Oct 15, 2012 • By

A cookbook for ghouls and goblins

Crusty Mummy Fingers, Cyclops Eyeballs, Spiderweb Pot Pies, Gingerbread Skeletons and Munchable Mice.

Mmmm. A five-course meal fit for a ghoul.

Thanks to the “scary” minds and creative tastes of the Betty Crocker test kitchens, the Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook was released in late September and is flying off store shelves as fast as one is willing to eat “Graveyard Bones with Dip.”

Filled with nearly 100 recipes, the book marks the first time Betty Crocker has published a Halloween recipe book filled with main dishes, desserts, drinks, cakes and cookies.

Cookbook Editor Grace Wells, with many years of experience on Betty Crocker cookbooks, helped assemble the book, which like most other of the brand’s cookbooks was published by New Jersey-based John Wiley & Sons.

“It’s a fun book. The recipes are great. They are cute and tasty and easy to make. Each recipe has its own colorful photo – a really fun part of the book that I love because the pictures may inspire you to create your own Halloween recipe,” says Grace.

The recipe book is just the latest in a long line of Betty Crocker cookbooks, the most famous being the “Big Red” cookbook, now in its 11th edition, as well as newer ones such as Gluten-Free Cooking.

The idea for the Halloween cookbook came about more than a year ago. Betty Crocker already had a Christmas Cookbook, and the team knew General Mills was missing out on a potential fun-filled, family-friendly opportunity.

“We just said, ‘We need to do a Halloween book,’ ” Grace says.

And they didn’t even have to look far for the recipes, as a vast majority already existed in the Betty Crocker vaults, either online or in its recipe magazines. The creative minds behind these sometimes blood-curdling recipes came straight from the Betty Crocker kitchen staff.

“They are an amazing group that has such a gift for creativity when it comes to these kinds of meals. We like to get a lot of our products in these recipes, and that’s why many of them were chosen for this book,” Grace says.

By looking at the book’s photographs, one may hesitate to bite into the Spiderweb Black Bean Burgers, topped with sour cream made into a web design. Don’t forget the less-than-appetizing-looking Bubbly Black Punch with Wormy Ice Ring. The gummy worms candy protruding from the surface of the punch make for quite a spectacle, but all in fun.

Grace says it typically takes six months to a year to assemble a Betty Crocker cookbook, and the Halloween version was completed in less than seven months.

She notes that the cookbook staff faced a real challenge because there were so many colorful Betty Crocker recipes to choose from.

“We wanted a lot of fun recipes that were intriguing for people who would pick the book off the shelves and say, ‘Wow! I want to make those things.’ We think we came upon the right mix of main dishes, drinks and desserts,” Grace says.

And she has her favorites.

“Oh, the Scary Pancakes are very cute and can be made with Yoplait yogurt and Bisquick. Then there’s the eye-catching one called Spooky Shepherd’s Pie that could include Betty Crocker potatoes. And there are the Halloween cupcakes on page 110. I love that photo,” she says.

Don’t forget, there are some more-than-unusual ones, too.

“Oh my gosh! The Crusty Mummy Fingers made from sweet potatoes are really strange but really delicious.”

The Betty Crocker Halloween Cookbook also includes a series of ideas and tips on how to liven up a Halloween party through decorations, activities and entertainment. The ideas include fake gravestones, a strobe light, fog machine, or renting a classic horror movie such as “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Dracula” or “Frankenstein.”