by Jolene Adams, Culinary Institute Coordinator, Lincoln Land Community College
Halloween is my favorite holiday. It was a childhood love which I never outgrew. I still adore the creative costumes, spooky decorations, eating the sweet treats and observing the giddy excitement of children. As a child I also took delight in baking. Every autumn as the weather turned cooler, it became time to bake with my mother. Barely tall enough to reach the counter top, I would stand on a stepstool to measure and mix ingredients, roll out dough and decorate cookies. Over the years, I fused my passion for baking, love of Halloween and cherished childhood memories into some amazing treats that are both fun and easy for anyone to make. Invite your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews into the kitchen to encourage creativity, build a strong bond, and inspire a future baker.
Makes 2 dozen 3 inch cookies
Consisting of only three ingredients, Nutella cookies are so simple to make. The natural dark brown, almost black, color of the dough is perfect for spooky bats, cats and spiders.
1 cup Nutella
1 cup flour
Blend Nutella and egg in bowl. Add flour and mix just until it forms a dough. Roll out to ¼ inch thickness. Cut out desired shape. These cookies can also be scooped out and dropped onto cookie sheet. Place cookies on parchment-lined cookie sheet and bake in 350 degree oven for seven to eight minutes.
Makes 2 ½ cups of icing
2 jars Nutella
2 pounds powdered sugar
Water or milk as needed
Blend Nutella with powdered sugar in mixer and add water or milk to desired consistency.
Chocolate Truffle Spiders
Makes 30-40 chocolate truffles.
Truffles are fancy yet easy to make. With the addition of pretzel sticks, they transform into decadent spiders for Halloween. These hand-rolled treats are a delicious way for children to get messy in the kitchen.
8 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (high quality, 62% cacao or higher), well chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Small pretzel sticks or licorice ropes
Mint leaves (1 bunch, stems removed, chopped, about 1 cup)
Cinnamon (1 cinnamon stick)
Raspberry, strawberry, any flavor extract (1 teaspoon)
Crushed corn flakes
In a small, heavy saucepan bring the heavy whipping cream to a simmer. (This may take a while; be sure to stir and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula every few minutes).
If you are using one of the other recommended flavorings, stir it in with the cream (and ignore vanilla in the next step). If adding mint or other solids, after the cream simmers, remove from heat and let seep for an hour. Then strain away solids, and return the cream to a simmer and proceed with recipe.
Place the chocolate in a separate bowl. Pour the cream over the chocolate, add the vanilla and allow to stand for a few minutes, then stir until smooth. (This chocolate base is called ganache.)
Allow to cool, then place in the refrigerator for two hours. Remove, and with a teaspoon roll out balls of the ganache. Roll in your hands quickly (as it will melt from the heat of your hands) and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator overnight.
Roll in cocoa powder, insert pretzel or licorice legs and serve, or place back in the refrigerator until needed.
Ghost and Eyeball Cake Pops
Makes 24 cake pops
Cake pops are fun and easy to make. They can be decorated numerous ways. By simply dipping pops in white chocolate, they can be transformed into ghosts and eyeballs. Substitute chocolate dark or milk chocolate for the white, to make spiders or bats. Add licorice legs for spiders, small Nutella cookies in the shape of bat wings, or any number of creative ideas your children can come up with. Candy corn can be used as crazy hair for a weird monster pop. The possibilities are endless.
1 box cake mix (any flavor)
1 can icing (any flavor)
1 bag 12oz bag chocolate chips
2 tablespoons shortening
2 dozen lollipop sticks
Assorted sprinkles, candy or nuts (optional)
Bake cake according to directions. Cool and crumble into a large bowl. Stir in icing and mix together until a moist consistency and cake holds together when formed into a ball. Shape cake into small quarter size balls and place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. Place in freezer.
Meanwhile, melt chocolate and shortening in a double boiler over low heat. Dip one end of the stick in the chocolate and poke into the cake ball, taking care not to poke it all the way through.
Place back in freezer a few minutes to set up. Once sticks have hardened into place, dip entire cake ball into chocolate, letting excess chocolate drip off. Place upright in Styrofoam to dry.
Once dry, decorate with icing to make a ghost face, or draw eyeballs using green for a green circle, black for the center of the eye, and red veins for a scary effect.
Hopefully you and your children have as much fun as I did, and still do, using imagination and creativity in the kitchen. With Halloween as inspiration, “scare” up a few ingredients, summon the “spirits” of creativity and have a “spooktacular” fun time baking these festive treats.
Lincoln Land Community College offers credit programs in Culinary Arts, Hospitality Management, Baking/Pastry, and Value Added Local Food, and non-credit cooking and food classes through our Community Education Culinary Institute.
Cooking or food questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org