The Uneaten

Don't be spooked by leftover Halloween candy. Here are tricks to make use of those unclaimed treats.

October 30, 2002|By Suzanne White | Suzanne White,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Are you usually haunted by Halloween candy long after the day has passed?

Halloween is the top candy-producing holiday in the country, with sales this year expected to be about $2 billion, according to the National Confectioners Association. The group says more than 9 billion pieces of candy corn will be produced, enough to circle the moon nearly four times.

But it doesn't take a culinary ace to recycle leftover Halloween candy into treats for the whole family.

Adrian Ashton, chef at Cafe Mileto in Germantown, learned how easy it is to use candy in desserts when he first made his popular Snickers Cheesecake with Caramel Graham-Cracker Crust for a child's birthday.

The youngster was fond of Snickers, so Ashton froze, chopped and used the candy bars as a base for a cheesecake. The dessert was a hit, and the chef plans to feature it on the menu where he works.

"Cheesecake is the perfect foundation to set the caramel flavors," Ashton said, adding that other candies such as Butterfingers and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups could be used instead of Snickers.

Chris Laurich, a mother of two girls, Amalie, 12, and Hannah, 8, has a "no waste" philosophy when it comes to food and especially Halloween candy.

"My mom recycled, and we ate what was there," said Laurich, a senior director with the Pampered Chef, a home-products company. She teaches classes on getting kids involved in the kitchen.

At her home in Woodsboro, Halloween goodies move from nibbling to recycling in about a week. Making a Giant Cookie Pizza with unclaimed candy is a tradition for Laurich and her daughters.

"I let my girls make this and use their imagination with the formation of candies," she said. "We have even put it in a pizza box - you can get them from your local pizza shop - and given the cookie pizzas as gifts. People love them, and they're homemade."

The National Confectioners Association has a Web site, candyusa.org, featuring craft and baking ideas to put candy to good use. One idea is to make a Halloween picture frame using hard candies.

"Candy corn would be perfect for this frame because it is seasonal," said Susan Fussell, the association's director of communications. "You could then put in a picture of your child in their Halloween costume."

Richard Stuthmann, director of culinary arts at Baltimore International College, said consumers are so used to buying candy-based products from the store that they overlook what can be made at home. You can stick M&M's into cookies and ice cream, blend candy into milkshakes like fast-food chains and sprinkle crunchy sweets on top of desserts.

Melting fun-sized chocolate bars for a fondue or to coat fruit is an excellent way to use some of the candy, he said. Or buy a tube of sugar-cookie dough and push the hard candies in the center before placing them in the oven.

If you still have candy left over in December, think about decorations for gingerbread houses.

"There are so many things you can have fun with. Melt down candy corn to make windows or use the candy corn as roof tiles. Lollipops are great decorations for fences around the gingerbread house," Stuthmann said.

Giant Chocolate-Toffee Cookies

Makes about 18

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 3/4 cups (packed) brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

five 1.4-ounce chocolate-covered English toffee bars (such as Heath), coarsely chopped (do not use English toffee bits)

1 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in bowl; whisk to blend. Stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until melted and smooth. Remove from over water. Cool to lukewarm.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs in bowl until thick, about 5 minutes. Beat in chocolate mixture and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, then toffee and nuts. Chill batter until firm, about 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment or waxed paper. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto sheets, spacing 2 1/2 inches apart. Bake just until tops are dry and cracked but cookies are still soft to touch, about 15 minutes.

Cool cookies on sheets. Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

- From "The Flavors of Bon Appetit 2001" by the editors of "Bon Appetit," copyright 2001, used by permission of Clarkson Potter/Publishers

Giant Cookie Pizza

Serves 8 to12 1 package refrigerated cookie dough, any variety

1 container prepared frosting

assorted candies (i.e., candy corn, gummy worms, gum drops, M&M's, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice cookie dough as if making cookies. Arrange on round baking sheet (stone) and join together with rolling pin to form crust.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden-brown. Cool completely. Frost entire cookie and decorate with candies.

- From Chris Laurich, the Pampered Chef

Quick Trifle Parfaits

assorted candies

1 container nondairy topping

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