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Impress your Halloween party guests with these treats

For the average college student, Halloween conjures up images of delicious candy, elaborate costumes and – shall we say, interesting – parties. One does not typically think of the variety of baked goods created specifically for this wonderful day.

Just because college students are forced to deal with cramped kitchens and limited supplies does not mean that they cannot create tasty treats specifically for their Halloween events.

For those lacking skills in the kitchen, cooking a simple sugar cookie with a Halloween twist is an easy way to add a bit of ghastly horror to a yummy treat.

 Recipe: Finger Cookies

Makes several dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • Sugar cookie mix
  • Raspberry jam (strawberry is also acceptable)
  • A cup of sliced almonds

Utensils:

  • Fork
  • Tablespoon
  • Cookie sheet

Preparation:

  1. Follow directions for sugar cookie mix, or make your own dough.
  2. Separate into small, 2-in wide balls on cookie sheet. Shape balls into cylindrical, finger-shaped pieces. Be sure to make the middle of the piece lumpy on the top (this will be the joint)
  3. Using a fork, make lines in the dough at the “joint,” perpendicular to the length of the dough.
  4. Make an indentation using your thumb at one end of the cookie.
  5. Place a sliced almond in indentation, pressing firmly to keep it in place.
  6. Cook the cookies following the directions on the package.
  7. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes.
  8. Spoon the jam into the indentation on the cookie and in patterns mimicking blood on the finger.

My mother and I make “Finger Cookies” every year for Halloween. Based on jam-filled sugar cookies, “Finger Cookies” use raspberry jam, sliced almonds, and a bit of decoration to look like a severed, bloody finger straight out of a horror movie. The cookies are both quick (it takes 15 minutes or less to prepare) and easy to make (all it needs is a few ingredients). In addition, the small shape and size make them ideal as – no pun intended – finger foods at parties.

Do severed fingers not sound appetizing? Or maybe you’re allergic to almonds? Fear not. This next original treat is undeniably tempting for all.

“Humans vs. Zombies” players and cursers alike, put your leftover, unopened bags of marshmallows to good use by making Nora Drapalski’s original “Snap, Crackle, Jack-O’-Lantern?!” treat. A combination of the oh-so-delicious Rice Krispie Treat and a pinch of chocolate and candy corn (you’re just dying to know the recipe now, aren’t you?). “Snap, Crackle, Jack-O’-Lantern?!” is a handy, bite-sized treat perfect for the wannabe baker.

 Recipe: Snap, Crackle, Jack-O’-Lantern?!

Makes 8 Jack-O- Lanterns

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 bag mini marshmallows
  • Orange food coloring
  • 3-4 cups Rice Krispie cereal
  • A handful of chocolate chips
  • A handful of candy corn

Utensils:

  • 1 large pot
  • Large spoon
  • Wax paper

Preparation:

  1. In large pot, melt margarine over medium heat.
  2. Stir in marshmallows. Stir until completely melted. Reduce heat.
  3. Add 2-3 drops of food coloring and stir until marshmallow is orange.
  4. Add Rice Krispies a cup at a time, stirring until all are coated.
  5. Place a large spoonful onto wax paper. Form into hollowed circular sphere (in the shape of a pumpkin).
  6. Make a hole in the side of the treat in the shape of a mouth.
  7. While the marshmallow is still sticky, place a candy corn in the middle of the bottom of the pumpkin (it should resemble a candle).
  8. Press three chocolate chips into the same side of the treat as the mouth, to resemble two triangular eyes and a nose.

The key to this recipe is speed, since the treat needs to be shaped before the marshmallow cools and hardens. It is advised that multiple people are included in the preparation of this dessert, with one individual spooning out the rice krispies, another shaping them and another decorating the treat.

While the “Snap, Crackle, Jack-O’-Lanterns?!” may take a bit longer to prepare, and cleaning out the sticky pot is no easy task either, they add a cute touch to a generally horrifying holiday. And you might also find that the time spent preparing the treat with friends is just as enjoyable as eating it after.

So when the time comes this Saturday night and you are debating what to serve to your friends, consider these yummy alternatives to typical party food. Your guests will be impressed by your creativity, and the themed treats will add to the festive atmosphere. After all, what kind of Halloween party is it if guests can’t bite into severed fingers and Jack-O’-Lanterns?

Nora Drapalski can be reached at ndrapals@student.umass.edu

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