I can't believe Halloween is just a few days away, it completely snuck up on me this year. Sort of like the snow that decided to fall last night, wasn't really prepared for that either :) There's talk of another storm heading our way for Saturday, so it looks like the kids might be trudging through the snow to get their Halloween candy this year. Shane went off to work today dressed as Indiana Jones for his office Halloween party - he loves dressing up almost as much as I hate it. I know, I'm no fun at all. You definitely won't find me in a costume on Halloween, but I do enjoy passing out the candy, and we get tons of trick-or-treaters at our house every year. I think we even had to turn our light off last year after running out of candy. Do you guys have any Halloween traditions? Do you dress up to pass out candy to the kids?
Halloween is probably one of my favorite times of year around the blog world - there are so many creative, talented bloggers out there, and the things they come up with always blow my mind. I didn't get a chance to try as many themed treats as I'd have liked this year, but I couldn't let the holiday pass without posting at least one or two. Since we're just a few days from Halloween I thought I'd pick simple treats that would be appropriate if you need a last minute party idea or snack for the kids. Or, if you wait until 11 pm at night to start making the dessert for your husband's office party the next day. Not that I'd ever do that.
These monster eyeballs are the best of both worlds for me - not only are they a cute Halloween treat, but they're made with one of my favorite flavor combinations: chocolate and peanut butter! I think they may be similar to buckeyes, though I've never made those so I guess these check another box for me too. The chocolate coating surrounds a simple mixture of peanut butter, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Pop a mini M&M in the middle to act as the iris and you have cute monster eyeballs. I loved the way they looked all lined up on the baking sheet staring at me :) They're simple to make, though a bit tedious since you need to dip all of the candies in the chocolate. You need to chill them a few times too, but you can use your freezer to speed that up. And it'll give you just enough time to catch up on the season finale of Top Chef Just Desserts (Did you watch? I won't spoil it, but I am happy about who won.) These monster eyeballs are pretty rich so I suggest keeping them on the smaller side - one or two bites is definitely plenty.
If you're looking for other last minute ideas for Halloween treats, here are a few I've made in previous years, as well as some of my favorites from around the web!
Chocolate Spider Cupcakes
Red Velvet Brain Cupcakes
Snack-o-Lantern Fruit Cups from Pink Parsley (a healthy treat!)
Spooky Graveyard Cupcakes from Six Bittersweets
Monster Cupcakes from Annie's Eats
Mummified Oreos from Fake Ginger
Creepy Crawler Cupcakes
Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Tart from Handle the Heat
adapted from Ghoulish Goodies by Sharon Bowers (via epicurious)
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
1 (3-oz) package mini M&M's
Combine the peanut butter, butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until all of the ingredients come together. (There may be dry bits in the bottom of the bowl at first, but keep beating, they will incorporate).
Line a rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Roll the peanut butter mixture by teaspoons (I used my cookie scoop) into small balls and place on the prepared pan. Stick a toothpick in the top of each ball (this will make them easier to dip later). Freeze for 45 minutes (or refrigerate for an hour to an hour and a half).
Add the chocolate chips and shortening to a microwave-safe bowl (it will be easier to dip if you pick one that's deep rather than shallow). Microwave for 60 seconds on full power, then stir well. Continue to microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring in between each, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. (You could do this over a double boiler too if you prefer.)
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer (or fridge). Holding each candy by the toothpick, dip it in the chocolate, leaving a round or oval opening on the top to make it look like an eye. I found the easiest way to do this was to rock the ball from side to side gently. It's harder to explain than it is to do, you'll get the hang after you do one or two. Let the excess chocolate drip off each candy, then place it back on the wax paper. Repeat with all of the candies - you may need to warm the chocolate a few times if it starts to get too firm for dipping, a 10-second burst will do the trick. (If the balls get too soft, you can briefly pop them back in the freezer, but I found I could dip them all without an issue.)
Remove the toothpick from each candy. Place a dab of chocolate on one side of an M&M then place it on the candy, covering the hole where the toothpick had been. Repeat for all candies. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Store the eyeballs in the refrigerator or freezer and serve chilled.
Yield will depend on how big you make your eyes - I got about 20 from a half recipe