I love to cook before live audiences. So when the Kinderhook Garden Club asked me to demonstrate some “spooktacular” snacks for their monthly meeting at the McNary Center yesterday, how could I refuse? I made Spider Bites, Halloweenies, Autumn Corn Muffins, and Dracula’s Bloody Punch. And here, just for you, are the not-too-spooky how-tos:
Spider Bites (pictured up top) might look creepy, but they are absolutely delicious. Here’s the step-by-step:
To start, grab some garlic-and-herb pub cheese (or use any spreadable cheese)…
And mound it, with the help of a small cookie scoop, onto large, round crackers. I used Breton crackers for my Spider Bites.
Oh. If you don’t have a small cookie-dough scoop, get thee one.
Next, take some extra-large, black pitted olives, and cut one of ’em lengthwise in half.
Place the olive half on top of the cheese — it’s the “body” of the spider.
Cut the other half crosswise into 6 strips. These are the legs.
“But Kevin,” you say, “spiders have 8 legs!”
Okay. So these ain’t exactly arachnids. But insects do have 6 legs. All insects. So feel free to call these snacks “Insect Bites” instead of “Spider Bites.” Or — here’s another idea — call them “Beetle Bites!”
Arrange the olive legs on either side of the olive body, as shown. The cheese will hold the legs in place.
Repeat the proceeding steps until you run out of cheese, or energy, or both.
For an extra-creepy effect, arrange the snacks on a cheesecloth-lined platter (you’ll see my black platter in the next recipe)…
And “garnish” the cheesecloth with very real-looking fake arachnids! You can find these creepy-crawlies at any Halloween-supply store.
Next up: Halloweenies! These mummy-like hot dogs are the oldest gag in the book. All you need are wieners, crescent roll dough, and a bit of mustard.
Grab 10 wieners, and blot them dry with paper towels.
Then open a package of crescent roll dough.
Unfold the dough, and separate it into 4 rectangles.
Pinch the perforated triangles together.
Using a pastry cutter or a sharp knife, cut the rectangles into thin strips — about 1/16th-to 1/8-inch-wide.
Wrap the pastry strips around the wieners, leaving a small gap for the mustard “eyes.”
Place the mummies on a parchment-lined baking sheet…
And bake them off until the pastry browns lightly — about 12 minutes.
With the help of a toothpick or a chopstick, paint two eyes on each weenie.
Now fetch a serving platter…
Line it with a piece of cheesecloth…
And arrange the yummy mummies around a shot glass of ketchup! Add plastic spiders as necessary.
For Tuesday’s live-before-an-audience presentation, I also made my super-duper Autumn Corn Muffins. They’re not scary. They’re just…incredibly delicious. Here’s the step-by-step recipe.
Of course, no Halloween gathering can be complete without a spooky beverage! For this, I made “Dracula’s Bloody Punch.”
Fill a clear glass pitcher (or a hollowed out pumpkin) 1/3 full with pure pomegranate juice.
Add 1 bottle of Prosecco…
And serve in champagne flutes.
The Spider Bites, Halloweenies, Autumn Corn Muffins, and Dracula’s Bloody Punch were polished off by the lovely ladies of the Kinderhook Garden Club in no time at all. You might enjoy these same snacks and beverage, too. So do me proud, and try ’em out on the ghouls and goblins in your life!
Love ya — (and BOO!)