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Inspiration Board : Halloween Candy Dots and Pancakes!

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Have you seen the homemade candy dots and spiderweb pancakes in Good Things in our October issue? In case you're looking for more Halloween treat ideas, here are some variations that didn't make it into the magazine.

I LOVE crafting with food and I was thrilled to play in the kitchen for Good Things. My two boys have been asking me to make their pancakes in funny shapes for years and I had always failed miserably. Whatever shapes I tried to make bled and spread and I would end up saying..."Ummmm...here...uh......South America!" ("But Mom, I asked for C-3PO!")

I finally bought a squeeze bottle and it opened up a whole new pancake-shaped world for us. Letters (like "BOO"), spiders, spiderwebs, etc...all so much easier to make using this squeeze bottle rather than spooning batter into the pan.

A pancake idea that Food Editor Anna Kovel suggested was adding cut apples (in this case, for jack-o-lantern features), which looked great and tasted yummy. Arrange the cut apple pieces down in the pan first and pour or squeeze batter over them.

I'd been wanting to try making my own candy dots for a while and--as I suspected--it's fun and kind of addictive. In the magazine we showed how to make candy-corn-inspired dots (above, bottom row). I also made pumpkin and black cat dots.  For the black cats and the all-orange pumpkins (above) I used a toothpick to drag the wet royal icing into the shape that I wanted. They are all made from the same royal icing recipe but tinted different colors.

To pipe, I used resealable plastic bags instead of piping bags. Transfer the icing into the bag(s). Squeeze into corner, close off top tightly with rubber bands, and cut a very small opening in the corner. Snip to enlarge the hole as needed, testing to see if the size works as you go. The dots are piped onto strips of freezer paper, taped shiny side down to these printable templates. (The lines on the templates indicate when to change color--if you are doing candy corn style dots.)

I think these little cats are pretty cute. Next time I make them I will use a toothpick to add tiny dots of white or red royal icing for eyes.

These pumpkins with their piped-on green stems are obviously a bit more work than the solid orange but they are also more recognizable. For the stems, set aside some of the royal icing and tint it green. Use a tiny hole in a resealable bag piping bag to pipe on the stems.

I hope you'll give these crafty treats a try. Happy Halloween!

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