I know the holidays are officially upon us when my neighbors are out digging up their lawns in preparation.

Getting spooky in the hood

Is it just my neighborhood (I live in tinseltown, home of the fiercely talented set decorator and specIal effects people), or is your town going all out for the Halloween graveyard landscape these days too?

I cook for a CSI producer in the neighborhood. Think we need to give her a call?

Now my ‘lil one ain’t so little, I don’t get as creative as I used to on Halloween, so I scoured the web for my top ten favorite food ideas to help you get your creep on in the kitchen this year. Click on the photos for recipes.

Witches Brew:  photo courtesy of Fahrenheit 350

What party would be complete without a bewitching bevy? Especially one that tastes great yet proposes to have blood, spiders, eyeballs, frogs, worms, beating hearts, and witches hair.

Spooky Black Bean Hummus: photo courtesy of Fat Free Vegan

Or this genius way to get your little devils snacking on something healthy. I love the idea of using black beans instead of chickpeas for hummus – an idea I’d certainly love to play around with more. So many flavor combinations and spooky possibilities.

Bloody (pizza) eyeballs photo courtesy of Canary Girl

I’m not paranoid, I KNOW that pizza is watching me. It is much yummier than eye of newt too!

Witch Hat Pumpkin Ravioli: photo courtesy of Tony Tahhan

Ever wonder what to do with all that extra pumpkin once you carve your jack-o-lantern? This clever recipe uses squid ink to color the ravioli, then stuffs it with a pumpkin filling for a wickedly sophisticated meal.

Mummy hot dogs: photo courtesy of Not Quite Nigella

These mummy hot dogs are the perfect party finger food, just make sure it’s not your finger being mummified. Consider making these with cocktail sausages for a perfectly horrifying hors d’oeuvres tray, too.

Veggie Brooms: photo courtesy of Little Food Junction

Don’t forget to put a some vroom in your little witches brooms! Vegetables they will want to eat, love it!

Ghost Duchess Potatoes: photo courtesy of Pham Fatale

Boo! That’s what I have to say to boring old French fries to go with those mummy dogs. Try these ghostly Duchesse potatoes for a hauntingly fun change.

Bloody Brain Pannacotta: Photo courtesy of Not Quite Nigella

Having trouble thinking of something super gory to serve? My Twitter pal Not Quite Nigella is responsible for working this pannacotta into a bloody brain masterpiece. Watch out for her cookbook coming out next Spring!

White Chocolate Bones: photo courtesy of Food Mayhem

Sticks and stones may break your bones, but these delicious white chocolate dipped pretzels will make a delicious crunch in your mouth. Your little monsters will adore them.

Spiderweb Cheesecake: photo courtesy of Epicurean Mom

Who needs icing on a cake when you can have creepy crawly spiders? All your aspiring vampires will enjoy sinking their fangs into this cheesecake with chocolate cookie crumb crust. Be ware though…

Tatjana Rhodes getting creative on Halloween

… if you eat too much you may turn into a spider! Have a great time making these ghoulish goodies and super fond memories – like this chocolate fudge graveyard cake Tatjana and I made together many years ago.

Chocolate Fudge Graveyard Cake

Servings: 12


for the cake
3 ounces of unsweetened (preferably Valrohna) chocolate
2 cups flour, sifted
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon coffee extract or espresso
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup boiling water
for the chocolate fudge icing

4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons Valrohna cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon coffee extract or espresso
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

for decorating
6 rectangular shortbread cookies
tubes of cake decorating icing in colors of your choice


for the cake
1). Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ pan.

2). Melt chocolate in a double boiler.

3). Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Set aside.

4). Beat butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until light and fluffy.

5). Add melted chocolate, coffee extract, and vanilla and beat until combined.

6). Add 1/3 of flour mixture alternating with 1/3 of sour cream at a time, beating after each addition until all incorporated. Stir boiling water in to thin the batter.

7). Pour into pan, and bake in the 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Cool for at least 10 minutes before loosening sides with a knife, and inverting onto the serving platter. Let cake cool completely before icing.

for the chocolate fudge icing:

8). Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and cocoa. Bring to boil, stirring constantly for 3 minutes. Add milk and remove from heat. Stir well. Stir in sifted powdered sugar, stir well. Add vanilla, coffee extract, and sea salt, stir well. Pour over cake, using a knife to spread evenly and cover completely. Cool completely before decorating.

for decorating

9). Decorate each cookie with RIP as I have done in the photograph. Push the bottom edge of each cookie into the cake at regular intervals to look like a graveyard.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with ice cream of your choice (I like coffee ice cream with mine, but almost all flavors of ice cream go well with chocolate fudge cake).

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