I know I've been baking up lots of maybe-not-so-good-for-you treats in the past weeks. So today, I'm going to give you a slightly healthier option with what I'm calling my fruit spookies.
These are great options for the kids' lunchbox or an after-school snack, or even a dessert that isn't PURE refined sugar. (I mean, it's fruit, so there's natural sugar, plus I added SOME refined sugar...um... Just, portion control, okay?)
I took inspiration for both these snacks in 2013 Taste of Home Special Editions Ultimate Halloween magazine. I didn't follow their recipe, but just did my take on it based on the pictures.
First, there's banana and strawberry ghouls:
Again, yes, I take my finished food outside to photograph it in natural light. What of it?
Here's how to do these.
1. Melt vanilla candy melts according to package directions. (You can use white chocolate chips with a little coconut oil or Crisco, too, if you prefer, but why make more steps?)
2. Cut a firm ripe banana in half. Dip into melted candy leaving the cut base exposed. Place on waxed paper-lined tray to set.
3. Remove stems from strawberries by slicing across so there is a flat bottom. Dip the pointy end into melted candy. Place flat end on waxed paper-lined tray to set. (The magazine dipped their strawberries into green melts, like I used for the green toes. However, I wasn't making a huge batch of these so I stuck with white because I was working with the full bag of white melts.)
4. Decorate faces. (For the bananas, I used a chocolate chip for the mouths and Wilton candy eyes as the eyes. For the strawberries, I used Wilton black decorating frosting. I bought mine at Target, but I buy my candy melts and specialty items at AC Moore.)
5. Insert a popsicle stick or a cardboard straw into the bottom of the fruit. Refrigerate or freeze until serving. (That's a preference thing depending on how firm you want your fruit when serving.)
Next, strawberry spiders!!! EEEEK.
These are a cinch. I put them in my kids' lunchboxes today as a surprise snack. Generally they don't like spiders, but I think for these they'll make an exception!
I made only 6 of these, but the recipe is easy to adapt according to how many you need/want.
For each spider, you'll need 4 thin pretzel sticks, half a strawberry (halved lengthwise), and two mini chocolate chips (for eyes).
A view of the legs and bodies before being joined as one!
Line up your pretzel sticks as I did in the photo. The smaller your berries, the closer to one another your sticks will need to be.
Melt a quarter cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the microwave for 30 seconds. Even if they still look formed, stir them up and they'll melt the rest of the way.
Dip the flat/cut side of the strawberry into the chocolate and place it onto the pretzel stick "legs." Press down firmly enough that the melty chocolate on the berry sticks to the pretzels.
Next, dip the flat side of the mini chips into the melted chocolate--a dab'll do ya, here; those suckers are small!--and place onto the pointy end of the strawberry as eyes. Refrigerate so the chocolate sets, at least 10 minutes.
My army of berry spiders.
Here's one on a cute pumpkin dish.
Pro-tip: If you have any leftover chocolate or candy melts, dip more pretzel sticks into them and decorate with your favorite holiday jimmies. (I had extra white melt too. I'll show you what I did with it in another post...)
No wasted chocolate here!
So there you have it. Fruit-based treats for your enjoyment. Tomorrow I'm cooking up another fruit-based treat...if you count pumpkin cookies as fruit, that is. Ha!
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Thanks to all for your thoughts.