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Good and gruesome: Halloween feast can be enjoyed by all ages

A platter of ribs and “guts” is fun and delicious for all ages. (Grand Forks Herald photo by Jessica Karley Rerick) 1 / 3
A platter of ribs and “guts” is fun and delicious for all ages. (Grand Forks Herald photo by Jessica Karley Rerick) 2 / 3
Babybel cheese get an eye-catching makeover for Halloween. (Grand Forks Herald photo by Jessica Karley Rerick) 3 / 3

Counting down the days to Halloween, I knew I had to get cracking on planning our themed treats and dinner.

While I usually have a good time getting the Halloween menu put together, I think this year was a little different. The children are a bit older, so I could take our Halloween food items from cute to spooky.

The key to making most Halloween treats isn't really the recipes themselves, but rather the assembly of them. You can make Halloween dinners a little creepier and treats more frightful by simply adding a few decorations — such as a couple drops of food coloring or a few clever cuts.

I started the evening off with a plate full of eyeballs. The kids loved the idea of eating eyeballs for dinner. To make them, I used Babybel cheese, a red food coloring pen and sliced black olives. If you can't find a food coloring pen, you can use food color gel and make the red eye marks by dipping a toothpick into the gel and writing on the unwrapped cheese.

For the main course, I served a platter of ribs and sausages.

To make this a meal fit for our theme, I placed a plastic skull from the dollar store at the top of the platter. The ribs were placed below the skull, so they lined up as if they were human ribs. Barbecued sausages filled out the gruesome dish as intestines — or "guts" as the boys called them.

I served bloody candied apples for dessert. The apples, by far, received the most comments. This could be for two reasons: First, they were the most eye-catching. Second, they were dessert, and for 75 percent of our dinner guests, that's the most important part of the meal.

The apples get their appeal from the "blood" caramel that oozes down the sides of white chocolate-covered apples. They are as beautiful as they are delicious.

The meal was a huge success. Whether you make these dishes ahead or save them for a special treat before heading to a costume party or trick-or-treating, they're sure to appeal to all ages.

Bloody Candied Apples

8 gala apples (or any red crisp apple) — washed and dried completely

3 cups white chocolate candy melts

2 cups white sugar

½ cup water

1 tablespoon red food coloring

8 popsicle sticks or twigs

Directions:

• Remove the stems from the apples and skewer with lollipop sticks.

• In the microwave, melt white chocolate on defrost setting for 1 minute. Stir. Heat for an additional 30 seconds if needed.

• Spoon the white chocolate over the apples and let the excess drip off.

• Allow apples to rest on parchment or wax paper-lined cookie sheet.

• While the chocolate is setting, place the sugar and water into a small saucepan. Heat over low heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn heat to medium and let the mixture boil until it turns a light golden brown.

• Remove from heat and stir in red food coloring.

• Spoon the caramel over your apples and let it drip down the side for a blood-like effect.

• Let the apples cool and caramel set before serving.

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