Re-purpose that candy into a handy dessert! While you’re at it, hopefully you saved the seeds when you carved your pumpkin. They make a nice savory, crunchy mouthful to contrast with all the sugar you’ll be imbibing. (Or hopefully others will be imbibing, if you can manage to pass off your leftovers.)
Who am I kidding?
We didn’t actually have any candy leftovers… what with both of us dipping into the bag early and the hordes of kiddos in the ‘hood for the big day, we had no reason to worry about leftovers. But I did get up to a little re-purposing…
We double team with our neighbors on Halloween candy duty since we get quite a few trick-or-treaters from surrounding ‘hoods. Literally carloads of kiddos pull up and swarm the streets. It’s normal to have a dozen kids around the candy bowl at a time so it helps to have back up. Late on the day of Halloween, we found out the neighbors were making dinner for everyone. I hate to show up empty handed so I needed to whip up something quickly with whatever was on hand. Ta-da! Problem solved! These two recipes made a fine appetizer/snack and dessert to contribute to dinner.
Halloween Candy Bark
adapted from a Bon Appétit recipe
Dessert at a Halloween dinner is probably a bit redundant. I wasn’t sure I’d get many takers on the candy bark since I assumed everyone else dips into their candy bags early as well and are already sick of eating chocolate by the time All Hallow’s Eve rolls around. I was wrong, though. (Apparently some folks have more self-control than I.) Even though I wasn’t in the mood to try the bark that evening, I got some really good feedback. The next day, I decided to nibble on one of the few left over pieces. (Research, you know.) I have to say, this is a dessert where the whole is greater than sum of its parts. Somehow, the sickeningly sweet compound chocolate, along with the incredibly salty processed peanut butter, combines with the chalky malt and bittersweet chocolate to create something that actually tastes nuanced and intriguing. (Either that or my taste buds are dead from sugar overkill at this point.)
12 ounce bag of bittersweet chocolate chips (I like Guittard)
5 snack-sized Butterfinger candy bars, crumbled into irregular pieces
5 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, cut into quarters (if using mini-sized cups, cut into halves)
approx. 30 Whoppers malted milk balls, cut into halves
3 ounces white chocolate chips
1. Line baking sheet with foil. Melt chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until warm (not hot) to touch. You can also melt the chocolate in a bowl in the microwave at 30 seconds intervals until the chips have visibly started to melt. Stir and heat again for 30 seconds if needed, until the chocolate can be stirred to a smooth consistency.
2. Pour chocolate onto foil and use a spatula to spread to approximately 1/4-inch thickness in a rectangular shape. Sprinkle with chopped candy pieces making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.
3. Melt white chocolate in heavy small saucepan while stirring constantly over very low heat until warm (not hot) to touch. Same tip on the microwave above applies but watch white chocolate carefully as it has a tendency to burn. Remove from heat.
4. Dip a spoon into the melted white chocolate and sprinkle over the bark to create zig-zaged lines.
5. Chill bark until firm, approximately 30 minutes. Slide foil with candy onto work surface and peel off. Break the bark into irregular pieces. You may want to leave the bark in the fridge until you’re ready to serve as the chocolate isn’t tempered to be stable at room temp. Or you can just lick melted chocolate off of your fingers after devouring bark pieces. Your pick.
Spicy, Curried Pumpkin Seedsvery loosely adapted from an Epicurious recipe
There are a plethora of spices, both sweet and savory, that go well with pumpkin seeds. I decided to do curried pumpkin seeds with a hint of heat. I didn’t have a pre-made curry spice mixture so I improvised a bit to come up with a pretty close approximation. If you have a ready made curry powder, use one tablespoon in lieu of the turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper listed below.
4 T olive oil
1 t turmeric
1 t paprika
freshly ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 t sea salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
2 c rinsed and dried pumpkin seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil baking sheet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
2. Mix spices in a medium sized bowl and then add in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Add pumpkin seeds into the bowl and toss to coat. Transfer to baking sheet, spreading evenly.
3. Bake until toasted and fragrant, stirring often, about 20 -24 minutes. Cool on sheet. Store toasted seeds airtight at room temperature.