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Opinion

Interesting, delicious solutions for dealing with leftover Halloween candy

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt

November 4, 2011

Halloween is over, the witches have put their broomsticks back in the closet and hung up their hats. Vampires have retired to their coffins for much needed rest. Mummies are wrapped up with more important things. Zombies are back to waiting for the apocalypse. And you? Well let’s hope you’ve taken off the costume by now, and are happily eying that bulging bag of candy. But with so much candy maybe it’s time to try some creative uses for it, besides eating it. There are many things you can do with your leftover candy, some may surprise you.

Try to incorporate your candy into some baked goods. This can be as easy
as adding some M&M’s to cookie dough. To personalize your cookies, pick a standard chocolate chip cookie dough recipe (see above for one of my favorites) and substitute your favorite candy for the chocolate chips.

Keep in mind Starburst, licorice, Skittles, and sucker types of candies are probably not the best candidates for this type of candy mix-in. They will end up gooey, and not the chocolaty goodness gooey. We’re talking a full-on elbow grease effort to clean off the cookie sheets when a Starburst is put in the oven. Try for something similar to chocolate chips, a candy with a chocolate base or something with nuts. Reese’s will give
your cookies a great peanut butter chocolate chip taste, whereas Butterfingers would give them a unique crunch and chewy aspect. Another fun way to use candy in baked goods is mixing it in with quick bread. Quick breads can be baked from a prepackaged mix or made from scratch. Again, I would follow the same guidelines for the cookies when choosing which candies to mix in. These tips and candy mixins can be used for muffins, cupcakes, cakes, brownies and blondies.

There are other ways to put candy into your cookie that doesn’t require baking. Truffles and parfaits are simple ways to use up the candy, especially the ones that got crushed at the bottom of your bag. The possibilities with these two are endless; it’s all based on personal preference so you can be sure to end up with something satisfying. Start with pudding, yogurt, or whipped cream. Next pick granola, vanilla wafers (crushed or whole), shortbread cookies, animal crackers, or cubed cake pieces. Then choose a candy that will go well with the combination you picked. With these choices you can layer it in a bowl, otherwise it looks great in a clear glass so you can see the layer divisions. Fruit is also a nice touch to this type of treat. If you’d prefer the easy way out, just top off a Snack Pack pudding or yogurt cup with crushed candy. If you’d prefer something just a little less sweet you can always toss some Snickers crumbles into a leafy green salad or a whipped cream and fruit salad. Don’t limit yourself; experiment and have some fun with your culinary side.

If you want to use up that candy without having to eat it, donate it. This is a great route to take and you will feel good about it, too! Many nursing homes welcome candy donations. As do food shelves. The River Falls Food Pantry is right on Main Street past the Dish and The Spoon Café and Bo Jon’s Floral. However call ahead of time to avoid lugging all that candy there only to find they have guidelines on which types they accept. Other donation options are sending the candy to troops. Purchase a box from the U.S. Postal Service with a flat rate and put some candy in it. Make sure the candy is packaged well. You don’t want the chocolate melting all over the place. If you are concerned that it won’t last, put it in a separate zipper plastic bag before placing it in the box. Consider putting in a little message to personalize the donation. Donations go a long way; they really mean something to others.

Don’t let your leftover candy sit there and get stale, I challenge you to pick one of the above and give it a try. Have other uses for candy? I’d love to hear them, send me your favorites.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

The soft and chewy aspect of this recipe reminds me of Sweet Martha’s from the Minnesota State Fair. I also love how these cookies stay fresh for a couple of days, retaining their softness instead of becoming as hard as a hockey puck after cooling off.

2/3 c. butter flavored shortening 2/3 c. butter, softened
1 c. white sugar
1 c. packed light brown sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbs. vanilla extract
3 1⁄2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 c. milk chocolate chips (This is where you substitute your candy!)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

2. Cream together the shortening, butter, and both sugars until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.

3. Add the baking soda, salt, and flour.

4. Stir in the crushed/crumbled candy of your choice. (Tip: sometimes it is less messy to use a rolling pin to crush your candy while it is still in its wrapper.)

5. Use a tablespoon to shape the dough into balls. Don’t roll the balls; you just want the top rounded. Place these onto un- greased baking sheets.

6. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until the centers are set and very light brown. Don’t over bake or they will be harder. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing from the baking sheets otherwise they might fall apart.

This will make a large batch, close to 70 cookies. If you want you can cut the recipe in half, but trust me these cookies go fast!

Brittney Pfenning­-Wendt is a columnist for the Student Voice.