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Bite Of MN: Happy Halloween

It is getting more and more like Halloween weather with every hour that passes. The sky is grey, the wind is whipping and the rain is making everything a mess but by Saturday, things should be clearing up a bit … or so they say.

I am not really a Halloween person. I tried, but I failed. So instead of dressing up and heading to parties (which I did for several years), I prefer to do my own thing and observe the Halloween shenanigans from afar.

One of the things I dislike about Halloween is the candy. Don't get me wrong, I love candy and I love treating kids, but trick or treating in my neighborhood is so unpredictable. Some years I run out of candy while other years I have too much candy leftover. Plus, I'd honestly rather give out fresh fruit, but what fun is that?

Since I'm apt to toss my leftover candy simply to avoid eating it, I decided re-purposing the candy would be a better idea. Below you'll find a few creative ways to use leftover Halloween candy (if you actually have leftovers).

1.) Snickers Cookies

This recipe comes from the Pillsbury Bake Off and I've made these several times over the years. I love the Snickers surprise in the middle and kids can help with this recipe. If you don't have Snickers, substitute another candy bar (Twix, Butterfinger and peanut butter cups work well) cut into small pieces.

Snickers Bar Cookies
(makes 20 cookies)

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
20 mini Snickers bars, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, butter, peanut butter, vanilla and eggs. Beat well. In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to sugar mixture. Mix well.

Shape ¼ cup dough smoothly around 1 mini Snickers bar, making sure bar is completely covered. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Continue shaping dough and candy bars, placing cookies 4 inches apart. Bake for 13 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown and puffy. Cool for 10 minutes on cookie sheet. Transfer to cooling racks and cool completely.

2.) Halloween Peanut Butter and Toffee Candy Bark

This recipe comes from the latest issue of Bon Appetit and is a great way to use leftover candy. While it calls for Heath, M&M's and Butterfinger, be creative and use what you have.

1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips
3 2.1-ounce Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular 1-inch pieces
3 1.4-ounce Skor or Heath toffee candy bars, cut into irregular 3/4-inch pieces
8 0.55-ounce 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

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 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.

3.) Trail Mix

Candy corn, Skittles, peanuts, M&M's and other bite-sized candy work well mixed with nuts and dried fruits for a twist on the traditional trail mix. Combine in a jar or a plastic bag and enjoy!

Crystal Grobe writes the Bite of Minnesota blog as well as Cafe Cyan.

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