Make these crawling Jell-O worms and creeping spiders to serve at your next Halloween party. The creepy critters are a tasty treat to offer your guests, and they look fantastic too! To make your Jell-O worms you will need a 3-ounce package of flavored gelatin like Jell-O, a 1-ounce package of gelatin, half a cup of heavy cream and 100 bendy straws. You will also need a tall cup, milk carton or other narrow container that will hold all the straws tightly.
You can use any flavor or color of Jell-O you like, but red and orange flavors make the most realistic worms. Mix the packages of jello and unflavored gelatin in a large container. It will make things much easier later on if you choose a container with a spout for easy pouring. Add 3 cups of boiling water and stir until dissolved. Tip: Unflavored gelatin often comes in a box containing 4 individual envelopes. You need to use all 4 envelopes, or the entire 1-ounce box, for your worms.
Preparing the Straws
Once or gelatin is mixed, leave it to cool until it reaches room temperature. In the meantime you can prepare your straws. If you are using bendy straws pull all of them out to full length, but leave them straight. The ridges in the straws will create little rings around your worms. Tightly pack all of the straws in a cup or other container. The container should be nearly as tall or taller than the straws.
Once your gelatin mixture is room temperature, add 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream. Don't worry about stirring it, just pour it in and let it mix itself.
Pour and Refrigerate
Once the cream is added, pour the mixture into the straws. You don't need to pour in into every straw, just pour into the center of the container and all the straws will fill up. Place the cup and straws in the refrigerator to solidify. This will take at least 4 hours, but could take up to 24.
Squeeze Them Out!
When the gelatin is firm, your worms are ready to come out. Remove the straws from the cup and peel away any Jell-O on the outside of the straws. Run the straws quickly under warm water and immediately squeeze them out of the straw with your fingers or a rolling pin. The worms should pop out quickly and easily. Troubleshooting: If your worms are not solid enough you may need to refrigerate them longer or give them less time under the warm water before squeezing. If they won't come out of the straws, run them under the warm water for a few more seconds.
For quick and easy serving, just put your worms in a bowl and hand them out! If you'd like to display them a bit more, serve your worms on top of a pile of chocolate cake crumbs. Add a few mint leaves to make the chocolate "dirt" more convincing and you're ready to go! The worms will last for a few hours out of the fridge, and if you need to you can store them in the refrigerator for a few days even after removing them from the straws. Just don't freeze them, the jello won't hold up when it melts!
Want to make some tasty spiders to compliment your squirmy worms? You will need chocolate cupcakes, narrow chocolate-covered cookies, edible eyes and brown or black icing. If you prefer, you can use melted chocolate instead of icing for some parts of your spiders. You can make all these parts of scratch, or buy them ready-made for quicker prep.
Begin by cutting all of your chocolate cookies in half at an angle. You want half of the angles slant down to the right, and half to slant down to the left. You will be placing these angles together to make legs, so if you want your legs to have very sharp bends you need to cut very sharp angles. If you'd like the legs to spread out more, cut shallow angles.
When all of the angles are cut, put a dab of icing or melted chocolate at the end of one cookie and press it against the end of another. This should create a nice angle perfect for your spider's leg. Let the joined cookies rest until the icing or chocolate has time to harden.
Use more icing or chocolate to attach your spider's legs to the sides of a chocolate cupcake. You may want to create little indentations for the legs to sit in. Simply cut small notches from the side of the cupcake.
Attach eyes in the same way you added the legs, with a little bit of icing or chocolate. You can find candy eyes at most craft stores and baking stores—anywhere with a good cake decorating section!
You can leave your spider as is, or give your spider a textured body with icing and a decorating tip. Play around with different numbers of legs and eyes to make monster spiders. Let the kids in on the fun too, they create the the most amazing little critters!
If you're in a hurry, or just don't like the cartoon effect of the candy eyes, you can create spiders with nothing but a cupcake and some icing. Place a rounded cupcake on a plate. If you don't have a rounded pan, it's easy to round a regular cupcake by trimming the edges. Add a thorax with a big blob of icing, add a head with a little blob, and then draw out the eight legs. Your spider is done in just a few minutes! Add them to your collection of spiders and worms and dig in!