It's easy to get caught up in the all those cutesy snacks you see flooding your Pinterest feed. At first, you tell yourself you'd never have time for such a thing — but as they scroll by, one after another, you start to think, "Sure, I could totally make that." Next thing you know, you're running to the store for unnaturally colored icing and googly eyes. It's okay — it happens to the best of us.
This year we decided to give some of those "easy" Halloween projects from Pinterest a try. Here's the full scoop — the ones that failed, the ones that were surprising wins, and everything in between.
1. Frankenstein Cupcakes
These Frankenstein cupcakes from Your Cup of Cake were too cute to pass up. They gave me the same reaction I have to small furry animals (I coo at the computer screen and hope no one hears me).
Testing Notes: Because I was purchasing store-bought eyeballs for another recipe, I grabbed a package of large eyeballs for these monsters instead of making my own from M&M's, as the recipe recommended. It was a quick time-saver, but my attempt to use a green store-bought frosting didn't end up going quite so well. The icing was too soft to really be mounded as high as it needed to be. It was fine (if you're cool with monster Muppets), but not the same superstar quality that Your Cup of Cake turned out!
2. Edible Worms
These edible worms found over on Instructables are the true spirit of edible Halloween treats — they're creepy and cool, are relatively simple (you pour gelatin into straws to mold it), fun to make, and perfect to adorn a party table. That said, they involve tools. No, really — like from the garage.
Testing Notes: The recipe over on Instructables isn't 100 percent clear on how much unflavored gelatin to use. After reading through all the comments (you're welcome in advance), I discerned that one should use all four pouches that come inside a box of Knox gelatin. It made great worms — but they didn't taste super awesome. If I were to do this again, I'd use less cream and add in a fruit juice for a little extra flavor.
In addition, the removal process from the straws isn't for the faint at heart. It was a task that was delegated to my husband, as it necessitated the use of needle-nose pliers. He held onto one end of the straw with the pliers while running it under hot water, and then he ran his fingers down the straw to expel each worm. A hundred worms (as pictured above) took roughly 40 minutes to free from their molds. They're perfect to deck out a table, but if your plan is to make a large bowl for your potluck dinner, you might want to think twice.
3. Halloween Jalapeño Popper Mummies
These Halloweeno Jalapeño Popper Mummies from The Hopeless Housewife are the cutest thing this side of Roomba-riding cats, as far as I'm concerned.
Testing Notes: The ingredient list for these little bundles of deliciousness is easy, and the filling comes together quickly. The only thing that requires a small amount of patience is wrapping each one with the crescent roll dough. To make this go a little smoother, I'd suggest putting your dough in the coldest part of your refrigerator, so the dough is easier to cut into strips. It will help so very much!
I was able to make these ahead of time, and reheated them the next day in a 200°F oven for 15 minutes. If you do this, wait to add the eyeballs until you reheat the poppers; during their time in the chill chest, the eyeballs bled a bit, and although still adorable, aren't as cute as the original.
4. Silly Apple Bites
These Silly Apple Bites from Fork & Beans caught my attention, as they're allergy-friendly for folks who can't do nuts and aren't laced with the usual 900 pounds of sugar like most Halloween snacks. They'd be perfect to take to a school party and came together nicely while watching an episode of "Project Runway" (thank you, Hulu).
Testing Notes: These came together relatively problem-free, but I would suggest watching the angle in which you cut the top of the mouth, since this will determine how your teeth sit. Also, if making ahead of time for a party the next day, wait to add the strawberry tongues until before serving (or the morning of), so they don't dry out. For my version above, I used pre-made eyeballs, but you're welcome to make your own vegan eyeballs according to the recipe.
5. Witchy Finger Cookies
Witchy Finger Cookies from Domestic Sugar are a Pinterest staple at this point in time, but there are many variables that can alter your outcome!
Testing Notes: These cookies won the seal of approval from all the neighbors and friends who happened to show up during the process of their making and photographing. I used a pre-made dough, and worked in the suggested one cup of additional flour. To make sure the nails stuck on, I just dipped them in water and pressed them on (instead of pressing them into the dough of each finger). They stuck like champions with the extra flour in the mix!
I'm not sure I'd use my own dough for this recipe, unless I was testing it out before; you'd probably want to make some adjustments. Also, if you'd like softer-looking finger cookies, smooth down the edges with a wet finger before baking!
6. Dracula's Dentures
OK, so I have a confession to make: I thought these Dracula's Dentures from The Girl Who Ate Everything were going to be complicated and frustrating — and that turned out to be all wrong. I'll be making them every year from here on out, but here are a few tips for your attempt!
Testing Notes: These cookies come together in a flash. They're great with all pre-made, store-bought ingredients, or you can go to town and make your own homemade frosting and homemade cookies. They're versatile and easy to do. The only real trick is to keep that icing off your fingers, and thus off the white marshmallows. Don't forget the extra marshmallow that sits behind the teeth to support the top cookie.
They transport well and are easy to make ahead, so what are you waiting for?
7. Owl S'mores
These adorable little Owl S'mores from Living Lucurto have made the rounds on the Internet for sure, but no one is making them the same way, and here's why.
Testing Notes: The recipe seems simple enough to follow: You put a chocolate chip on a candy melt and put both on top of a marshmallow, and then microwave them. What the recipe doesn't say is that you'll have to microwave the chocolate chip and candy melt together first, and then add them to the marshmallow, and then microwave a second time. It's the only way things will stick together. Promise. I microwaved my eyeballs for 20 to 30 seconds, depending on the plate I was using and how many I was making on said plate. Find the magic number and you'll be an owl-making machine.
Plan on there being extras, and buy more than you need! Once made (and removed from their plate so the back of the marshmallow that sticks can get unstuck), they'll keep and travel well for one day. I dusted the back of my eyes with powdered sugar to keep them from sticking.
And there you have it: Halloween treats tried and tested by a real life cook. Do you have anything ambitious on your Halloween plan for this year?