Learn how to make jack-o’-lanterns using dried apricots, chocolate icing and sprigs of mint. It’s a simple and healthy treat that is too cute to resist and they’re perfect to send with your kids to school for a classroom snack.
Every year around Halloween my kids’ teachers ask us to volunteer to send in a healthy Halloween snack for the class. Huh? That’s tough, right? Everything about Halloween is candy-infused.
Because of that request from the teachers, I came up with this healthy classroom snack. I’ve taken these little jack-o’-lanterns to my kids’ school a couple of years in a row now. The kids eat ’em up! They are adorably fun, after all.
One caveat: Drawing a face on each and every jack-o’-lantern is time-consuming. It takes me about 15 minutes to do 20 of them. If this is to be a real snack for the class then they need at least 3 or 4 per child and, well, I don’t have time for that. What I decided to do is make 1 apricot jack-o’- lantern per child. Then I sent a bowlful of undecorated apricots mixed with a big handful of chocolate chips to supplement the snack. Each child gets one decorated apricot and then some plain ones to munch as well. It works.
Looking for more healthy Halloween recipes? My sister site, The Cookful, is doing a whole series on Pumpkin Seeds right now. There are tons of recipes to make delicious versions and lots of how-to’s and tips as well. Check out all the pumpkin seed goodness here.
O.k., now let’s make those cutie pie apricots!
These healthy Halloween treats are a tiny bit finicky to make. Your first few faces might not be perfect. But you’ll get the hang of it quickly and will then be pumping out jack-o’-lanterns faster than your kids can gobble them. Note: The icing called for here gets firm quickly so that you don’t have to worry about it rubbing off if you’re transferring them in a container to school. But I still pack them in a single nonoverlapping layer.
- Put the apricots on a plate or cutting board. Push down on them to make them as flat and round as possible. The softer ones flatten easier than older drier ones.
- Use a paring knife to cut a hole into the top edge of an apricot from which the stem will stick out. Using something small and blunt like the end of a baby spoon or the non-pointy end of a chopstick, carefully push a strip of mint into the hole. The idea is to have most of the mint inside of the apricot with just a little bit sticking out. Repeat with remaining apricots and mint strips.
- Cut the smallest bit off of the tip of the cookie icing possible. You want the finest stream of chocolate you can get. Draw faces on the apricots using the icing.
- Serve immediately or arrange in a single layer in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 12 hours.
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This blog post originally appeared in October of 2013. It has been revised and republished in October of 2016.