Halloween has always been one of my favourite times of year, and as my children grow older, trick or treating may be off the cards, but we continue to embrace everything else it entails: the spooky movies, the decorations and, most of all, the delicious treats.
As holidays go, it’s one of the more manageable ones to cater for as there are no set rules or expectations. A pot of soup and a few ghoulish-looking treats will happily feed a crowd with ease.
There are some fantastic Irish foods currently in season, such as leeks, cabbage, parsnips, spinach, squashes, and pumpkins, and a Halloween feast is the perfect time to put them to good use.
Pumpkins are especially versatile, and when simply roasted their flesh can be used for soups, chopped up and added to warm salads, and they’re even delicious in cakes when you sub out carrots for puréed pumpkins in your favourite carrot cake recipe.
When celebrating Halloween, with a little imagination and not too much effort, most of our everyday dishes and treats can be transformed into something scary with the addition of raisins or chocolate chips for eyes, or little candy eyes if you can find them, plus a drizzle of something red and edible to resemble blood. Chocolate or toffee apples are always a firm favourite with children, and for a healthier option, slices of bananas or chopped grapes can be coated in yogurt and set in the freezer.
Both recipes I’m sharing are snacks you could enjoy anytime of the year but with the addition of some Halloween wizardry, they’re perfectly placed on your Halloween treat table. Making even the simplest of Halloween treats can be a lot of fun while creating some wonderful memories.
Bat Energy Bites
These chocolate orange-flavoured energy bites are the perfect pick-me-up for any witches or ghouls.
50g raw almonds
4 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp cacao powder
Zest of 1 orange
200g milk or dark chocolate, melted
6 Oreo biscuits
Candy eyes or chocolate chips
1 Add the oats to a high-powered blender and blitz until fine.
2 Add the dates, almonds, milk, peanut butter, cacao, and orange zest. Blitz for about 30 seconds, until fully combined.
3 Taking a little scoop of the dough, roll into a ball and place on a greaseproof paper-lined tray.
Repeat with the remaining mixture, making about 24 balls. Pop in the fridge for 30 minutes.
4 Prepare the ‘bat wings’ by separating the Oreos in half, remove the filling and then break into four pieces.
5 Take the balls from the fridge and press the broken Oreo pieces into the balls to make the wings.
6 Dip into the melted chocolate and press the candy eyes into place.
7 Leave to set and store in the fridge until ready to serve.
8 They will keep well in the fridge for at least three days.
Peanutty Apple Mummies
These caramel apple mummies are especially well portioned for little ones, as they are made with slices of apple, in place of full apples. For a nut-free version, tahini can be used in place of the peanut butter.
75g peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
150g white chocolate, melted
1 Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Slice the apples, making four slices per apple, avoiding the core. Pat the slices dry with kitchen paper.
2 At the bottom of each slice, using a sharp knife, make a small slit and insert a lollipop stick.
3 In a small bowl mix to combine the peanut butter, maple syrup and coconut oil. Dip each slice into the mix and place on the greaseproof paper-lined tray.
4 Cover each slice with a good amount of melted white chocolate and using a spoon drizzle the last little amount to resemble a ‘mummy’. Place two candy eyes onto each slice.
5 Place the tray into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to harden.
6 These peanutty apple mummies are best eaten on the day they are made.