- Cullman, Alabama

October 30, 2013

SOUTHERN STYLE: Halloween treats

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— The night of ghosties and goblins is almost upon us. This year, delight your guests with some homemade treats and desserts that are fun to make and even more fun to eat!

Use your imagination to garnish and display your culinary creations. Stack cake plates three high and fill each layer with candy and cookies in fall colors.

Make this great pumpkin pound cake and fill the center with candy corn.

Mix candy corn with peanuts or the Sticks Mix below, and fill your pretty glass containers with it for an interesting centerpiece or mantle display.

Using Styrofoam shapes, stick in lollipops and suckers to form topiaries.


Pumpkin Pound Cake

1 c. brown sugar

1 1/4 c. granulated sugar

1 1/4 c. Crisco

4 eggs

16 oz. can pumpkin

3 c. sifted flour

1 T. salt

2 tsp. baking soda

3 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. ginger

1/2 c. chopped pecans

Combine sugars in a large bowl. Beat Crisco and eggs two minutes on medium speed. Add pumpkin. Sift together flour, salt, soda and spices. Gradually blend into creamed mixture. Beat two minutes at high speed. Stir in nuts. Pour into greased and floured 10-inch tube pans. Bake at 350º for 60-65 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes. Remove from pan.

Glaze: Blend 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. milk and one tsp. oil. Add a sprinkle of pumpkin spice. If needed, add more sugar to thicken or milk to thin for desired consistency. Spoon over cake.

Variation: If you really want to wow your guests, try this variation. Double recipe. Use two bundt cake pans. Bake as directed above. Let cakes cool until still warm, but cool enough to handle. Gently ease the first cake onto your cake plate, upside down, so that the larger, flat part of the cake is facing upward. Insert four wooden skewers to hold second cake in place. Place second cake directly above first cake and lower carefully onto top of first cake (the flat parts of each cake will fit together). Make sure to line up the fluted edges so that your cake will look like a pumpkin.

Frost with glaze above, or with orange frosting. Into the well in the center of the cakes, add candy corn to fill to top. For stem, use a broccoli stalk, cut to size. For leaves, use green cake decorator icing in a can with a nozzle, making vines as well as the leaves.

To make your cake look like a Jack O’Lantern, place cake into refrigerator to harden icing. Cut rectangles for eyes and nose from red or black Fruit Roll Ups. Cut mouth shape from Fruit Roll Ups.

Spooky Eyeballs

1 1/2 lbs. spaghetti squash

5 T. bottled ranch salad dressing

24 large cherry tomatoes

24 pimiento-stuffed olives

Cut squash in half, lengthwise; remove seeds. Place squash halves upside down in a baking dish. Bake in a 350º oven for 30-40 minutes, or until tender. Or place halves cut side down in a microwave-safe baking dish with 1/4 cup water. Microwave, covered on high, for 17 minutes or until tender, turning once.

Using a fork, scrape squash, making long shreds. You should have about 2 cups cooked squash. Place squash in a bowl; stir in salad dressing. Cut off tops of cherry tomatoes. Use a small spoon or mellon baller to hollow out each half. Fill centers with cooked spaghetti squash. Place a pimiento-stuffed olive in the center of the squash mixture in each tomato. Cover and chill up to 4 hours before serving. Makes 24 servings.

Spinal Cord Spirals

8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened

4 (8-inch) flour tortillas

2 c. spinach leaves or 4 leaf lettuce leaves

2 tomatoes, thinly sliced

6 oz. thinly sliced pepperoni or salami

8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese

Spread 3 tablespoons of cream cheese to within one inch of the edge of a tortilla. Layer with some of the spinach leaves, tomato slices, pepperoni and 1/2 cup of the cheese. Tightly roll up into a spiral. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

To serve, transfer to a cutting board. Slice off and discard the ends. Cut rolls into 1-inch slices. Secure with wooden toothpicks. Stack three of four spirals, slightly off center, to appear as a spinal column. Makes 24.

Bat Wings

20 chicken wings (3 1/2 pounds)

1/2 c. soy sauce

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger or 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

1 tsp. five spice powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 recipe Big Swamp

Place wings in a plastic bag set inside a shallow dish. In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, ginger, crushed red pepper, five spice powder and garlic. Pour over wings. Close bag and toss to coat. Chill in refrigerator several hours or overnight, turning bag occasionally. Remove wings from bag, reserving the marinade.

Place wings on a 15x10x1-inch baking pan, lined with parchment paper. Bake, uncovered, in a 450º oven for 10 minutes. Brush with reserved marinade (discard remaining marinade). Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until chicken is tender and no longer pink. Serve with Swamp Dip. Makes 20 appetizers.

Swamp Dip

In a small bowl stir together an 8-ounce container of dairy sour cream and 3 tablespoons course ground mustard. Garnish with fresh whole chives. Serve with Bat Wings.

Sticks Mix

Pretzel sticks

Sweetened, fruit flavored round multi-colored cereal

Chocolate-flavored puffed corn cereal

Cheese-flavored snacks

Orange and brown candy-coated milk chocolate pieces

Add all ingredients together. Stir gently to mix.

Place individual servings in cereal bowls or place mix in one large serving bowl. To serve Halloween style, place mix in a clean trick or treat pail or a seasonal candy dish, or tall clear glass container. This looks really festive!

Golden Beetle Juice Slush

46-oz. can apricot nectar

12-oz. can orange juice concentrate, thawed

2 16-oz. pkg. unsweetened sliced peaches, thawed

7 12-oz. cans lemon-lime carbonated beverage, chilled

In a food processor bowl or blender container, add one-third each of the apricot nectar, orange juice concentrate and sliced peaches. Cover and process or blend until smooth. Pour into a freezer container. Repeat with the remaining nectar, orange juice and peaches. Cover and seal mixture. Freeze until firm. Scrape about 1/2 cup of the mixture into each 10-ounce glass. Add an equal amount of carbonated beverage. Stir to combine. Makes 20 servings. Clean plastic novelty items such as spiders or mice make wonderful garnishes for this drink.


1 pkg. grape powdered fruit drink

1 pkg. orange powdered fruit drink

2 c. sugar, or to taste

3 qts. cold water

1 qt. ginger ale

Combine both powdered fruit drink flavors in a pitcher and make according to package directions. Add ginger ale and stir to mix. Pour into a punch bowl and serve over ice. This punch is as black as midnight and is frightfully delicious!