the better. And in her holiday specialty magazine, “Martha Stewart Halloween Spirited Celebrations,” Stewart delivers frights and flavor.

A duo of green glop actually is a pair of delicious dips – guacamole with black beans and a tomatillo salsa verde. To stick with the dark theme, serve them with blue tortilla chips.

If you’re looking for easy, no-recipe-needed Halloween treats, creeped out cupcakes are an eerily good choice. In one, a traditional frosted cupcake falls victim to a bat attack. In the other, they take a slimy, almost radioactive, turn.

Both ideas (instructions follow) are from Matthew Mead’s “Monster Book of Halloween,” which is jammed with numerous ghastly treats and decorations.

Guacamole with Black Beans

From “Martha Stewart Halloween Spirited Celebrations”

15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1/2 large white onion, finely chopped

1 teaspoon minced jalapeno pepper (seeds removed, if desired)

1 1/2 teaspoons minced chipotle in adobo

1 small clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (from 1 to 2 limes)

2 avocados, pitted and peeled

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

In a medium bowl, combine the beans, salt, onion, jalapeno, chipotle, garlic and lime. Mash the avocados, then stir them into bean mixture along with the cilantro. Serve immediately, with chips.

Yield: 3 cups

Tomatillo Salsa Verde

From “Martha Stewart Halloween Spirited Celebrations”

1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed well and dried

1/2 large white onion, peeled and sliced

1 jalapeno pepper, halved lengthwise (half seeded)

2 garlic cloves (not peeled)

1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro

1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt

Blue corn tortilla chips, for serving

Heat the broiler.

On a rimmed baking sheet, combine the tomatillos, onion slices, jalapeno and garlic cloves. Broil until blackened, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove and discard the garlic peels.

Transfer the broiled ingredients to a food processor, and process until smooth and combined. Add the cilantro and salt, then pulse until blended. The salsa can be refrigerated up to 1 day in an airtight container. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yield: 1 1/2 cups

Vampire Cupcakes

Adapted from Matthew Mead’s “Monster Book of Halloween” (Time Inc., 2009)

Bake up a batch of your favorite cupcake recipe or prepare a boxed mix according to package directions. Alternatively, most bakeries (even those in grocers) will sell unfrosted cupcakes if asked in case you want to do only the fun part — the decorating.

Once the cupcakes have cooled, frost them with white cake frosting.

Use black gel icing (the sort sold in tubes in the baking aisle) to draw a bat on top of each cupcake. If you need help with this, a template can be downloaded from Mead’s Web site at http://tinyurl.com/ yeboobr. Cut out the template and use it as a stencil.

Use a toothpick to make 2 holes (bite marks) near each bat, then drizzle red gel icing into each.

Get Slimed Cupcakes

Adapted from Matthew Mead’s “Monster Book of Halloween” (Time Inc., 2009)

Prepare 2 packages of Jell-O gelatin (any variety, though green and yellow are good) according to the package directions for Jigglers (2 packages plus 2 cups boiling water). Divide the liquid between 6 flexible silicone baking cups.

Divide the remaining liquid between 6 round-bottomed teacups (this creates a domed top for each cupcake), filling each about 1/2 inch. Refrigerate everything for 4 hours, or until set.

To remove the gelatin from the cups, set the base of each in a bowl of warm water for about 10 seconds. Overturn the cups and gently pry out the cupcakes and dome tops. Invert a dome onto each cupcake, then decorate with gummy worms.

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