The world of children’s birthday parties has changed. Your memories of one table with some balloons, a cake, and ice cream are antiquated. Now, the parties have become a production. An industry. And if you are throwing a party for your child — or in our case helping with our grandsons’ party — then you have to step it up.

In Austin last week the theme for the party was Fear Factor. My resource was the web. I needed to find food items that were designed for 9-year olds who wanted to be grossed out.

I love the web, which happens to be a driving factor behind the escalating complexity of these parties. The web is truly a wonderful resource for party ideas, games, good foods, and disgusting foods.

What do you call a bunch of mice? An infestation.

What do you call a bunch of chocolate mice? A platter.

As part of the Fear Factor experience, each guest was required to eat one mouse. Not a dead one, just a chocolate one. There was demonstration: how to hold the mouse by its tail, turn your head back, open your mouth and slowly lower the morsel — that’s stretching the use of the word I know — into your open mouth.

“Me, me, me next,” was the chant from the guests. So each got one of these lovely chocolate mice and each mouse quickly disappeared. The two girls attending the party took a pass on this step. I fully understand.

My thanks to folks at www.chocolate-candy-mall.com for creating this great recipe. We did make one change here, doubling the amount of ingredients for the kneaded mixture that surrounds the cherry: the butter, corn syrup, salt and powdered sugar. We did not want slim mice.

Oh, tomorrow it will be meringue snakes. By this weekend, I’ll be back to adult food.

Chocolate Mice

Yield: 20 robust mice

Ingredients:

20 maraschino cherries with stem [stems are the mouse tails and needed!]
2 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Dash of salt
1 ⅓cup powdered sugar
40 pieces sliced almonds, toasted
2 cups chocolate pieces or chips
20 chocolate kiss
Red decorator icing in a tube with squeeze top ending

Preparation:

Thoroughly drain the cherries on a paper towel.

Mix together the butter, corn syrup, salt and powdered sugar. Knead until smooth.

Place 2 teaspoonfuls of the mixture around each cherry and place on a cookie sheet line with waxed paper. Put the 20 wrapped cherries on the sheet into the refrigerator to chill.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.

Dip the covered cherries in the melted chocolate by holding the stems [uh, the tails]. Place back on a tray lined with wax paper. Immediately place a chocolate kiss and 2 almond slices in place for the ears and head before the chocolate sets.

Using the decorator icing, place dots on the face for two eyes and a nose.

Keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

As the chocolate cools, there will be some leakage from the mouse onto the wax paper. Use a sharp knife to dress up the mice just before serving.

Source: www.chocolate-candy-mall