These healthy monster mouths are perfect for Halloween and just use apples, strawberry jam, nut butter, almonds / sunflower seeds and if you want – chocolate! Naturally paleo, vegan, nut-free, grain-free, gluten-free and dairy-free.
I’ve been trying to come up with healthier Halloween treats free of processed junk and it’s pretty difficult. It seems like all the cute stuff is full of candy or food coloring. Then I got the idea for these! I’d seen these kind of monster mouths before but they contain candy, usually marshmallows, and sometimes red food coloring. And none of them had cool eyes! Or bloody mouths. Or were munching away on flies (dried cranberries). Since the whole point of making these was to offer something free of processed food and junk in general for Halloween, I had to come up with something different. So we started brainstorming. Mr. Texanerin came up with these ideas for the eyes (all of which are paleo!):
- Blackberries – Too expensive unless they’re on sale.
- Romanesco broccoli – Looks really neat but I’ve only seen this a few times in my life (not that I ever actively look for it).
- Blueberries or raspberries – I’m guessing the blueberries would be too small and raspberries are again too expensive.
- Olives – Nope. Not going to happen. These are for kids! Maybe that’d turn them off? Or maybe that’s just me.
- Physalis – I don’t even know if these are common in the US, where most of you live, so… no.
- 10/14/14 update: I just saw this idea on Pineapple & Coconut for lychees and blueberries. Check out Shanna’s creepy eyeball martini to see how she did it. This is, by far, the best creepy eye idea!
- 10/30/15 update: One reader, Cymbre, used purple carrots for the eyes. They look great!
All I came up with was chocolate eyeballs! I didn’t want to use those hard sugar candy things because they’re probably pure sugar or sugar mixed with weird stuff. I’m cool with chocolate, though.
To make the chocolate eyeballs, I started off by piping a glob of semi-sweet chocolate around the tip of a toothpick. While I was making them, I was thinking, “I’m so happy I’m doing this the right way! It’d be so me to get the colors mixed up and pipe the wrong one first.” Then I piped one glob of white chocolate onto the center of a black glob of chocolate and realized… whoops. But it turns out that piping the semi-sweet chocolate first worked and though I haven’t tried it the other way, I think it works even better than piping the white part first.
So while I was piping away, Mr. T went grocery shopping to look for other cool things for the eyeballs and found some grapes. I’m sure any kind of grape would work but he found these really large pinkish orangish ones. To get the chocolate chip in the middle to stick, he cut a little X into the non-pointy tip of the grape, peeled back a little bit of the skin, and just stuck a chocolate chip there. They stayed firmly in place for many hours but I just have a feeling they’re going to fall off eventually. If you try this, know that it might fail. But the grapes alone were neat enough! And you know what would have been so much more disgusting? To peel the grapes. I doubt the chocolate chip trick would work then, though.
See that second picture? Mr. Texanerin complained that this one wasn’t “realistic at all” (like the others are?!) because there should be blood on the teeth. How can it eat a fly and have blood in its mouth but not have bloody teeth?! So I added more blood. And I like how it looks.
The most difficult part about these is cutting the wedge out of the apple slice to make room for the mouth but it wasn’t all that difficult. You could have an extra apple around as a practice apple, just in case. I got 5 monster mouths out of 1 apple, making this, in my opinion, an economical Halloween treat. :)
I used slivered almonds for the teeth and they were perfect. Just make sure to poke a hole with a sharp paring knife where you want to place the teeth to make it easier to stick the almonds in. And when inserting the upper teeth, flip the apple wedge upside down to make it easier.
And because these are just fruit, nut butter and chocolate, if you choose, these monster mouths are super allergy-friendly. They’re naturally paleo, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free + vegan (be careful of the jam and chocolate you use) and can be nut-free if you use Sun Butter and sunflower seeds for the teeth.
Healthy Halloween Monster Mouths (paleo, vegan, nut-free options)
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- Ready in:
- Yield: 18 mouths
- 1/4 cup (43 grams) semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted (use Enjoy Life for dairy-free)
- 1/4 cup (43 grams) white chocolate chips, melted1
- 36 toothpicks
- lemon juice
- 4 large apples
- natural peanut butter (I used this homemade peanut butter but you can use any kind of nut butter or Sun Butter)
- strawberry jam (I used this homemade honey sweetened strawberry jam)
- dried cranberries or other dried berries
- slivered almonds
- Place the toothpicks evenly on a Silpat, piece of parchment paper or wax paper.
- Using a Wilton Tip 12 (or whatever tip you want to use) pipe a 1/2" - 3/4" circle of semi-sweet chocolate around the 1/4" - 1/2" top of the toothpick. Make sure that the chocolate is also going under the toothpick. I made sure of that by ever slightly pushing down the other end of the toothpick so that the top part of the toothpick, which you're piping onto and around, elevates just a little.
- Let the circles cool and firm up completely, about 1 hour. If you're in a hurry, place them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Use Tip 10 (or whatever tip you like) to pipe a circle of white chocolate around the semi-sweet chocolate circles, making sure that the two types of chocolate overlap by at least 1/4". This makes the eyeballs easy to remove from the Silpat and much sturdier than if you just pipe the white chocolate next to the the semi-sweet chocolate. Let the circles cool and firm up completely, about 1 hour or place them in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
- Core the apples and cut into 4-5 pieces (it'll depend on the size of your apples). Try to cut them at such an angle that they stand easily on their own.
- Cut out a wedge for the mouth. Try not to have the bottom half of the wedge be at a downward angle so that the peanut butter doesn't seep out. Also try to make the wedge large enough so that you can easily add the teeth.
- Use a pastry brush or dip the backs and bottoms of the apples in the lemon juice. This is to prevent the apples from browning. There's no need to use lemon juice on the inside mouth part since that'll be covered up with peanut butter.
- Spread on a little bit of peanut butter.
- If you want to add strawberry jam do that now. You can also do it after adding the teeth but it's a little more difficult then.
- Toss in a dried cranberry.
- Use a sharp knife to stab the parts where you want to add the teeth. There's no need to dig a hole. This will be inserting the teeth easier.
- Insert the teeth on the bottom. Flip the mouth over, stab the parts where you want to add the teeth, and insert the teeth. Turn back over.
- Place the mouths on the serving plate.
- Gently remove the eyeballs from the Silpat. Insert them straight down into the mouths or in a way that supports the mouths and doesn't make them fall over.
- Serve! If using lemon juice, these stay at room temperature for at least 8 hours without browning.
- Please see the last paragraph of the post for allergy-friendly notes!
I did a backwards date search to try to find who came up with the original apple mouth idea. It appears to be from Family Fun magazine in 2008 but I can't find anything on their website to link to.