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    With Halloween just around the corner, here’s Martha‘s advice on some fabulously frightening treats that will have the kids screaming with delight.

    CREEPCAKE HOW-TO
    Each design starts as chocolate or vanilla cupcakes iced with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

    For “spider” creepcakes, use your favourite cupcake recipe (vanilla or chocolate) pouring batter into 2 1/2 mini muffin tins with paper liners. Ice mini cupcakes with vanilla buttercream and coat icing with black sanding sugar. Use cinnamon candy for eyes. For legs, attach 8 pieces of black licorice. For fangs, cut out tiny cone shapes from a marshmallow and attach.

    For “tentacle alien” creepcake, spread cupcake with a thin layer of buttercream tinted with a few drops of green food coloring. Cut strips of green taffy and attach around top of cupcake. For eye, slice a yellow gumdrop in half and press into top of cupcake. A piece of black licorice attached in front the gumdrop completes the creepy gaze.

    For “big-eyed alien” creepcake, spread cupcake with a thin layer of buttercream tinted with a few drops of green food coloring. For small eye, attach a mini marshmallow and create pupil by painting on melted chocolate (microwave 1/2 cup chocolate chips for 1 minute). For large eye, push chocolate chip, tip down, into regular size marshmallow, then cut gummy tape for an eyelid. For teeth, place 5 mini marshamallows along the bottom of cupcake.

    For “mummy” creepcake, spread cupcake with a thin layer of buttercream. Add jelly beans dotted with melted chocolate for eyes and red gummy candy for mouth. Using a ribbon tip (such as Ateco #44), pipe bands of buttercream.

    For “brain” creepcake, use a medium round tip (such as Ateco #12) to pipe a mound of Vanilla Meringue Buttercream in the center of cupcake, then outline and pipe a brain design over it.

    DECORATING TECHNIQUES

    To decorate, use marshmallows and candy-coated chocolates for whites of eyes; jelly beans or gumdrops for peepers with an eerie glow. For pupils, paint on melted chocolate (microwave 1/2 cup chocolate chips for 1 minute). Or use candies whole: candy-coated chocolates will stick to marshmallows sliced to expose their stickiness; for our aliens’ eyes, we pushed chocolate chips, tip down, into marshmallows, then made a hole in the other side with a toothpick and inserted a licorice lace. Cut gummy tape for an eyelid. Sandwiched between halved gumdrops, marshmallows form a toothy grin; snip irregular pieces for fangs. Bend licorice or gummy rings into grimaces, or cut taffy tape for a tongue or tentacles.

    Try these toppings:

    * marshmallows
    * licorice and jelly bean
    * gummy ring
    * taffy tape
    * gumdrops and marshmallows
    * marshmallows with licorice and mini
    * chocolate chips
    * jelly beans with melted chocolate
    * marshmallows and candy-coated chocolates or melted chocolate
    * marshmallows with candy-coated chocolate or gummy
    * tape and licorice drop
    * licorice with gumdrops or marshmallows

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