Cockroach Clusters

I know at the sight of antennae like this your instinct might be to look for the nearest rolled up newspaper or shoe…

But don’t do that to this one.

Even if you find it in your windowsill garden…

Don’t do it!

Even if you find a whole ring of them…


Instead…eat them!

They are Cockroach Clusters, inspired by the world of that most famous of wizards, Harry James Potter.  (He looks like his father, but has his mother’s eyes.)

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (the final book in the 7-part epic HP series) came out the week before my sister Courtney and I had a weekend trip planned to Martha’s Vineyard in the summer of 2007.  We both brought our books, and spent the weekend trying to read at the same pace so we wouldn’t get ahead of each other and potentially ruin major plot developments.  Looking back, it’s a really fun memory. (Fun Fact – We also both got terrible sunburns that weekend.  Not a fun memory.  Worst burn of my life.)

Now, over 3 years later, part 1 of the movie version is out. Jessica O. and  I saw it last evening and  I used the occasion as an excuse to get creative and make a HP-themed snack.

I decided to improvise on an already amazing treat in my arsenal – the Poor Man’s Turtles. I thought the pecan looked a little roach-y (I know, gross…but bear with me) so I bought some milk chocolate chips and a pack of chocolate Twizzlers.  I had no idea these existed, but Target did.  Then I tapped into my vast sprinkles collection for some yellow eyes…and that was about it.

Their insides are lovely, too.

Invade your kitchen today!  You won’t regret it, I promise.

Poor Man’s Turtles

Equal number of pretzel squares, Rollo’s, and pecan halves.

  • Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  • Arrange pretzel squares on the sheet and place an unwrapped Rollo in the center of the square
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until chocolate is soft, but not melting.
  • Remove and lightly press pecan half onto the Rollo.
  • Try hard not to eat all of them in one sitting.

To make the cockroach clusters you will need a small paintbrush, 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips, 1 rope of chocolate or black licorice, and yellow sprinkles.  Use a sharp knife to cut 3/4 inch pieces of licorice.  Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on low power or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water.  Use the paintbrush to paint the melted chocolate onto the pecan half, then insert the licorice pieces into the melted chocolate.  Stick a few sprinkles on for eyes.  Voila!

Are you a HP fan or did I totally lose you with this one?? 🙂

Halloween Candy Bark

I am not the first, nor will I be the last to have been inspired by the recent Halloween Candy Bark recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. 

With Halloween just days away and 2 festive jack-o-lantern’s glowing in my living room, I gave in and made a batch.  Naturally you can substitute the candy listed in the recipe for whatever you might have on hand…

I am a carving template convert while John keeps it real with freehand…

The final taste of the bark was well worth pain in the neck of retrieving the peanut M&M’s that were shooting off my cutting board and rolling under my furniture while I chopped them.

Halloween Candy Bark
From Bon Appetit and Annie’s Eats

1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips (not semi-sweet – I used Ghiradelli)
3 Butterfinger candy bars (or 8 fun-size bars), chopped
3 Heath candy bars (or 6 fun-size bars), chopped
8 Reese cups, each cut into wedges
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts
3 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
1 cup yellow and orange peanut M&M’s (or use Reese’s pieces)

  • Line baking sheet with foil.  Melt chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water until smooth and warm (not hot) to touch.  Pour chocolate onto foil and smooth to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Evenly sprinkle with chopped Butterfingers, Heath bars, Reese’s, M&M’s and peanuts.  Pat gently to secure candy is all touching the chocolate.  Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Melt the white chocolate in the same manner – stirring constantly.  Once smooth, drizzle spoonfuls over the bark in a zig-zag pattern.  Chill for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove from fridge and peel bark away from foil.  Break into irregular pieces and store in the fridge in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve…or eat.

I am already imagining ways to make a festive bark for Christmas using sugared pecans and dried cranberries.

But first, Halloween weekend.  I still have no idea what I am doing but I am sure it will be something fun.

And if not, I like Thanksgiving and Christmas better anyway!