Bats, out of the belfry and onto the table

By Bill Colvard -
A selection of tasty bats with a few monsters on the side celebrate the season. If you’re looking for a healthy-ish Halloween snack for the wee ones, go with apple monsters. - Bill Colvard | The News

‘Tis the season for disgusting things.

Fastidious people who for most of the year would have been mortified by the sight of a cobweb in their spotless homes are now gleefully decking their halls and parlors with fake spiderwebs, arranging skeletons and skulls on their mantelpieces, and preparing to welcome zombies, vampires and monsters of all sorts into their homes.

This annual madness, brought on perhaps by shorter days and falling leaves, offers the intrepid host or hostess the opportunity to offer dishes that would not usually be seen in the better homes.

Bats, for instance. Bats can be quite tasty when made from dough that tastes like a brownie and rolls like a sugar cookie. Cookie cutters shaped like bats and ghosts can be easily found in the seasonal aisle of many superstores and you may be lucky enough to find edible candy googly eyes in your supermarket next to the birthday cake supplies. If not, they’re not terribly hard to make yourself. And it’s possible to make them vegan, if vegan eyes are something you might be into.

For those who don’t see themselves as the cookie baking type, it is possible to fabricate a lovely bat from purchased confections. Miniature Reeses cups and Oreos make charming bats with the addition of some googly eyes all held together by a little icing glue.

Sadly however, it’s not as easy as it looks to slice an Oreo cleanly in half and then to get it secured to a candy cup without mishap. Opportunity for disaster lurks at every turn. But a bowl filled with the shame of your failures, scraped-off cream centers and mis-cut, crumbled cookies, makes a tasty, and even virtuous snack. After all, saving those damaged cookie parts from the garbage bin is a form of recycling that will cleanse the stench of failure from your person.

And if you want to increase your bat-to-dud ratio tremendously, lay the wings down flat on the Reeses cups. What the horizontal bat loses in drama as compared to the bat in flight, it more than makes up for in ease of assembly. Not to mention the level of frustration diminishes considerably, along with the bag of recyclable cookie bits.

And if you are one of those people who wishes that kids could enjoy Halloween without a total overload of sugar and processed food, behold the Apple Monster. In the same way that Dr. Frankenstein assembled a glorious monster from spare parts, you can assemble an equally glorious snack monster using only fruits, seeds, some nut or seed butter depending on your allergy situation or lack thereof, and of course the mandatory googly eyes. Vegan or not, it’s up to you.

So go forth and make some monsters with your little monsters. If you don’t have any of your own, the streets will be full of them on Tuesday night.

Brownie Bat Cookies

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

Black sanding sugar

Candy eyes

Icing or melted chocolate (for glue)

Preheat oven at 350°F. Whisk dry flour, salt and baking powder in bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in mixer. (It will be really stiff. A stand mixer is better, it might burn up your hand mixer.) Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least one hour.

Roll out cookie dough on floured counter. Cut into bats or other desired shapes, brushing extra deposits of flour off the top. (It does disappear once baked, though, so don’t overly fret if they go into the oven looking white.) Sprinkle black d sanding sugar over cookies. Bake on a parchment or wax paper-lined baking sheet for 8 to 11 minutes (the former for 1/8-inch thick cookies, the latter for 1/4-inch cookies) until the edges are firm and the centers are slightly soft and puffed.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Attach candy eyes with a dab of icing or melted chocolate.

Goofy Apple Monsters

If you switch out peanut butter for sunflower butter, you’ve got an adorable snack that is virtually allergy-proof. And if you make your own googly eyes, it’s vegan.

2 green apples, each quartered and seeded

Peanut butter or Sunbutter

32 sunflower seeds

2-3 strawberries, sliced

Googly eyes (purchased or homemade)

Cut the middles out of each quarter of the apple to create a mouth. Don’t worry about perfection, you are filling this gap with sunbutter anyway so if you cut too deep, you can always just cover it up and no one will know.

Coat the inside of the cut gap with a filling of sunflower butter.

Place 4 sunflower seeds on the top of the “mouth” for the teeth.

Place 1 sliced strawberry inside the mouth for the tongue.

Glue each eye above the mouth with a dab of sunbutter to stick.

Vegan Googly Eyes

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. cornstarch

1 tbsp. corn syrup

2 tsp. non-dairy milk

¼ tsp. almond extract (or vanilla extract)

mini non-dairy chocolate chips

Whisk together the powdered sugar and cornstarch. Add the remainder ingredients except for the chocolate chips and mix until combined. It should be a thick paste at this point. Place into either a piping bag or Ziploc baggie and pipe dots into one row onto a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Gently top each dot with the mini chocolate chip—you don’t want to wait too long to place the chocolate chip in the middle or it will set. Repeat until all the paste is gone. Allow the googly eyes to set for at least 24 hours on your counter.

Chocolate Bat Bites

Miniature Reeses Cups

Thin Oreo Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Pre-made or homemade frosting or melted chocolate

Edible eyes

Remove the outer foil wrappers from the Reeses cups. Break the cookies in half and then separate all of the pieces from one another so you now have four “bat wings.” Scrape off the frosting. Fill up a plastic bag with the store bought or homemade frosting. Cut off the tip of the bag and pipe frosting onto the back corners of the broken cookie pieces. Press one cookie piece on the left of the Reeses cup and another cookie piece on the right of the Reeses cup. Pipe frosting on the back of the edible eyes and secure on top of the center of the Reeses cup.

Frozen Boo-nana Pops

Making frozen ghosts on a stick is super easy.

1 medium banana

1 cup white chocolate

8 mini chocolate chips for eyes

4 popsicle sticks

Cut banana in half lengthwise, then in half to make four quarters. Insert popsicle sticks into bananas, and freeze bananas on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. When the bananas are frozen, fill a coffee mug with chocolate. Melt chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time, stirring until the chocolate is melted and soft. Dip the bananas one at a time into the chocolate, scraping off the excess chocolate from the back of the banana, and place it on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Quickly add the chocolate chips for the eyes before the chocolate hardens (you have to work quickly here). Return to the freezer until frozen and ready to eat. Eat frozen.

Grapefruit Jack-O-Lanterns filled with fruit salad

Another idea that’s more on the healthy side. Cut grapefruits into jack-o-lanterns and fill with fruit salad.

1 grapefruit for each person

Fruit salad: (Multiply recipe to fill all your grapefruits)

3 large apples (at least one Granny Smith)

2 medium oranges

2 large lemons, juiced

1 cup of grapefruit chunks

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tbsp. maple syrup

1 tbsp. honey

1/2 – 3/4 cup pistachios

1 tbsp. craisins

2 tbsp. golden raisins

Using a serrated knife, cut out a top and then scoop the insides out. Save the top and as big of chunks as you can for the salad, and anything leftover you can use to make something else (grapefruit sorbet perhaps which you can also serve in grapefruit jack-o-lanterns as well). Mix fruit salad ingredients together, spoon into jack-o-lantern grapefruits, and cover with lid.

Witches Brew

Submitted by Joyce Jarrard from her Catholic School classmates. (For witches of legal age only who may want to relieve some bat-related stress). Locally available substitutes could probably be made for the brand of soda.

4 eggs, beaten

12 tbsp. powdered sugar

1 cup lemon juice

1 pint vodka

Mix in blender. Store in quart bottle. Shake mixture before using. Pour one shot of mixture over ice. Fill glass with Canfields Swiss Crème soda (white).

A selection of tasty bats with a few monsters on the side celebrate the season. If you’re looking for a healthy-ish Halloween snack for the wee ones, go with apple monsters. selection of tasty bats with a few monsters on the side celebrate the season. If you’re looking for a healthy-ish Halloween snack for the wee ones, go with apple monsters. Bill Colvard | The News

By Bill Colvard

Nominate your favorite cook to share their love of food with readers of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.

Nominate your favorite cook to share their love of food with readers of The Mount Airy News.

Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.