The beauty of Halloween treats is that you don’t have to worry about making them pretty. In fact, the uglier they are, the better. And that was the inspiration for this baked treat.
The Bog Bars start as a basic blondie-like bar studded with dried cherries. Then you smear melted chocolate over the top and start dumping delicious things all over them.
The gummy worms and pretzels are a particularly nice touch, resembling the snakes and twigs one surely encounters during midnight swamp strolls.
• 500 ml (2 cups) dried cherries
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) apple or orange juice
• 175 ml (3/4 cup or 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 550 ml (2 1/4 cups) packed brown sugar
• 3 eggs
• 5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla extract
• 550 ml (2 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
• 7 ml (1 1/2 tsp) salt
• 16 chocolate sandwich cookies, broken into pieces
• 340 g (12 oz) milk chocolate bits
• 2 graham crackers, broken
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) mini marshmallows
• 125 ml (1/2 cup) broken pretzel sticks
• Handful gummy worms
• 2 green fruit roll-ups, torn into pieces
1. Coat a 33-x-23-cm (13-x9-inch) pan with cooking spray; set aside. In a microwave-safe dish, combine cherries and juice. Microwave on high until bubbling, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping bowl between additions. Stir in vanilla. Add flour and salt and mix just until combined. Drain reserved cherries, then add them and half of the broken chocolate cookies.
3. Spoon mixture into prepared pan and bake in 180 C (350 F) oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden and set.
4. While bars are still hot, sprinkle milk chocolate bits over surface. Let melt. Use back of a spoon to spread melted chocolate to cover the surface. Sprinkle with broken graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels, gummy worms, remaining chocolate cookies and pieces of fruit roll-ups. Let cool.
The only thing better than a witch’s cauldron on Halloween is a sweet witch’s cauldron that you can eat
Nothing says dessert like these chocolate and cherry filled mini cauldrons. Be sure to hit the bulk food store for some wacky Halloween candy to fill up this dessert. You’ll have kids big and small wanting to help “stir the pot”.
• 6 frozen patty shells (1 300-g pkg)
• 1 pkg (113 g) instant chocolate pudding mix
• 1 can (540 ml/19 oz) cherry pie filling (625 ml/2 1/2 cups)
• 6 black 12-cm (5-inch) licorice twists
• 6 thin pretzel sticks
• Gummies, including worms, brains and frogs
• 6 to 8 yogurt-coated almonds
• 10 chocolate sippers
• Mini candy-coated chocolates (separate red and orange)
• Cinnamon hearts
• Small amount vanilla frosting (for optional eyeball)
• Mini chocolate chips (for optional eyeball)
1. Prepare patty shells according to package directions. Set aside.
2. Fill each patty shell cauldron with chocolate pudding prepared as per serving directions and cherry pie filling.
3. To make the cauldron handle, take a length of black licorice twist and insert each end into the cauldron. Insert a pretzel for the cauldron spoon.
4. Add your choice of ghoulish worms, brains or any other Halloween candy. For optional eyeballs, plop one or two coated almonds in the cauldron, affixing a mini chocolate chip with frosting.
5. For the base, cut chocolate sippers into short lengths to resemble logs and arrange on a platter or plate. Add some red and orange mini candy-coated chocolates and/or cinnamon hearts to mimic burning embers.
6. Place completed cauldrons on top of the fire and present the devilishly delicious brew to young guests.
• Emily Richards is a professional home economist, cookbook author and a tv celebrity chef. For more, visit emilyrichardscooks.ca.
– With files from The Canadian Press/ Tenderflake/ The Associated Press