Homemade food an alternative to candy

By Cayla Crisp

Thinking back to childhood Halloween traditions, many students might remember all the costumes and candy.

Rather than taking a trip down the candy aisle again this year, consider some festive homemade alternatives and what spots on campus have to offer.

Popcorn Pumpkins:

1. In a nonstick pot, melt 1/4 cup of butter with 1 bag of marshmallows on medium heat. Add orange or yellow and red food coloring.

2. Once melted, remove pot from heat and stir in 8 cups popped popcorn. Popcorn can be store bought or made in microwave. Add other items – candy corn, jelly beans, or anything else you like – at this point.

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3. When mixture is cool enough to handle, lightly coat hands with cooking spray or butter and form the popcorn balls. If they fall apart, let sit a few minutes longer.

4. Place on wax paper and let stand 30 minutes.

5. Decorate further by using licorice or pretzel sticks for stems and garnish for leaves.

Pumpkins, a Halloween staple, are used in many traditional fall snacks. Colonists created the first pumpkin pie by filling an emptied pumpkin with milk, spices and honey and baking it in the ashes of a fire.

Whether carving out pumpkins for decorating or baking, consider using the seeds. Baked pumpkin seeds are easiest to prepare, but try Martha Stewart’s pumpkin seed brittle recipe for a twist on a classic snack. Martha Stewart-like skills are not necessary, just a candy thermometer.

Pumpkin Seed Brittle:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Melt 1/4 cup butter or margarine in small pan over medium heat. Mix in « cup light brown sugar and ¬ cup honey. Bring contents to a boil.

3. Without stirring, cook about 6 minutes until mixture is medium amber and candy thermometer reads 280 degrees, then stir in 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds.

4. Cook about 2 more minutes until thermometer reads 300 degrees.

5. Pour onto large, rimmed baking sheet greased with butter. Let cool and break into pieces.

If all that baking gets tiring, places on campus offer festive drinks and snacks. Aubrey Zoller, junior in Nursing, works at Espresso Royale and said they offer several fall-themed drinks.

“We do it for the whole month of October,” Zoller said. “We have a Pumpkin Spice Latte, Caramel Apple Cider and a bunch of others.” Similar drinks can be made at home using a coffee pot and caramel.

Caramel Coffee:

1. Place 1/2 cup of caramel topping, such as KRAFT Caramel Dessert Topping, in an empty coffee pot.

2. Brew 6 tablespoons of regular coffee with 4 1/2 cups cold water.

3. Stir well and top with whipped cream and caramel.