Inspired by conversations on the Food52 Hotline, we're sharing tips and tricks that make navigating all of our kitchens easier and more fun.
Today: Get creative with all of that leftover Halloween candy.
Perhaps you bought tons of Halloween candy for all of those trick-or-treaters that will definitely hike up the five flights of stairs to your apartment door (five bags seems reasonable, right?). Perhaps you’re always amazed to find that almost all of the candy is still there come November 1st, even when you and a friend ate two bags on your own. Or maybe you have kids who collected more candy than they can possibly eat without giving themselves sugar-related meltdowns. Either way, it’s November, and here you are with a lot of extra fun-sized bars and candy corn and not a lot to do with them.
So, what can one do with bags and bags of leftover Halloween candy? Eating it plain is obviously a great option, but even if you have the biggest sweet tooth, things can start to get boring when you’re on your 100th bite-sized Kit Kat. Before you start pawning your candy off on hungry coworkers, consider giving it a new life instead.
Here are some of our favorite ways to use up leftover candy:
Skip the trip to the dentists’ office by donating sweet treats for troops through The Halloween Candy Give Back Program. Register to donate your leftover candy through the nonprofit's website and soon enough, your leftover candy bars and Reese’s peanut butter cups will be placed in a care package and sent to troops and first responders across the U.S. and overseas. They accept all unopened candy donations, even if they are individual pieces of fun size candy bars that have been removed from a larger package.
Stir Them Into Your Ice Cream
Grab a pint of vanilla ice cream—or chocolate, or caramel, or whatever flavor you like—and let it soften for 20 to 30 minutes, until it's soft enough to stir. Chop up your chocolate bars, peanut butter candy, or Twix bars, and fold it in; store your spooky surprise in a lidded plastic container or a loaf pan and re-freeze. (If you're feeling lazy, you can always just sprinkle your leftover Halloween candy on top of your ice cream, too. Add a swirl of whipped cream and call it a sundae).
Blend Them With Your Ice Cream Instead
Blizzard, concrete, Friend-Z—no matter what you call it, ice cream swirled with chunks of candy is awesome. To make one at home, just put your candy bars and some softened ice cream in a blender and pulse until the candy is incorporated. Try it with Reese’s pieces, Butterfingers, M&Ms, Heath bars, or Snickers for a frozen treat inspired by the Dairy Queen delight. If you want a thinner milkshake, add a splash of milk, too.
Add Them to Your Trail Mix
Because the best trail mix has chocolate candy in it. Or peanut M&M's. Or both. Combine nuts such as cashews or peanuts, dried fruit like raisins or cranberries, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, and any candy leftover from trick-or-treating. We guarantee you’ll want handful after handful of this sweet, protein-packed snack.
Bake Them Into Cookies
Next time you’re making chocolate chip cookies, reach for your leftover chocolate candies instead of the chips. Your cookies will be way more exciting. (Things like Heath Bars, chopped Snickers, and crushed peanut butter candy also work well here).
Put Them in Your Lunch Box
Remember when you were younger, and the weeks after Halloween were the best because you got to eat a few candies every day at lunch? Channel your inner child and throw a few little treats into your lunch box for lunch dessert if you’re working in the office. Or even if you’re still WFH, grab a candy bar for an afternoon pick-me-up.
Fold Into Your Granola
Bake your favorite granola recipe, then stir in Hershey's kisses, chopped peanut butter cups (or mini ones), or any other melty mini chocolate candy while it's still warm. It will melt and then firm up once your granola cools. Voilá! Now you get to eat candy for breakfast and call it cereal. We’re not judging.
Freeze Them for Later
Candy can freeze surprisingly well, so you can save some of your Halloween spoils so they don’t, well, spoil. And if you’ve never tried a frozen Twix, Snickers, or peanut butter cup, you’re in for an amazing treat.
Leftover Halloween Candy Recipes
This might seem obvious, but one of the best ways to use up leftover M&Ms from Halloween is to bake cookies! Equal parts of granulated sugar and light brown sugar help to create the just-right texture that is sweet with a slightly caramelized edge.
The reason why we love kitchen sink cookies—and why they’re so good for using up leftover Halloween candy—is because you can throw a little bit of this and a little bit of that in. Gaby Dalkin uses M&Ms, chocolate chips, dried apricots, and dried cranberries but there’s no reason why you can’t add white chocolate bars, chopped Halloween-shaped pretzels, or any other candy that you can’t wait to get rid of once and for all.
If you have leftover Hershey’s chocolate bars (especially dark chocolate ones), melt them in the microwave and use them as the base for this chocolate bark. The quality might not be on par with really good baking chocolate, but it’s such an easy and efficient way to use up an overload of Halloween leftovers.
Rice Krispies treats are a blank canvas for candy and the nuttiness of the brown butter offsets the sweetness of some add-ins, like leftover candy corn or Snickers bars. Fold chopped Halloween candy into the cereal mixture or sprinkle it on top, depending on how much you want to get rid of.
This article originally ran on October 29, 2014. We're re-running it in honor of, of course, Halloween!
Tell us—how do you like to use up your leftover Halloween candy?