Trick or treat food tricks

This must be nostalgia week. Or maybe weíre entering nostalgia season, the time of year when we set nutritious food trends aside and take the plunge down the slippery slide of favorite food traditions.

I heard from several readers celebrating fried green tomatoes. Two of them talked of how they were introduced to Southern fried foods from home gardens that anchored them to family and friends.

If youíve been a regular reader of the Heraldís Wednesday Food & Nutrition page, you know that we try to strike a balance between the nutrition side of things and the fun of flavor-packed, decadent foods.

In our house, there are no desserts in summer months. Itís fresh fruit or an occasional bowl of ice cream. When the garden is in full swing, we eat salads and ratatouille, fresh produce and treats from the grill. Thatís what we food writers tend to write about, too, because thatís how Durango eats.

But once the first hard frost heralds the end of the garden and welcomes Halloween, the menu gets, well, almost scary. Apples go into apple pies. Butternut squash is pureed, cream added and chunks of focaccia get the last of the fresh rosemary and garlic. Comfort food reigns.

When my boys were much younger, Iíd steal their Trick or Treat haul after day three. Three days of sugar is enough. But instead of tossing the Heath Bars, Butterfingers and Three Musketeers, Iíd throw them in the freezer to use later to either decorate or make decadent fall desserts.

Hereís an easy recipe I adapted from a fundraising cookbook sold in Youngstown, Ohio, where Halloween is celebrated almost as merrily as Christmas.

Bake a chocolate box cake in a rectangular pan according to package directions. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, punch lots of holes in it with a drinking straw.

Take a 14 oz can of Eagle or any type of sweetened, condensed milk and spread it evenly over the cake. Take a hand full Ė about 6 ounces of Heath Bars, Sklor, Butterfingers (or any candy bar that has toffee and almonds in it) from the freezer and set these on the counter.

Remember the recipeís punching part, with the straw? Well this one is even better. Get a hammer out the basement and hammer the candy bars until theyíre in small enough chunks and slivers for sprinkling. Sprinkle the finest of the candy bar shards on the cake, which should be cooling by now on the counter.

The final step calls for an 8 oz. tub of Cool Whip to be smeared on the cooled chocolate cake. On top of that you sprinkle whatís left of the frozen candy bar shards.

I havenít made the cake lately because my boys are now old enough that they prefer trick or treating in bars. Thatís too bad, because now I have no supply of stolen candy bars. Worse, Iím older now and no longer brave enough to buy Cool Whip on a regular basis. But I can do it once a year. Or I can figure out a substitute, airy frosting.

Even easier, take a half dozen apples, swizzle or dip them in melted Kraft caramels and then amp up the decadence by coating them in frozen candy bar shards!

íTis the season to eat sugar

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