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For a slightly spooky Halloween, serve a cemetery

Oct. 29, 2018

 

Chocolate pudding, oreos, cool whip, and vanilla sandwich cookies combine to make a graveyard for a Halloween party

It has come to this. What started, centuries ago, as a combination of a harvest festival and concerns that spirits could easily enter our world at this time of year has now developed into a holiday where people serve food that looks like cemeteries.

Trick-or-treating is important, too. Kids like their candy. Adults like to hand out candy if they can hang onto a little for themselves. Doughnuts and apple cider are a vital part of the Halloween celebration, as well, and so are costume parties where adults dress up like pregnant nuns or their favorite characters from “Game of Thrones.”

But this year, cemetery food is where it’s at.

It’s theme eating at its finest, a dip or dessert that looks like it’s scary but really isn’t. Cemetery food is just a fun, Halloweenish way to nibble at a dessert or a dip and feel like you’re in the spirit of the season.

Emphasis on the spirit part.

With cemetery food, the way it looks is more important than the way it tastes. If you can create an amusing representation of a graveyard, it doesn’t matter if it is made with chocolate pudding mix, Cool Whip and crushed Oreos.

Sounds terrible, right? On the other hand, it is made with chocolate pudding mix, Cool Whip and crushed Oreos. It sounds amazing, right?

And it kind of is, though you may wish you were eating a handful of mini-Snickers bars instead, because they are so much more healthful.

The pudding-Cool Whip graveyard scene comes from the folks at Kraft, who devised it as a way to use as many Kraft products as possible. I am not ashamed to play into such an obvious commercial ploy, because it looks tastes great and looks so cute.

This is decor, rather than cooking, so it takes almost no time to make. You begin by mixing milk and instant chocolate pudding. Be sure to use the instant pudding and not the stuff that you have to cook, because that will never set and it will turn into a soupy mess more horrifying than anything else you will see on Halloween.

Not that I would know. Ahem.

Anyway, you just mix the pudding goo with some Cool Whip goo and then mash up some Oreo cookies (Nabisco, which makes Oreos, is owned by the same company that owns Kraft, which makes Jell-O pudding and Cool Whip). You pour half of the cookie crumbs into the agglomerated goo and the other half on top.

All that’s left then is the decorating.

The other cemetery spread I made is savory, but it is just as fun in a not-really-scary kind of way. Basically, it’s a four-layer dip with some ghosts and gravestones on top.

The dip itself is typical and does not involve much effort. It has refried beans on the bottom, straight from the can. Then, a mixture of sour cream and packaged taco seasoning. There is a bare-minimum-guacamole on top of that (avocados mashed together with minced garlic and a bit of mayonnaise), and a cup of salsa on top. A sprinkling of sliced green onions completes the illusion of grass, sort of.

The hardest part, if you are not artistically inclined, is cutting the ghosts, tombstones and a spooky tree out of tortillas. This task will be easier if you use relatively decent tortillas; the cheapest ones tend to fall apart when you try to cut them with the tip of a knife.

The tortilla props only take seven or eight minutes to bake, and they become nicely crisp. Just stick them in the spicy cemetery, and see if anyone can resist the fun.

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GHOSTS IN THE GRAVEYARD

Yield: 18 servings

2 (3.9-ounce) packages chocolate-flavored instant pudding

3 cups cold milk

1 (12-ounce) tub frozen dessert topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed and divided

15 Oreo cookies, crushed

3 (or more, optional) oblong vanilla creme sandwich cookies

Black decorating gel

5 candy pumpkins

10 candy corn pieces

1. Whisk together pudding mixes and milk in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Let stand 5 minutes. Stir in 3 cups of the thawed dessert topping and half of the Oreo cookie crumbs. Spread into a 13-by-9-inch baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle with remaining Oreo crumbs.

2. Refrigerate 1 hour. Meanwhile, decorate vanilla sandwich cookies with decorating gel to resemble tombstones.

3. Insert decorated cookies into top of dessert just before serving. Add candies. Drop large spoonfuls of remaining thawed dessert topping to resemble ghosts.

Per serving: 150 calories; 7g fat; 5g saturated fat; 1mg cholesterol; 2g protein; 20g carbohydrate; 12g sugar; 1g fiber; 156mg sodium; 57mg calcium

Recipe by Kraft

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GRAVEYARD TACO DIP

Yield: 12 servings

1 (16-ounce) can refried beans

2 cups sour cream

1 (1-ounce) package taco seasoning

2 avocados, mashed

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

Pinch of salt

1 cup salsa

2 scallions, green parts only, chopped

2 large flour tortillas

1. Spread refried beans into a small baking or casserole dish. Mix together sour cream and taco seasoning, and spread on top of the beans. Mix together the avocados, garlic, mayonnaise and salt, and spread on top of the sour cream mixture. Spread salsa on top, and scatter chopped scallions across the salsa. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 1 day.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

3. Cut tombstones, ghosts and a scary tree out of the tortillas, and place the shapes on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned and crispy, about 7 to 9 minutes. If desired, decorate these shapes with a black, food-safe marker or black decorating gel. Place shapes in cemetery and serve with potato chips or tortilla chips.

Per serving: 201 calories; 15g fat; 5g saturated fat; 15mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 14g carbohydrate; 1g sugar; 4g fiber; 500mg sodium; 85mg calcium

Adapted from Joe and Sue via blog.chickabug.com

 


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