Time to ‘fess up: How many bags of Halloween candy have you already eaten, even before Beggars’ Night has come and gone? We have the same problem with being tempted by treats. That’s why we don’t buy candy until the last minute, and we don’t buy our personal favorites. Avoiding temptation is often easier than resisting it.
Instead of raiding the candy stash, check out these recipes for Halloween desserts. We selected some for the kids, some for the adults, and some that everyone will enjoy. Plus, all of them are much more tempting than yet another fun size candy bar.
Halloween Desserts: Whoopie Pies
Whoopie pies have been around for nearly 100 years throughout New England and Pennsylvania Dutch country. They’ve grown more widely popular in recent years, and dozens of variations have sprung up. We chose this recipe from Food and Wine because it stays true to the chocolate and marshmallow Whoopie Pie tradition, with an orange accent as a nod to Halloween.
We agree with the suggestion to substitute black cocoa powder for a couple tablespoons of natural or Dutch-process cocoa to give your cakes a deeper color. You can bake flat cakes for a traditional look, or use Nordic Ware Fall Bakeware. If you don’t feel like fiddling with a pastry bag and tip, you can spread the filling with an offset spatula. You can also add orange food coloring to the filling instead of rolling each pie in sanding sugar — or do both to give your orange accent extra oomph.
Halloween Desserts: Pumpkin Cheesecake
Give this recipe from Once Upon a Chef a try for Halloween, and then hold onto it for Thanksgiving as an alternative to pumpkin pie. This fancy Halloween dessert is deceptively simple, and it will knock your guests’ socks off.
We appreciate how Jenn explains the reasoning behind baking cheesecake in a water bath. It sounds like a big deal, but it’s not — and it’s key to turning out a perfect cheesecake. She also shares how to boost the pumpkin flavor of this cheesecake by simmering it with sugar and spices. Finally, she walks through the steps to make the homemade caramel sauce, which doesn’t require a candy thermometer or endless stirring on the stovetop.
Halloween Desserts: Meringue Bones
Since we recently posted about how easy it is to make meringue, it’s no surprise this recipe from Good Housekeeping jumped out at us. While you can also turn meringue into ghosts or use it to top cupcakes, we’d never seen meringue bones before.
The GH Test Kitchen recommends creating a bone template and stenciling it onto sheets of parchment paper. Then all you have to do is pipe the meringue onto the parchment and stay inside the lines. If you’re comfortable with a piping bag and tip, feel free to pipe your bones freehand. You can create small ones, big ones, and maybe even a skull if you dare.
The recipe calls for preheating the oven to 225F while you whip up your meringue and pipe your bones. Then turn off the oven, slide your baking trays in, and let them sit as the oven cools down. We’ve never tried this approach to baking meringue, and we’re curious to see how it turns out.
Halloween Desserts: Chocolate Pomegranate Tart
While this recipe from Pastry Affair isn’t strictly Halloween themed, the dark chocolate and deep red pomegranate arils and glaze give it a spooky feel. Like the pumpkin cheesecake above, this is another recipe to keep on hand for the holidays. It also looks much more imposing than it actually is to make.
If you don’t have a tart pan, use a pie dish that's deep enough to accommodate all the crust and filling, with room to hold the toppings too. The kids may not appreciate this recipe the way we adults do, but that just means more decadence for us to enjoy.
Halloween Desserts: Halloween Candy Bark
On the other hand, this recipe from Delish is perfect for kids. In fact, they can make it themselves. We looked through many Halloween candy bark recipes, and this one was our top choice thanks to the color combinations. To get those vibrant colors and make sure your chocolate cooperates, pick up a bottle of Flo-Coat. It prevents chocolate from seizing up when you add food coloring.
After you’ve spread the white chocolate and drizzled colored chocolate over it, rip open those fun size bags of candy and sprinkle them on top. You can also chop fun size candy bars and arrange the bits on the bark. Set the hard candies aside (and consider boxing them up to send to the troops).
Halloween Desserts: Voodoo Doll Cookies
We love this recipe from Not Quite Nigella because it’s a cool and creepy way to get some more use out of our gingerbread man cookie cutters. Kids will have fun decorating, and adults will enjoy cringing at the results.
Try Lorraine’s cookie recipe, or use your favorite cut-out cookie recipe. Then pick up some icing tubes and tips to start turning your cookies into creepy voodoo dolls. It’s okay if you’re too scared to actually eat them. We might be too.