Now that Halloween is over, I want to get rid of the metric ton of candy that's still sitting in my house. I could bring it in to the office, but if I can't resist the siren's song of the fun-size Snickers bar in my pantry, how can I turn my back on it when it's sitting there, in plain sight, next to my desk? Besides, my coworkers already filled our corner of the office with tiny bars of every candy ever invented earlier in the week. To bring in more would be overkill.
But not if I've magically transformed them into something else first.
Here are five tricks for using up all of those Halloween treats:
1.) Hot fudge sauce. Measure out two cups of nut-free and krispie-free chocolates from the stash and put them in a microwave-safe glass container, preferably something with a handle and a pouring spout, like a large Pyrex measuring cup. Add about 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Microwave the cream and chocolate at 80-percent power in 20 second bursts, or until the chocolate melts. Remove it (carefully!), stir (carefully!) and then pour it (carefully!) over ice cream -- or, ideally, into several sanitized glass jelly jars, so you can give them away to someone else.
2.) Candy Pizza. Press your favorite cookie dough into a pie tin, then cover with a thick pool of melted chocolate candies. Top with whatever chocolate goodies you have left -- Raisinets, Reeces Pieces, M&Ms, shattered Heath Bars, crumbled Butterfingers -- drizzle with melted Milk Duds, dot with mini marshallows, and bake. Cut into wedges to serve.
3.) Surprise brownies. Chocolate and peanut butter are a perfect match; so is chocolate and mint. Whip up a batch of your favorite brownies, pour half the batter in the pan, and then scatter on a layer of whole peanut-butter cups or Peppermint Patties. Top with the remaining batter and bake.
4.) Fruity Popcorn Balls. OK, I haven't made these -- one of my kids is a fiend for all things fruity, so the Skittles and Starburst disappeared almost immediately. But if you have leftover chewy, fruit-flavored, taffy-like candies lying around, you can try this recipe from Cooks.com: In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of light corn syrup, 2 tablespoons water, and 8 ounces of candy fruit chews. Melt over low heat, stirring until smooth, then bring to a boil for five minutes. Cool slightly, pour over 8 cups of already-popped popcorn, spray your hands with non-stick spray, and shape the gooey mixture into balls. My teeth hurt just typing this.
5.) Hard candy "stained glass" cookies. Make (or buy) your favorite sugar cookie dough (or follow this recipe). Roll it out to 1/4-inch thick, and cut out shapes with floured cookie cutters. Trace a smaller version of each shape from each cookie, leaving a 3/4-inch border; cut out the smaller shape. Fill the hole with crushed hard candies -- using one color per cookie will result in a neater treat. The candy will melt as the cookie bakes (cool completely before handling)
If all else fails, you can always send the stuff elsewhere. Halloween Candy Buy Back will pay $1 a pound for your kids candy; they ship the sweets to soldiers overseas. Go to halloweencandybuyback.com and plug in your zip code to see if a dentist in your area is participating in the program. You can also ship it directly to OperationGratitude.com by mailing it, no later than Dec. 5, to Operation Gratitude/California Army National Guard, 17330 Victory Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91406, Attn: Charlie Othold.
What are you doing with your leftover Halloween candy this year?