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A sweet treat that looks deliciously swampish

The beauty of Halloween treats is that you don't have to worry about making them pretty.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The beauty of Halloween treats is that you don't have to worry about making them pretty.

In fact, the uglier they are, the better. And that was our inspiration for this baked treat. We wanted a bar that was appropriately loaded with sugar (it is the high holiday of sweets, after all) and looked as though somebody had dragged it through a swamp.

And so we came up with bog bars, which start as a basic blondie-like bar studded with dried cherries. Then we smear melted chocolate over the top and start dumping delicious things all over them. The gummy worms and pretzels are a particularly nice touch, resembling the snakes and twigs one surely encounters during midnight swamp strolls.



Start to finish: 40 minutes (10 minutes active)

Servings: 16

2 cups dried cherries

1/2 cup apple or orange juice

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

16 chocolate sandwich cookies, broken into large pieces, divided

12 ounces milk chocolate bits

2 honey graham crackers, broken

1/2 cup mini marshmallows

1/2 cup pretzel sticks (broken)

Handful gummie worms or bugs

2 green fruit roll-ups, torn into pieces

Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray.

In a microwave-safe dish, combine the cherries and juice. Microwave on high until bubbling, about 1 minute. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl between additions. Stir in the vanilla. Add the flour and salt and mix just until combined. Drain the reserved cherries, then add them and half of the broken chocolate cookies.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and set.

While the bars are still hot, sprinkle the milk chocolate bits over the surface. Allow to melt. Use the back of a spoon to spread the melted chocolate to cover the surface. Sprinkle with the broken graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels, gummie worms, the remaining chocolate cookies and the pieces of fruit roll-ups. Allow to cool.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 520 calories; 150 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 17 g fat (9 g saturated; 1 g trans fats); 65 mg cholesterol; 88 g carbohydrate; 5 g protein; 6 g fiber; 320 mg sodium.