Arachnophobia Frost a cupcake with chocolate icing. To form the “legs,” dip halved pretzel sticks into melted chocolate, shaking off the excess. On a parchment-lined surface, place the dipped halves together in “L” shapes and freeze until solid. Stick four “legs” into two opposing sides of the cupcake just above the paper rim.
Wicked Witch Frost a cupcake with white icing. Create a “roof” using two graham cracker quarters. Using more icing as glue, attach black jelly bean “shoes” to mini candy cane pieces; let dry. Position two “legs” at the base of the cupcake. Add a teaspoon of “blood” (combine currant jelly with red food coloring and enough water to make it appear coagulated) beside the legs
Vampire Bites Frost a cupcake with white icing. Poke two holes in the frosting, about 1 inch apart. Using a toothpick, fill the holes with “blood”, then drag additional “blood” from each hole to the edge of the cupcake
Mummy Dearest Frost a cupcake with chocolate icing. Using a pastry bag with a flat nozzle, crisscross white icing “bandages” onto the frosting, leaving room for eyes. To make the eyes, pipe on two dots of pink icing and, using a toothpick, top each with a drop of dark food coloring.
Frankencupcake Frost a cupcake with white icing tinted with green food coloring. Using a toothpick, draw “scars” across the icing and fill these scars with “blood”. Form “stitches” using sliced black licorice laces. Poke a hole on either side of the cupcake and insert pieces of a Tootsie Roll.
2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 30 squares)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 pint sour cream
1 lemon, zested
1 dash vanilla extract
2 pints fresh strawberries
½ cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the crust ingredients with a fork until evenly moistened. Lightly coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup or the smooth bottom of a glass, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Refrigerate for 5 minutes.
For the Filling:
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed for 1 minute until smooth and free of any lumps. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and continue to beat slowly until combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl and the beaters. The batter should be well mixed but not over-beaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate.
For Strawberry Topping
Combine berries, sugar, water and zest and cook until berries are soft and the liquid is thick, about 10 minutes. .Remove from the heat and let cool. Spoon on top of the cheesecake and serve.