Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Puff Pastry Rattlers -- #Halloween Week #recipe #giveaway

LESLIE BUDEWITZ: When I spotted a tray of rattlesnake breadsticks in Country Living magazine, I ripped out the page and through it in my “Future MLK recipes” folder. The inspiration recipe used refrigerated pizza dough cut in strips, brushed with olive oil, dotted with poppy and sesame seeds, with forked tongues cut from dried chiles. 

Cute, and scary-fun. 

I created this version using puff pastry, which is perhaps a tad less predictable, but then snakes are unpredictable. (I’ll spare you the story of my own close encounter with a rattlesnake, as this is a family show. Suffice to say Mr. Right says he has never seen anyone else jump that high and backwards at the same time.) You might bake these little guys and discover that one turned tail, or flipped upside down, or opened up a bit where you twisted it. 

Trust me, no one will mind, especially the younger set. And if a rattler truly misbehaves, show it who’s boss. Eat it. 

I used a red bell pepper for the tongues; dried red chiles or a slice of pimento would work well, too. These are great accompanied by tomato soup—plenty of options here on the blog, including my own Tomato-Basil Soup from The Solace of Bay Leaves

Oh, in case you’re wondering, we here at MLK decided eons ago that using frozen puff pastry is not cheating. It’s smart. 

Such a treat! 

Past holiday fun from my kitchen:  Veggie Skeleton with Brain Dip

And Mummy Pizza Puffs, still a hit in our house. 

Halloween fun! Leave a comment below for a chance to win a signed copy of a Spice Shop mystery by Leslie Budewitz!

Puff Pastry Rattlers

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

poppy seeds

white sesame seeds

4-6 black olives, whole or about 2 tablespoons, sliced

red bell pepper, a dried chile, or pimento

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Like a baking sheet with a silicon sheet or parchment paper. Beat egg and water in a small bowl, using a fork or whisk. 

 Unfold the thawed pastry onto a lightly floured cutting board. Roll into a 14X10 rectangle. Cut into 12 strips, just a little more than an inch wide. Twist each strip four or five times, starting at the straight edge of the pastry, leaving a flat piece at the pinked or zig-zagged end, about ½ to 1 inch long. (This is the head.) Brush the twisted strips with the egg mixture. (Cook the rest for breakfast tomorrow.) Sprinkle poppy seeds over the main part of the body and sesame seeds at the tail.

Slice your olives if whole. Cut each slice in half twice and place two olive pieces on the head for eyes. Transfer to lined baking sheet. 

Bake 12-14 minutes or until rattlers are golden brown. 

While your snakes are baking, eat the leftover olives. Then, cut the tongues. If you’re using a bell pepper, cut a strip about half an inch wide; cut at one end and spread open, cutting a triangle out of the center if you need to, to make a Y. You may want to shave the fleshy side of the stem of the Y so it’s thinner and inserts into the head better. If you’re using jarred pimento, cut strips into Y shapes; depending on the length, you may want to cut the strips in half first. 

When the snakes are baked, use the tip of a paring knife to poke a hole into the end of the head and slip in the stem end of the tongue. (The layers will separate easily.)

Then go scare your family. Oops. I mean, go treat your family.

Makes 12 snakes.

Let's talk Halloween fun! I know, this year is scary in a whole 'nuther way, but let's remember the good times -- food, costumes, pranks! Leave a comment with your email address for a chance to win your choice of a Spice Shop mystery. (US addresses only; winner to be chosen Thursday, October 22.) 


From the cover of THE SOLACE OF BAY LEAVES, Spice Shop Mystery #5, out now in e-book and audio, in paperback October 20, 2020 (Seventh St. Books and Tantor Audio) : 

Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves. 

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface ... 

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow. 

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own. 

Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries, and the winner of Agatha Awards in three categories. Death al Dente, the first Food Lovers' Village Mystery, won Best First Novel in 2013, following her 2011 win in Best Nonfiction. Her first historical short story, "All God's Sparrows," won the 2018 Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Watch for her first standalone suspense novel, Bitterroot Lake (written as Alicia Beckman) in April 2021 from Crooked Lane Books.

A past president of Sisters in Crime and a current board member of Mystery Writers of America, she lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat, an avid bird-watcher.

Swing by my website and join the mailing list for my seasonal newsletter. And join me on Facebook where I announce lots of giveaways from my cozy writer friends.

Photo of the author as hobo, circa 1968. 


  1. One year for Halloween my family and I was in Dolores, Co. My mom dressed up as Eeyore, my brother Tigger, mr Pooh. We had a fun time trick or treating, and a lot of kids came up to gives us hugs because they we were them. Best Halloween ever.
    Kitten143 (at) Verizon (dot) net

  2. When I was young we used to dress up in costumes my mother created since she was very inventive. We walked the neighborhood on our own since it was safe and so many other kids were out. 1950's was the best time ever. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. What a fun idea!
    Still trying to figure out how to have a satisfying, but safe, Halloween with a neighborhood full of young kids who like to run house to house together.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  4. Neat! I love the fun food ideas that spring up for Halloween.
    I don't remember it, but my mom always talked about the first year I was old enough to trick-or-treat and there was a huge ice storm. She bribed me with a bag of candy to agree we could stay home. I do remember we had snow on the ground at Halloween most years, haven't now for a long time.

    1. Too funny! Snow on Halloween was not uncommon in my kidhood -- and could be the case this year, too!

  5. Happy release day! Enjoy it! Cute treats, and I love the hobo photo! For several years when my sister and I were young my mother made very elaborate costumes (think Bo Peep and Little Red Riding Hood, complete with bonnets, crook, cape) and also very elaborate cookies and other treats to be passed out to the neighbors we visited Halloween night. Following in my mother's incredibly creative footsteps (she says wryly) when my children were little in order to get them to eat something besides candy Halloween night I started Orange Food Dinner. Hot dogs, pork & beans, Doritos, orange jello, orange juice, you get the idea, not much better than the candy but I guess it caught on since my daughters fed it to my grandkids and my granddaughter to her kids, and last night the live-in adult granddaughter (life-saver errand runner) said at dinner, "We're having orange food on Halloween, right?" It's usually pretty quiet here on a street with a field on the other side so not really expecting anyone this year. Thanks for the fun post and the giveaway.

  6. Happy Book Birthday! Usually I help with a live radio drama that friends of ours put on at a local destination hotel. I have fond memories of those shows, particularly the years we re created Orson Welles "War of the Worlds" broadcast. Hopefully we'll get to do this again in future years. aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. What fun! And yes, we'll do these things again.

  7. We used to trick and treat all over the neighborhood. I really like seeing the kids in their costumes having fun. This year is going to be a scaled down Halloween for the kids here. I like how you used puffy pastry in this recipe. Puff pastry makes great waffles when used in a waffle maker.

  8. So, you levitate when you see snakes. I do a snake dance if I see one and it is within a certain number of feet of me. I love the snake treats recipe!

    1. Rattlers, anyway! I actually heard it before I saw it, but that was all it took!

  9. First, congratulations on your new release! Your Halloween treats look yummy. I'm not that creative with my cooking, unfortunately. My favorite thing to "cook" in October is pumpkin seeds. We don't really do the face carvings anymore now that our daughter is older, but I still love to scoop out and roast the pumpkin seeds. Renee -rwilson@ws4r.com

    1. Thanks, Renee! Roasted pumpkin seeds are great! Scroll down the sidebar recipe list or use the search bar for my Spiced Pumpkin Seed Brittle -- I think you'll like it!

  10. Holiday themed food is really fun. Preparing these Halloween recipes would make a meal on Oct. 31st feel very festive!

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  11. i used to have halloween parties at home when I was a kid, bobbing for apples was my favorite! thanks for the chance to win! amandasmother*at)aol(dot)com

    1. Fun memories! My dad's less messy alternative was to tie an apple on a string hung from the ceiling and we had to try to take a bite!

  12. When I was a kid we use to make our own costumes out of a box of old clothes and from Halloween pasts never had a store bought one. Great recipes thank you.

  13. I never really liked dressing in costumes for Halloween. My favorite costume, though, was when some friends and I dressed up as The Beatles. Thanks for the chance to win! cking78503(at)aol(dot)com

  14. Oh these rattlers look fun. Last year my niece dressed up as a jellyfish using fairy lights. So cute.
    turtle6422 at gmail dot com

  15. Nice cover. cheetahthecat1986ATgmailDOTcom

    1. Thanks! Pepper and I both love neon and old signs.

  16. These rattler breadsticks are fun! I think my 4 year old grandson would enjoy them! My mother was not very creative and wasn’t into Halloween (but she didn’t mind taking the candy!) so the girls were always witches and my brother was a hobo. It worked but it sure wasn’t as fun as my friend’s costumes! Now my DGS is old enough to enjoy Halloween and he certainly loves candy! ***pick me!!!*** Pam Marsh geopam(at)gmail(dot)com

    1. And I bet he'd enjoy the mummy pizza puffs, too! Guts! Bandages!

  17. Karen B
    Always fun taking the boys trick-or-treating when they were little. Pure joy on their faces!! Both recipes and book look delicious.

  18. I am not good with costumes or pranks, but I have a soft spot for the making and consuming of crescent roll hot dog mummies. They are such fun!
    little lamb lst at yahoo dot com

  19. Congrats to Renee Wilson, who chose Assault & Pepper, the first Spice Shop mystery. Thanks for all for joining in the Halloween Week fun!