Tuesday, November 2, 2010

5 things to do with all that Halloween candy

The costumes have been put away (or, at my house, tossed somewhere in the vicinity of the dress-up box). The pumpkins are still sitting on the front step, faces mostly removed, masquerading as "Harvest Decorations" -- in spite of the fact that I don't decorate. The only thing left to tackle is the 100 or so pounds of Halloween candy that's sitting on my countertop.

My husband has been steadily chipping away at the mountain of Almond Joys, and my 4-year-old has told us in no uncertain terms that the Kit Kats are "the very best treats EVER." My 6-year-old is fond of fruity, gummy, chewy things. But everything else? Is fair game.

Aside from bringing it all into the office -- and incurring the wrath of your coworkers, who are probably trying to get rid of all of their candy -- 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 marshmallows, 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.) 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)

5.) Send the stuff elsewhere. The 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. 3, 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?

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