Handmade sweets make Halloween more fun

by April Lisante
Posted 10/27/21

Every single year when Halloween rolls around, my daughter says the same thing. “Mom, be the cool house on the block, give away whole Hershey bars or something.”

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Handmade sweets make Halloween more fun


Every single year when Halloween rolls around, my daughter says the same thing.

“Mom, be the cool house on the block, give away whole Hershey bars or something.”

Last year, when Halloween was kind of a pandemic bust, I laid out “goodies” on a folding table in front of the house near the curb. Even the sight of it was kind of sad. By the end of the night, there were a lot of leftovers. I guess she was right. The mini pretzel bags weren’t a hit.

This year, Halloween is back in a big way. When Dr. Fauci says game on, you know it’s street legal to go all-out on the festivities.

But what if I want to do something extra special this year, something even better – gasp -- than whole Hershey bars?

I think for a lot of us, this annual spooky holiday will be the kick-off to a more relaxed, back-to-normal holiday season, and I’ve heard many neighborhoods are having Halloween parties on their streets. So I went in search of ways to make the goodie-making more fun for kids this year.

My first thought was to find someone locally who knows a thing or two about handmade treats. I landed squarely with Mary Ellen Salamone of Made By Me Chocolates, at the Market at the Fareway here on the Hill.

Salamone makes all kinds of sweets  – her chocolate bark is a local favorite – but I asked her to come up with some ideas for Halloween treats you can make with the kids at home, or even bring to a neighborhood get-together.

If you are headed to the neighborhood party, it is suggested items be individually bagged or placed in muffin cups for a grab-and-go presentation.

The first thing to do is shop for some of the staples. Your toolkit for the creepy creations should include thick pretzel sticks and rods, chocolate bark or bars, Dunkin Donuts Munchkins, lollipop sticks, candy eyeballs, green and red food coloring, and meltable white and dark chocolate. Once you have the tools assembled, you can make several different fun desserts.

Salamone always offers a selection of handmade holiday goodies at her shop in the Market at the Fareway at 8221 Germantown Ave. Last year, her spiders were a big hit (see below). Here are some other suggestions she had if you feel like making some memorable edibles.

  • Take a Munchkin, place a lollipop stick in the bottom, dip it in melted dark chocolate, and place eyeballs on the creepy “head” while the chocolate is still warm.
  • Dip pretzel rods in white chocolate that’s been dyed green, then add a sliced almond to the end of it to make a “finger.” You can even add red food coloring to make it bloody.
  • Use chocolate bark or bars as templates to attach candy eyeballs, or dollop melted white chocolate on the bars, then use a toothpick to drag the white chocolate from the center outward in four directions to make a spider web on top.

“You can lay down dark chocolate and take dots of [melted] white chocolate and take a toothpick and drag it through. Or do a white chocolate spiral [piped from a Ziploc baggie] and drag a toothpick from the center four ways,” Salamone said.

  • Make spiders using a soft caramel square or a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup as the body, then attach pretzel sticks to make eight legs and dip it in melted dark chocolate. Adding candy eyes will only make this cuter.
  • Make a batch of Rice Krispies Treats and roll the gooey treats while warm into small balls, then take a straw and make crevices in the ball. Finally add red food coloring and you have edible “brains.” “You can even add worms to the top as well,” Salamone said. You can also mold the treats into a large tray, then use cookie cutters to cut out bats, coffins, or any other spooky shapes.

One of the most important things to remember if you are going to hand out the treats to trick-or-treaters or bring them along to a party is to package each treat along with a label that lists all of the ingredients, or the address where the treats were made.

“That way, if anybody has any questions, they can know where they were made,” Salamone said.

For a look at Salamone’s creations, go to www.pastriesbyme.com.