Chefs share creative ways for using up Halloween candy

Halloween will soon be here, which means it’s time to stock up on candy for trick-or-treaters. For those of us with a

Halloween will soon be here, which means it’s time to stock up on candy for trick-or-treaters. For those of us with a sweet tooth, there’s one problem: Having all those extra confections around the house makes us prone to picking, grazing and gobbling our way through bags of sugary snacks. Oops.

If you’re going to skim something for yourself off the top of the candy bowl, you might as well get creative. So we asked some local chefs to share ideas on how to use conventional candies as ingredients for more interesting baked treats. These will be perfect snacks if you’re hosting a Halloween home party. And besides, cooking with candy is a great way to make use of the surplus from your kid’s All Hallows’ Eve haul.

Wicked Chocolate “Trick or Treat” Cake

by Danny Angelopolus, pastry chef at Henrietta’s Table

Angelopolus, like many of us, has fond childhood memories of coming home on Halloween night, dumping out his pillowcase, and seeing colorful candies spread before him. That mishmash of munchies was the inspiration for brownie-like 2-ounce cakes, which can be made with any assortment of iconic candies, from Snickers to Twix. Angelopolus, who helms the pastry program at Henrietta’s Table, a stalwart spot for classic New England cuisine inside Harvard Square’s Charles Hotel, bakes the candies into the cakes and uses them as toppings, too.

Wicked Chocolate “Trick or Treat” Cake

4 oz. (1 stick) butter

13 oz. plain chocolate candies (Hershey’s Miniatures or similar)

3 whole eggs

2/3 c. sugar

1/3 c. all-purpose flour (sifted)

1/4 t. baking powder (sift with flour)

1/4 c. assorted trick-or-treat candies (Snickers, Milky Way, Twix, Rolo, candy corns, etc. Break whole bars into small pieces no larger than the size of a grape.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grate or chop the 13 ounces of plain chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.

In a microwave, melt the butter and pour it over the bowl of chopped chocolate. Stir until chocolate is completely melted and well blended with butter. If there are still lumps of chocolate, return to microwave and heat in 3-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. (Be careful not to microwave too long, as the chocolate can easily burn.) Set aside.

Combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk together for a minute or so until the eggs and sugar increase in volume a bit and become a pale yellow color.

Pour the melted chocolate mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Stir until combined. Stir in the sifted flour and baking powder. Fold in desired chopped Halloween candy, but save some of the candies for topping the cakes after baking and cooling.

Spoon the batter evenly into a greased muffin pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 minutes. The cakes will puff up a bit, become firm to the touch and slightly pull away from the pan.

Cool and unmold cakes from the pan. Spread the top of each cake with desired amount of chocolate ganache icing using the following recipe. (You may substitute with favorite homemade or store-bought icing.) Top the ganache with the reserved candies.

Eat as is, or heat slightly in microwave and serve with ice cream.

Yields 12 2-ounce cakes.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

10 oz. semisweet chocolate (use your favorite brand or more plain chocolate candies)

1 c. heavy cream

2 t. butter, at room temperature

Bring heavy cream to a simmer and pour over chopped or grated chocolate. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in soft butter. If there are still lumps of chocolate, return to microwave and heat in 3-second intervals, stirring in between, until melted. Set the ganache aside until it cools to room temperature and has a spreadable consistency.

Candy Corn Caramel Popcorn

by Paul Turano, chef at Cook Newton

Turano now has another door to knock: Over the weekend he opened a second location of his Newton-founded restaurant, Cook, in Needham. And if you decide to go trick-or-treating at his eateries, you’ll find a few favorite snacks he loves to bring back to his menu around Halloween. Among them is this twist on caramel popcorn that melts down candy corn for a sweet extra something.

Candy Corn Caramel Popcorn

2 c. candy corn

2 c. brown sugar

1/2 lb. butter

1/2 c. light corn syrup

1 t. salt

1 t. baking soda

7 qts. popcorn

Preheat oven to 200 degrees.

In a 4-quart heavy pan, boil the candy corn, brown sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt to the “soft ball stage” (234 to 238 degrees). Add baking soda and stir well. Pour over popcorn, stir to coat. Lay out on Silpat- or parchment-lined baking sheets and bake at 200 degrees for about an hour, stirring every 10-15 minutes.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats

by Robert Differ, pastry chef at Bar Boulud

Today you’ll find Differ creating impressive confections at the Boston outpost of star chef Daniel Boulud’s French bistro. But he grew up in bayou country of Louisiana, where he and his siblings would ogle over the floats in the annual Mardi Gras parade. The highlight, he says, was when celebrants would toss down strings of beads and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — so now he’s created his own variation on classic Rice Krispies Treats that make use of that favorite candy.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Rice Krispies Treats

6 c. Rice Krispies cereal

3 T. unsalted butter

1/2 c. creamy peanut butter

16-oz. package marshmallows

10-oz. package Reese’s Mini Pieces

20 miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, coarsely chopped

Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with an even coating of cooking spray. In a large saucepan, melt butter over low heat. Add 10 ounces of marshmallows and stir until melted. Mix in the peanut butter until thoroughly combined. Add half the Rice Krispies and the bag of Reese’s Mini Pieces and mix. Stir in the remaining Rice Krispies.

Pour into the prepared baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and press down to flatten evenly. Melt the remaining marshmallows, and drizzle across the top. Add chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups immediately. Let completely cool to set, then cut. Leave at room temperature.

Butter “Finger” Eclairs

by Joshua Livsey, pastry chef at Harvest

For Livsey, taste has much to do with texture. That’s why his all-time favorite candy is a Butterfinger. It’s the treat he always tried to hoard as a kid on Halloween. Though he’s earned kudos for his from-scratch desserts at Harvard Square’s Harvest, Livsey has also created a recipe for eclairs that actually use the candy as an ingredient. They’re filled with a Butterfinger mousse, decorated to look like a finger, and the candy “even adds a little crunch, to resembles bones of a finger,” Livsey says.

Butter “Finger” Eclairs

1 2⁄3 c. milk

13 T. butter (1 stick and 5 T.)

1 1⁄2 t. salt

1 T. sugar

1 c. all-purpose flour

8 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bring the milk, sugar, salt and butter to a light simmer in a medium-sized pot. Add the flour, continue to cook and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and the bottom of the pot just starts to brown. Place the dough in a KitchenAid mixer with paddle. Mix until cooled slightly. Add eggs one at a time, scraping between additions.

Use a piping bag with a large round tip to pipe the dough in roughly 5-inch-long segments onto a parchment-lined sheet pan. Pipe some dough under parchment in the corners to prevent it from moving. Bake at 350 degrees until centers are fully baked.

Allow the eclairs to cool before poking three holes on the underside and filling with mousse (recipe follows). Use chocolate to glue candy corn or sliced almonds on the end to make “fingernails.”

Butterfinger mousse

1 c. peanut butter

2 c. heavy cream

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 c. Butterfinger candy, chopped

Place cream, sugar and peanut butter in a KitchenAid mixer fitted with a whisk. Whip to medium/stiff peaks. Fold in chopped Butterfinger candy. Place in piping bag with a medium round tip to fill eclairs.

Makes 30 eclairs.

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    Article Chefs share creative ways for using up Halloween candy compiled by www.bostonherald.com

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