Ask A Chef: Best Spooky Halloween Treats

The leaves are falling in brilliant reds, oranges and yellows from the trees, and there's a chill in the air. Halloween is just around the corner. One of the most colorful and fun holidays, Halloween allows for some of the best decorations, activities and, of course, treats of the year. While you might not be out trick-or-treating, you certainly don't have to be in elementary school to enjoy the holiday. Let the spirit of Halloween take you and enjoy some of these treats from local expert Juan Nystrom.

Juan Nystrom
Freelance Baker and Cake Decorator
(651) 206-3617

Having worked at various local institutions, in various capacities, from cake decorator at P.J. Murphy's to line cook at Pizza Luce, Juan has found joy in creating eye-pleasing and palate-pleasing items for eager customers. He cut his teeth decorating cakes for another local institution, the Grand Ol' Creamery, before moving on to his position of now creating custom wedding cakes for eager married couples to be. With a concept in mind, he can make just about anything. Now that Halloween is fast approaching, Juan has offered up a few ideas to spice up the holiday.

Cream Puff Ghosts


  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of water
  • Pinch of salt


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. While the oven preheats, boil the water and butter in a pot together. Once they are boiling, stir in the flour and salt. Mix it until it turns into a solid ball, and then put it into a mixing bowl for it to cool. Add one egg every couple of minutes as it mixes. Then, places spoonfuls of your mixture onto a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the puffs turn a nice, golden brown. Wait for the puffs to cool before adding the whipped cream.

Whipped cream ingredients:

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1/8 cup of sugar
  • Dash of vanilla


Whip the cream in a mixing bowl and add the sugar slowly as the cream is being whipped. Once it is solid, but still nice and smooth, it is ready to be added to the puff. After slicing just the top off of the puff, use a piping bag to inject the whipped cream, pulling off the top to get a nice little ghost-y swirl. Add faces using black food coloring and you have a tray of little ghosts.

Haunted Cupcakes

Holidays are all about getting creative. You can take simple cupcakes and turn them into monsters with frosting and food coloring.
Here's a basic cupcake recipe, but feel free to use your own favorite cupcake recipe.


  • 2 eggs
  • cups of flour
  • 1/2 cup of softened butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • cup of milk
  • teaspoon of vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. While the oven is preheating, line your muffin cups with Halloween-themed papers. Cream your butter and your sugar, and when it is nice and fluffy, add your eggs in one at a time while beating. Add the flour, baking powder and salt at the same time as the milk, and continue beating before stirring in the vanilla. Add your cupcake mix to your pan in even amounts and bake for 16-20 minutes.

Butter cream frosting ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup of softened butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of orange juice
  • Dash of orange, purple, green or black food coloring (depending on what monsters you want to make)


Beat the butter while slowly adding the sugar, then add the orange juice and continue until the mixture gets nice and smooth. Then, add the food coloring. Green makes for a good base for Frankenstein or a witch's face, orange for pumpkins, etc. Use black food coloring to make the faces after you have your cupcakes made and frosted.

Adding flourishes, like little witch hats and brooms, is a great touch. Any basic department store will have these items for sale.

Don't forget: The best thing about frosting cupcakes is that you can always scrape it off and start again.


Drizzling some "blood" over the top is also a great touch. For nice, gooey blood (that is also completely edible) try this mix.


  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of red food coloring
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • 1 cup of corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of chocolate syrup


Mix all of the ingredients together in a glass bowl so you can check the consistency. Stir until all of the ingredients join and you have thick, syrupy blood-like consistency. If it is too thick, add a little more water. If it is too thin, add a little more corn syrup until you have the perfect "blood."

Related: Halloween Costume Ideas For Kids

Deviled Spider Eggs

Not all Halloween treats have to be sweet.


  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 pitted black olives


Hard boil the eggs. When they've finished cooking and have cooled, peel them and cut them in half vertically. Scoop out the yolks into a separate bowl. Stir in your remaining ingredients – the mayo, onions, mustard, salt and pepper – and stir until it is thoroughly mixed. Spoon approximately 1 tablespoon of the yolk mixture into the center of your halved egg whites.

Slice 8 black olives in half and place face down in the center of each deviled egg. Then, slice into thin strips the remaining olives and place 4 on each side of the middle olive like legs.

Related: Not So Scary Halloween Events

Adrian Schramm is a resident Saint Paul writer with a passion for all things local. Through his work with Saint Paul Almanac and Minneapolis Examiner at, as well as in the kitchens of bars and restaurants around town, he has discovered what truly makes the Twin Cities tick.