Make these scary good sweet treats for your Halloween party

Are you going to a Halloween party this year -- or even hosting one? Make sure guests are in for more treat than trick with these spooky delicious recipes.

Pumpkin Phatty Cakes

These treats, made from a recipe from former Cakes & Ale pastry chef Cynthia Wong, have the scrumptious autumn touch of tender, pumpkin cookies filled with almond mascarpone cream. The batter, cookies and filling can be made ahead of time for super fast and easy assembling come Halloween night to treat kids and adults alike. The cookies can be baked as simple drop cookies, or baked in sheets of individual silicone pumpkin molds, available at Target stores.

For the cookies:

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

2 1/4 cups dark brown sugar

2 large eggs, room temperature

1 (14-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin

1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature

For the filling:

1 (15-ounce) container Italian mascarpone (domestic mascarpone is too soft)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees if baking the cookies in silicone pumpkin molds (otherwise, wait until dough has been refrigerated).

To prepare the cookie dough: In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on low speed until smooth. Add brown sugar and cream again until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed until combined. Add the pumpkin and mix on low speed until combined. Add the heavy cream and mix on low speed until combined and smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the dry ingredients, mixing on low speed until flour is absorbed. Increase speed to medium to create a smooth mixture. The dough will be soft.

To make the cookies: If making drop cookies, tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. If you are using pumpkin molds, drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the molds. Using the back of a small spoon, lightly spread the batter in the molds. It doesn't have to be perfectly even or smooth, as the cookies will spread into the molds as they bake.

For drop cookies, drop tablespoonfuls of batter onto parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheets.

Bake the cookies, in molds or on sheets, for 15 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool on sheets or molds before removing to a baking rack to cool.

To make the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the mascarpone, sugar and almond extract and stir until smooth. Refrigerate, tightly wrapped, until ready to use.

To assemble the cookies: Once the cookies are completely cool, make sandwiches by spreading a tablespoonful of filling on the flat side of a cookie and topping with another cookie, rounded side out. If using molds, slice excess from flat side of cookies.

If cookies will not be eaten within 4 hours of assembling, refrigerate until ready to use.

Per serving: 570 calories (percent of calories from fat, 48), 6 grams protein, 69 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 31 grams fat (9 grams saturated), 124 milligrams cholesterol, 359 milligrams sodium.

Peanut butter eyeballs / AJC file photo

Peanut butter eyeballs

This creamy cookie is a favorite of many hosts, including J.J. Griffin. This recipe adds a little crunch from rice cereal. You can make colored irises per the instructions below or do as Griffin does and leave a little of the cookie exposed by dipping it into the white chocolate using a toothpick to hold the cookie and don't completely coat it. She then takes the top of a food coloring bottle and presses it in to make a tinted circular impression.

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter, softened

1 cup creamy peanut butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 1/2 cups toasted rice cereal (like Rice Krispies)

1 (11- or 12-ounce) bag white chocolate chips

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Food coloring

With an electric mixer, combine butter and peanut butter. On low speed, gradually add powdered sugar, until well-combined (this can also be done by hand). Mix in the cereal. Using your hands, form into balls the size of a large marble (about 1 inch) and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Place the white chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Remove, add vegetable oil and stir to combine. Microwave for 30 seconds or until chocolate is melted, and stir until smooth (the chips might not appear melted). Dip the balls, one at a time, into the melted white chocolate, using a fork to roll them around so they are entirely coated. Remove and set on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Chill for about 30 minutes, or until firm.

Separate remaining white chocolate into two bowls and add 1 to 2 drops of food coloring each to tint each bowl a different color. Reheat chocolate if necessary to smooth. Using a small spoon, place a small dollop of the colored chocolate on the eyeball to make an iris and smooth with fingertip. Use a smaller drop of the contrasting color for the pupil. Chill until the chocolate is set. Place balls in individual mini muffin papers, if desired, and serve.

--- Adapted from a recipe from Gale Gand for the American Association of Orthodontists

Per serving: 137 calories (percent of calories from fat, 51), 3 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, trace fiber, 8 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 3 milligrams cholesterol, 71 milligrams sodium.

Toenail macaroons

These taste better than they look!

2 egg whites

1.2 cup superfine sugar

1 cup ground almonds

Blanched almonds, to decorate

Lina a large cookie sheet with nonstick parchment paper. Beat the egg whites in a clean bowl with a hand-held electric mixer until peaking. Gradually beat in the sugar, a spoonful at a time, until thick and glossy. Add the ground almonds and stir in until combined.

Drop about 15 dessert spoonfuls of the mixture, slightly apart, onto the prepared cookie sheet, then press an almond on top of each.

Bake in a preheated over at 350ºF for about 15 minutes until the macaroons are pale golden and just crisp. Let cool on the cookie shet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from "The Monster's Cookbook: Everyday Recipes for the Living, Dead and Undead."


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About the Author

Yvonne Zusel
Yvonne Zusel
Yvonne Zusel is a digital audience specialist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and