Frightfully Fun Snacks

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Story and Photos By Amanda Causey Baity

Halloween cupcakes

October is the perfect time to create snacks from seasonal items and celebrate Halloween. As I’ve said before, my children love Halloween, and I am happy to offer you these kid-friendly fun recipes.

Owl Pretzel Snacks

These chocolate-covered pretzel twists can be left to the last minute without worry. A variety of designs can be haunting your kitchen in very little time. Or if you are a planner, Halloween pretzels can be made a week or so in advance so that you can focus on last-minute details the day of your event.

Each owl is made with one pretzel twist, two candy eyes, one candy-coated sunflower seed and chocolate melting chips. For 18 owls, I used one cup of melted chocolate for dipping plus ½ cup in a plastic bag for piping.

Ingredients:

  • Candy-coated sunflower seeds
  • Chocolate melting chips
  • Pretzel twists

Directions:

Follow instructions for your melting chips (or squares) and melt them into a bowl.

Use a fork to dip the pretzels into a small bowl of melted chocolate. Tap excess chocolate back into the bowl and place the coated pretzel on a wax paper lined tray. After coating six pretzels, put the tray into the refrigerator to set the chocolate for about five minutes. Continue until the desired number of pretzels have been dipped.

With the coated pretzels on a wax paper lined tray, use a disposable piping bag filled with ½ cup of melted chocolate (or a plastic bag with a tiny bit of one bottom corner cut off) to fill in the eye holes and to pipe dots for the ears and nose.

Add the chocolate chip ears, candy eyes and sunflower seed beak. Return the tray to the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.

Vampire Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • Sprite (or other clear soda)
  • Ice
  • Liquid cherry Kool-Aid
  • Vampire teeth

Directions:

These directions are simple. Pour your soda into a cup with lots of ice. (The ice helps the Kool-Aid not disperse quickly). Near the edge of the cup, put a few drops of Kool-Aid into the soda and place your vampire teeth inside. Simple and spooky as that!

dried pumpkin seeds isolated on white

Pumpkin Seeds

Making your own pumpkin seeds is really easy, but there are two steps that are most important:

  1. Clean your pumpkin seeds well: You really want to wash them well and discard any and all pumpkin fibers. Over the years, I’ve had a time or two when I didn’t clean the seeds well enough and they really don’t turn out as well. So grab your colander, clean them, and then clean them again.
  2. Keep a watch on them while they are baking. I’m really bad at getting sidetracked, so I set my kitchen timer for 10 minutes. This way it will alert me, and I can go in and move the pumpkin seeds around on the baking sheet. I repeat this every 10 minutes until they are done. I’m very serious about using the timer. There have been times when I didn’t do it, and sure enough, I let the seeds burn.

Ingredients:

  • Seeds from 2 large pumpkins
  • ½ teaspoon seasoned salt
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • Dash of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Scrape out and remove seeds from your two pumpkins. Wash and clean your seeds from your pumpkins, making sure you remove any unwanted pumpkin rinds or deformed seeds. Wash in a colander and once again remove any unwanted items.

Soak the clean seeds in a bowl full of water for 30 minutes on the kitchen counter or overnight in the refrigerator. Drain the seeds, discarding the water.

Fill a pot with water and a dash of salt (enough water so that it will cover the seeds). Bring the water to a boil. Place seeds into the boiling water and boil gently for about 10 minutes. This helps cook the insides of your pumpkin seeds, so when you go to roast them, you will get perfect pumpkin seed crunch by ensuring the insides are cooked.

Turn off the heat, drain the seeds, and place them back into your empty bowl. Toss seeds with olive oil. Lay a thin layer of seeds onto a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place in oven and move and turn the seeds over about every 10 minutes, making sure they are not burning. Seeds are done after about 40 minutes or when they become firmer and are no longer soft. You do not want dark spots on your seeds; you want them to be a darker yellow. Season with additional salt if desired. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Place into a clean mason jar. Enjoy!

If you are new to roasting pumpkin seeds, you might be wondering just how to eat them. If they are nicely roasted, I like to eat them whole as does most of my family. You can also eat them how you would eat a sunflower seed, by cracking the shell open slightly with your teeth, eating the seed, and discarding the shell.

Amanda Causey Baity (abaity@princewilliamliving.com) is Prince William Living’s director of operations and photo editor. You can find her recipes, crafts and more at vandorenfarm.com.

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