Chocolate "Bone Yard" Cheesecake

A Spooky Delight

In ancient Europe, Halloween was the night when the veil separating the living from the dead was at its thinnest.

But there's nothing thin about this luscious, no-bake chocolate cheesecake -- except for the white-chocolate coated pretzels used to decorate the top with scattered "rib cages" and other "bones" of the "deceased."

Depending on your taste -- in sweets and the macabre -- you can be as creative as you'd like when decorating this holiday treat to look like a graveyard that's been untended for a very long time.

Ingredients:

-- 9" x 12" graham cracker pie crust, or a same-sized pie tin/ casserole dish
-- 8 ounces of softened cream cheese
1/2 stick of softened margarine or butter
12 ounces of Cool Whip or other whipped topping
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 3/4 cup milk
2 small packages of instant chocolate pudding
Six ounces of white chocolate pieces or bars (broken into pieces)
Thin pretzel twists
Pretzel sticks
Oreo cookies, peanut butter cookies or other oval-shaped cookies

To make the cheesecake:

1) Cream together 1/2 stick of margarine or butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese, and 3/4 cup of powdered sugar (set aside).

2) Mix together 2 3/4 cups of milk and 2 packages of chocolate pudding.

3) Combine #1 and #2, and mix well.

4) Fold in 12 ounces of Cool Whip or another whipped topping.

5) Pour the ingredients in the prepared graham cracker pie crust (or pie tin/ casserole dish), and refrigerate overnight, if possible.

To decorate the top:

6) One the cheesecake has firmed, insert Oreo halves, oval shaped peanut-butter cookies or other "headstone-shaped" cookies into the "bone yard" to mark the final "resting places" of the dead.

7) Melt white chocolate over a double boiler -- or in a microwave, as directed by the package -- and dip the wishbone-shaped tops of the pretzels, as well as thin pretzel sticks, into the white chocolate until they are fully coated. Allow the pretzel parts to cool on wax paper or parchment paper.

8) Once cooled, insert the wishbone-shaped pretzel parts into the cake -- in rows of five or six -- to look like rib cages. If so desired, pretzel sticks can be placed over the "rib cages" to represent "spines," and can also be arranged to look like scattered arm and leg bones. (If you really want to get spooky, insert Teddy Graham or Animal Cracker heads at the tops of the rib cages.)

Serve with a small garden trowel to make it look as though you're disinterring the remains when you serve up this ghoulish delight!

NOTE: To save time and effort, purchase yogurt-covered pretzels in your local supermarket to serve as rib cages and other bones.

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