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Monday, February 26, 2024
Feb. 26, 2024

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You could eat Halloween candy – or cook with it

Get in spirit of season with monster mishmash treats

2 Photos
Halloween Candy Bark (Huy Mach/St.
Halloween Candy Bark (Huy Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch) Photo Gallery

In all good conscience, I cannot really recommend that anyone try the recipes in this story. They may sound delicious — and believe me, they are — but they are the kind of food that a person could happily go his entire life without eating.

I’m talking about dishes made with leftover Halloween candy.

Any normal person takes candy that was not distributed to neighborhood ghosts and goblins and Kardashians and furtively devours it right out of the bag in the day or two after Halloween. But some people, those blessed with a specific kind of inspiration, look at the candy in its wrappers and see a blank culinary canvas.

“Snickers bars just don’t have enough calories on their own,” I imagine them saying. “How can I make them even more fattening?”

The answer, I am heartily sorry to say, is to add Cool Whip. And cream cheese. And powdered sugar.

Mix it all together, add chopped Granny Smith apples for tartness, and you have what is laughingly called a Snickers salad.

It’s good for you because it is a salad, right? Besides, it’s got those apples.

How does it taste? It tastes great. Of course it tastes great. It is totally evil and it was probably invented by some kind of evil genius, and anything so evil is almost certain to taste great.

But I was just getting started. I wanted more. Something even more decadent.

And thus it was that I was skating across the internet when I ran smack dab into Milky Way vodka.

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There it was: Something more decadent than a Snickers salad.

Milky Way vodka is what happens when you melt a bunch of Milky Ways and add them to vodka. The process is a little bit time consuming, but the whole thing, start to finish, only took me about a half-hour. And when it was over I had a bottle of Milky Way vodka.

Melting Milky Way bars is a little trickier than it sounds. You need to chop them up for speedier melting, and then stir them in a double boiler until they are thoroughly melted. They don’t turn into a liquid when they melt, they are stringy and sticky instead, but don’t worry. They liquefy with the addition of the vodka.

If that process is too much trouble, there is an easier way. Slice the Milky Way bars thin enough to fit in the neck of a bottle, and put them in a bottle of vodka. Tightly close the bottle and then run it through the dishwasher.

Seriously. The dishwasher cycle is hot enough to melt the candy bars in the bottle. Well, you may have to run it through twice. But it works. And again, when it is over you have a bottle of Milky Way vodka. A clean bottle.

Even easier, but admittedly less spectacular, is Halloween candy bark, though this recipe is not without a little spark of evil of its own.

You take chocolate. You melt it. Then you add chopped-up bits of leftover Halloween candy into that. What you end up with is chocolate, with chocolate stuck to it.

It is helpful to have different textures and colors in the Halloween candy you are adding; otherwise you end up with an unappetizing (but still delicious) blob of chocolate. Candies with nuts and crispy bits, and the colored shells of M&Ms, make a big difference.

Yes, it is sort of a mishmash. But in keeping with the spirit of the season, you can think of it as a monster mishmash.

Finally, I completely went over to the dark side (dark being the general hue of most candy bars) and made that highly popular fair food, fried candy bars.

Fried candy bars must have been invented by a cardiologist with a lot of payments still to make on his boat. There are those who will say the very thought of them is enough to close your arteries. There are others who will say it is totally worth it.

And fried Halloween candy bars are even better (and therefore worse) than regular ones because they are smaller. The smaller the bar, the larger the proportion of surface to be battered and fried.

If it helps, think of fried candy bars as chocolate tempura. The candy is dunked into a beer batter that fries up light and crispy while the chocolate inside starts to melt. When you bite into it, you get a delicate crunch followed by a gooey middle.

It’s ridiculously excessive, of course, but so is the whole concept of Halloween candy.

The recipe I used, incidentally, suggests serving them warm with vanilla ice cream. That’s ice cream calories on top of fried batter calories on top of chocolate calories.

In all good conscience, I can’t recommend that.

Halloween Candy Bark

Yield: 10 servings. Recipe by Michelle Buffardi, via Cooking Channel

20 ounces milk chocolate

15 pieces or packs of assorted Halloween candy, about 1 to 1½ cups

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, smoothing out any creases. Cut the candy bars into pieces. Set aside.

Create a double boiler by suspending a glass or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Add milk chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Do not overheat the chocolate.

Remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the melted chocolate onto the prepared baking sheet, using an offset or rubber spatula to spread it into a 10-by-12-inch oblong, about ¼-inch thick. Press the candy pieces into the chocolate, arranging them so each bite has a mix of flavors, colors and textures. Refrigerate the chocolate for 1 hour to completely set before breaking it into large pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 to 2 weeks.

Per serving: 420 calories; 22g fat; 13g saturated fat; 15mg cholesterol; 6g protein; 51g carbohydrate; 42g sugar; 2g fiber; 97mg sodium; 126mg calcium.

Milky Way Vodka

Yield: About 13 (2-ounce) servings. Recipe adapted from wikihow.com

1 (750ml) bottle vodka

½ (11-ounce) bag fun-size Milky Way bars, about 10, or 5 regular size bars

Pour out about 20 percent of the vodka from the bottle and save for future use. Slice the fun-size candy bars in half or cut up the regular-size bars into several pieces. Put a double boiler on to simmer, or create your own by placing a glass or metal bowl over the water, but not touching it.

Add the candy to the double boiler and stir. As the candy is melting, stir in a little bit of the vodka at a time. Keep mixing until everything becomes a smooth blend.

Pour the mixture back into the bottle and store in the freezer. The vodka will not freeze.

Alternatively, pour out about 25 percent of the vodka from the bottle and save for future use. Cut up the candy bars until they can fit into the neck of the bottle. Add the candy to the bottle of vodka. Seal tightly.

Run the bottle through the dishwasher cycle. When done, shake the bottle to combine. If necessary, run the bottle through the cycle again.

Fried Candy Bars

Yield: 4 servings. Recipe adapted from Chuck Hughes, via Cooking Channel

Oil, for frying

1¾ cups all-purpose flour

Pinch salt

One (12-ounce) bottle beer

8 Halloween-size candy bars (I used Snickers, Reese’s, Milky Way and Hershey’s bars)

Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer to 375 degrees, or in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, pour enough oil to fill the pan a few inches deep. Heat over medium heat until a deep-frying thermometer reaches 375 degrees or until a cube of bread dropped into the oil turns brown in 3 minutes.

Add flour and salt to a mixing bowl and whisk in the beer. Dip the candy bars into the batter, being careful to completely cover the chocolate. Drop the candy bars into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Serve warm.

Per serving: 315 calories; 10g fat; 4g saturated fat; 3mg cholesterol; 5g protein; 45g carbohydrate; 12g sugar; 1g fiber; 45mg sodium; 31mg calcium.

Snickers Salad

Yield: 10 servings. Adapted from a recipe by food.com

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar

12 ounces frozen whipped topping, such as Cool Whip, thawed

One (11.18 ounce bag) fun-size Snickers bars, about 19

2 Granny Smith apples

Using an electric mixer, mix cream cheese and powdered sugar until thoroughly blended. Fold in thawed whipped topping. Cut Snickers bars into bite-size chunks and add to mixture. Chop the apples into bite-size chunks; stir into mixture.

Chill at least 1 hour before serving. Chilling several hours, such as overnight, will lead to some liquid separating from the salad.

Per serving: 399 calories; 21g fat; 14g saturated fat; 28mg cholesterol; 4g protein; 47g carbohydrate; 36g sugar; 2g fiber; 133mg sodium; 55mg calcium.