How can it be Halloween it is still 85º outside? My brain is taking cues from the heat, as I am not ready at all. In fact, I am currently frantically searching Amazon Prime for costumes for my older daughter. (Thank goodness she can't quite read this yet to know that mommy is behind this year). This is VERY unlike me. As a family, we have embraced the holiday every year. Historically my husband and I have hosted a Halloween party and had our costumes planned and ready to go. This year, we-are-lagging.
Even though I may be behind on costumes and decorations, I still have the food part on lock down. I guess that is my job but I wouldn't have it any other way. Last year it was my goal to send healthy snacks to my daughter's preschool but still make it festive and fun. I have turned into my mother when it comes to this- the festive and fun part. I vividly remember sitting at the kitchen table late (very late) at night, wrapping crafts, snacks, or whatever treat we were bringing to school. Unlike my mom, I try to keep it simple so that executing these grand plans is a reality and my husband doesn't want to shoot me at the end of it. I'm still a work in progress.
Honestly though the ideas below are very executable. The witches' cauldrons are my favorite snack. It does require picking up the mini plastic cauldrons which I found at Party City. You can fill the bottom with ranch dressing or even hummus. For the Pretzel brooms, I cut the zip top off a snack bag and wrapped the filled bag around a pencil. The popcorn gloves is a favorite from my childhood. You can find the gloves at most drugstores. Don't forget to weigh down the fingers with the candy corn fingernails.
This year spiders have invaded our kitchen. I have decided to embrace it because one of Caroline's favorite songs is the Itsy Bitsy Spider. This is a great treat to make and serve on a platter but you can also wrap it in cellophane and tie it with festive ribbon to make little gifts to share. Making the candy bark spider web looks intimidating but I promise it is much easier than you think.
To make the spider web candy bark, mix the melted dark chocolate with a few tablespoons of vegetable shortening until it is smooth. Use the back of the spoon to spread into a 4 inch circle on a piece of wax paper. Put the paper on a plate so it is easy to transfer to the fridge. If you only have parchment paper, spray it with a light coat of cooking spray. I use freezer zip top bags for piping. Melt the white candy in directly into the bag to save yourself from cleaning a dish. Pipe concentric circle on top of the dark chocolate and use a toothpick to drag the white candy from the inside to the outer edge, making a spider web. You can do the same thing with cupcake frosting.
Now to make the spider. Marshmallows make a great body, any color candy coating will work well. I used purple but black with a red center would be fun. I used regular pretzels to make the legs because I wanted to capture the bend. You can use stick pretzels as well as breaking the large loops can be a little frustrating. Just prepare yourself for some trial and error. Once you get your snapping technique down it's easier to do. To give the spider some texture and added character I used Nerds candy sprinkled on top. Laying the legs on the dipped marshmallow requires a little patience. Dip one end in the melted candy coating to help it stick to the side of the body. Check out the full recipe below.
Spider Web Chocolate Bark
1 cup dark chocolate melting wafer
2 TB vegetable shortening
1/2 cup white candy melts
1 quart size freezer bag
In a microwave safe bowl, melt dark chocolate in 20 second increments, stirring between each time. Stir in vegetable shortening until it is melted and fully combined.
Pour the white melting candy in a quart size zip top freezer bag. Seal and place in microwave in 30 second increments until it is melted. Snip the corner of the bag to make a small opening.
Using the back of a spoon, spread the melted dark chocolate into a 4 inch circle. Pipe the melted white candy in a concentric circles starting from the inside working toward the outside edge. Before it has time to harden, use a tooth pick to pull the white chocolate from the inner most circle to the outside edge.
Place the spider webs in the fridge to set for a minimum of 10 minutes.
Purple Candy Melts
Nerds (tm) Candy
To make the spider legs, break the pretzels to preserve the large 2 loops. Each spider needs 8 legs.
In a small, shallow microwave safe bowl, melt the purple candy coating. Dip one of the larger sides of the marshmallow in the coating, making sure to get 1/2 way down the adjacent sides. Place the marshmallow on wax paper with the melted chocolate side up. Working quickly before the candy coat dries, place each of the legs on to the side of the spider. You can dip the end of each "leg" in the melted candy to make it easier to stick to the spider "body."
Add the candy eyes. To add a special touch sprinkle on candy Nerds on the body. Let the spiders set until the candy coating is hard.
Package the spider web and spiders together in cellophane of a sweet halloween treat.