Halloween is a BIG DEAL in our household. It’s not just because our neighborhood is notorious for throwing itself into the ghastly spirit of the holiday, or because my kids are aspiring Hollywood monster make-up artists. It’s not even because Henry proposed to me 15 years ago on the most special date he could think of: Halloween night.
It’s ’cause we love scaring the living daylights out of people.
Really. Every Halloween, while the boys strike terror in the hearts of our neighbors…
…Henry strings up fake skulls in front of our house, and cackles when trick-or-treaters are too freaked out to approach the front door.
As for me, scaring people is a year-round avocation. I’m the kind of mommy who likes to crouch behind doors and corners until my unsuspecting children amble by—AND THEN SUDDENLY JUMP OUT AND SHRIEK IN THEIR FACES. They scream; I laugh and point.
(To be fair, they do this to me, too. But I’m scarier and better at hiding.)
Being a fearmonger is hard work, though, so I like to make sure our entire family fuels up with creepy edibles before heading into the night to sow panic and dread.
The only problem? Halloween’s become all about ingesting sugar bombs and sweet treats. Finding a Halloween-themed recipe that’s suitably spooky and Paleo-friendly is more difficult than trying to figure out why Michael Myers is wearing Captain Kirk’s face. But this just made me more determined to come up with a savory Halloween dish.
On Pinterest, among the pictures of candy corn cupcakes, fluorescent JELL-O brains, and gummy-worm cookies, I kept spotting variations on Hot Dog Mummies—wieners wrapped in pastry dough. It looks like a fun and easy (and cute!) way to dress up a snack on Halloween, but: (1) pastry dough ain’t exactly the most Paleo ingredient in the world, and (2) a lot of Hot Dog Mummies turn out looking just like boring old Pigs-in-a-Blanket.
But I love a good challenge. So just like that, I decided I was going to make my own version of these mummified Halloweenies.
After experimenting with several variations in the Nom Nom Test Kitchen…success! (Hey, Martha, just so you know: some of us do test our recipes—rigorously—before letting ’em see the light of day.)
Makes 16 pieces
- 2 medium sized O’Henry or Hannah white sweet potatoes, peeled (see note about these sweet potatoes below)
- 2 tablespoons melted ghee, plus 1 additional tablespoon for greasing the wire rack
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt (Diamond Crystal brand)
- 8 hot dogs, cut in half (I used Applegate Farms Natural Uncured Beef Hot Dogs)
- 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds (32 eyes)
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Large bowl
- Measuring spoons
- Rimmed baking sheet (half sheet)
- Stainless steel wire rack
Here’s what you do:
First, preheat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle position. Line a baking tray with foil or parchment, and place a wire rack on top. Grease the rack with melted ghee.
Shred the white-fleshed sweet potato with a spiralizer and place in a large bowl. (A spiralizer’s your best bet for this recipe; it’s hard to get sufficiently long strands of sweet potato with a julienne peeler or by feeding it through your food processor.)
A note about the white sweet potatoes: when developing this recipe, I tried a number of different types of spuds: O’Henry white sweet potatoes, garnet sweet potatoes, and even russet potatoes. I found the garnets too sweet and mushy, and the russets didn’t crisp up as nicely—but the white sweet potatoes worked perfectly. Their mildly sweet flesh is golden and string-less, and slightly drier than other sweet potatoes, making O’Henrys (or Hannahs) a great choice for making shoestring potatoes. Or mummy bandages.
(Most large grocery stores should carry white sweet potatoes, but if you can’t find ’em, do your best to dry your potato strands before proceeding to the next step.)
Toss the sweet potato strings with the melted ghee and salt.
Grab a chopped hot dog and wrap some strands of sweet potato around it. Try to cover your half-wiener from end to end, but don’t go for a super thick layer of sweet potato or else the “bandages” won’t crisp up properly in the oven.
Place the finished dog on the greased wire rack and push apart some of the strands in the top ⅓ of the hot dog to expose the “face.”
Repeat until you’ve assembled an army of eyeless, limbless mummies.
Bake the mummies in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potato “bandages” are golden brown, turning the tray halfway through the cooking process.
To make the eyes, you can stab toasted sunflower seeds into each wiener’s “face.”
(Dabs of mustard will work, too, but they’re prone to smearing. And no one wants to eat mummies whose mascara is running.)
The bottom of each mummy may need to be leveled off with a knife so they can stand upright.
Arrange your mummy army on a platter. Make ’em as threatening as possible.
(You can arrange the “bandages” if necessary to cover up any embarrassingly exposed spots.)
Your ghoulish guests won’t be able to resist these crunchy, meaty snacks. As Lil-O declared: “They’re like French fries with hot dogs inside!”
Also, my husband was excited that these mummies are “edible lookalikes of V.I.N.CENT from The Black Hole!” (I have no idea what that means, because I am not a big nerd.)
I prefer to think of my mummy posse as delicious harbingers of doom.
Looking for more recipes like this one? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes on my iPad® app, and in my cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel, December 2013).1