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Tricks and Treats and Treat and Treats

Here are some options on what to do with all those leftover sweets.

The observance of Halloween, dating back to Celtic rituals thousands of years ago, has long been associated with images of spooks and goblins. But its greatest claim to fame has to be the beloved tradition of trick-or-treating. We know that hundreds of costumed youngsters arrive on our doorsteps full of anticipation each year, ready to collect their bounty. But where did it all originate?

As far back as the Middle or Dark Ages, the Catholic church approved the act of "souling," where beggars could go around asking for food, usually barley or oat cakes, in exchange for prayers. The prayers were thought to provide an extra bit of "insurance" that a dead person's spirit would be given entry into heaven. Although the tradition no longer exists in Ireland, it is believed to be the earliest known version of trick-or-treating.

Fast forward to 2012 and things have changed a bit. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 41 million children ages five to 14 across the country went trick-or-treating in 2010. Not only that, Americans spent an average of $66.28 on costumes, candy and decorations, with total spending for the holiday clocking in at $5.8 billion.

When all is said and done, there is no doubt that Halloween has gained some serious holiday notoriety in recent history. But when the little visitors have finished their rounds and you’ve had your “fix” of the delectable giveaways, what becomes of the rest of it? To answer that question, this week we’ve included recipes to put the rest of those treat to good use and even incorporate a healthy touch here and there with candy apples and frozen banana pops. Halloween Bark is a fun and colorful way to use up the remainder of your cache. And finally, Snickers Pie takes an old favorite to a whole new level of enjoyment. Trick or Treat!!!

Candy Apples

Ingredients:

A saucepan, a stirring spoon, a cookie sheet and something for greasing, like butter, margarine or cooking spray.

  • A candy thermometer.
  • 8 round wooden sticks, skewers, or pop side sticks.
  • 8 ripe but firm apples, preferably of a sweeter variety, like golden delicious
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup  light corn syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A collection of crushed candies for decoration: mix and match if you like with M&M’s and toffee bits or Kit Kat Bars and Peanut Butter Cups.

Directions:

In a large saucepan set over medium high heat, melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar and reduce heat to medium, stirring frequently, until the sugar is dissolved and the butter is incorporated. Add the corn syrup, mixing thoroughly, then stir in the cinnamon. Finally, add the sweetened condensed milk, and return to medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 235 degrees. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla; immediately dip apples.

Dipped apples: Hold the skewered apple at a 45 degree angle as you dip it into the caramel. Rotate the apple until it is coated completely. Allow excess caramel to drip off then place the dipped apples on the greased baking sheet. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Banana Pops 

Ingredients:

  • 2 Bananas
  • 6 oz melted chocolate
  • 4 snack size peanut butter cups

Directions:

  1. Halve 2 bananas crosswise. Insert a wooden stick into each piece; freeze the bananas and 4 snack size Peanut Butter Cups for 2 hours.
  2. Chop the frozen candy. Coat the frozen bananas in 6 ounces melted chocolate; sprinkle with the candy. Freeze on a parchment-lined plate until firm.

Halloween Bark

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 3 2.1-ounce Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bag candy corn
  • 8 peanut butter cups, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts
  • 3 ounces high-quality white chocolate chopped
  • Reese's Pieces and/or yellow and orange peanut M&M’s

Preparation:

Line baking sheet with foil. Stir chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4- inch thickness (about 12x10-inch rectangle). Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.

Put white chocolate in heavy small saucepan. Stir constantly over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm (not hot) to touch. Remove from heat. Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines. Scatter Reese’s Pieces, Candy Corn and M&M's over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate.

Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes. Slide foil with candy onto work surface; peel off foil. Cut bark into irregular pieces.

Snickers Pie

Crust:

  • 16 Oreo cookies, broken into rough pieces
  • 4 TBS unsalted butter melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Process cookies in a food processor until coarsely ground, then continue to process until fine, even crumbs. Sprinkle the butter over the crumbs and pulse to incorporate. Sprinkle the mixture into a 9-inch pie plate. Press into plate. Bake 10 – 15 minutes until set. Cool pie completely. 

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients and press into a buttered 9-inch glass pie pan. Bake about 5 min. Cool on rack. Maintain oven temp.

Fudge layer

  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cut in pieces)
  • 4 ounces  semisweet choc. chopped
  • 1 ounce unsweetened choc. chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into medium bowl. Combine butter and chocolates in a double boiler and stir until melted and smooth. Cool slightly. Using and electric mixer beat sugar, egg and egg yolk in a medium bowl until slightly thickened. Add vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended. Add dry ingredients and mix until just combined.  Pour into crust and bake until almost set (about 17 minutes). Cool on rack for 10 minutes. Cut up about 8 1/2-oz Snickers bars and place on fudge layer.

Cream cheese layer

  • 10 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
  • 1/3 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With an electric mixer, combime cheese and sugar, add egg and vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread mixture over Snickers and bake for about 15 minutes or until set. Cool on rack. Refrigerate and serve cold.

Drizzle store bought caramel sauce and chocolate sauce on top and sprinkle chopped peanuts before serving.

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