Halloween treats that won’t rot your teeth

Alison Ladman
Associated Press

It’s true! Despite what the kids think, not all Halloween treats need to rot your teeth on contact.

Which isn’t to say the goodies we’ve gathered here — a muddy punch and a granola-like snack — don’t have a sweet side. Rather, we decided to take a more balanced approach to our sugar rush. You know, just in case somebody over 12 wanted some.

Start with the spicy-sweet mole pumpkin seed clusters. Think of it as a savory-sweet granola that packs tons of addictive crunch and just a bit of heat (easily adjusted to your taste). It definitely has that potato chip-like can’t-stop-shoving-it-in-your-face quality. Embrace it.

To wash it down, we created a spooky, muddy punch. Sure, it’s jammed with chocolate, but it tastes more fruity than sugary. We kept it simple, and nonalcoholic, in case you’re willing to share it with the kids.

Spicy-Sweet Mole Pumpkin Seed Clusters

½ cup almond butter

½ cup honey

½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less, to taste)

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

2 cups flaked corn cereal, lightly crushed

Line a rimmed baking sheet with waxed paper.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the almond butter, honey, cayenne, salt and cocoa powder. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the pumpkin seeds and cereal. Stir to combine, then transfer to the prepared pan. Using 2 spoons, separate the mixture into small clusters. Set aside to cool. Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 230 calories; 14 g fat (2 g saturated fat; 57 percent calories from fat); 21 g carbohydrates; 13 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 160 mg sodium; 8 g protein; 1 g fiber.

Liquid Mud Punch

4 cups grape juice

Two 20-ounce bags bittersweet chocolate bits

4 cups blueberry juice, chilled

2-liter bottle lemon-lime soda, chilled

Shaved chocolate, to serve

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the grape juice to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate bits. Continue stirring until completely melted and smooth. Whisk in the blueberry juice, then refrigerate until completely chilled.

In a large punch bowl, gently stir the chocolate juice mixture with the lemon-lime soda. Sprinkle with shaved chocolate just before serving. Makes 24 servings.

Per serving: 320 calories; 20 g fat (10 g saturated fat; 56 percent calories from fat); 45 g carbohydrates; 36 g sugar; 0 mg cholesterol; 20 mg sodium; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber.