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If your pantry is a graveyard of bite-sized candy, don’t despair. (Photo: YakobchukOlena/iStock)

Too Much Leftover Halloween Candy? Make a S’more.

Turn those fun-sized sweets into delicious desserts and decor

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So, you made it through Halloween. Now what? If your pantry is a graveyard of bite-sized candy, don’t despair. You can find more than a few good uses for these treats that don’t involve eating the whole bag yourself. To help, we spoke with two experts about the infinite repurposing possibilities of Halloween candy, from s’mores to skillet cookies. Here are five ideas for reinventing the holiday’s lost warriors.  

Halloween S’mores

S’mores season doesn’t have to end with summer. While this treat of graham crackers and marshmallows typically features melted Hershey’s milk chocolate, you can substitute pretty much any candy you can think of, from Nestle’s Crunch bars to KitKats to the peanutty Baby Ruth. Milk chocolate has a lower melting point than dark chocolate, and candies with caramel will take longer to melt than those without, so you may want to consider this as you make your selection. For thick chocolate bars, like Snickers, consider cutting them into chunks to help keep the mess under control.

Banana Boats

Lauren Chattman, author and coauthor of 20 cookbooks, including the James Beard Award winner Living Bread: Tradition and Innovation in Artisan Bread Making, uses leftover Reese’s in a banana boat recipe that truly shines. Unpeeled bananas are delicately sliced open and stuffed with marshmallows and peanut butter cups, wrapped in aluminum foil, and placed directly on the grates of a grill (or right over the embers of a wood fire). The result is a warm and melty dessert that resembles the famed peanut butter and banana sandwich—but about a thousand times better.

Holiday Candy Wreaths

“I love Halloween candy as much as the next mom, but after you’ve trick-or-treated your heart out, chances are there’s a lot left over,” says Jamie Gwen, cookbook author and host of the radio show Food and Wine with Jamie Gwen. For a recipe that can be made—and hung—outside, look no further than a holiday candy wreath, Gwen says. The forms you’ll need for this simple, edible craft can be found at your local craft store. Wrap the form with parchment paper, seal it with tape, and then affix your wrapped leftover candy to the covered form with hot glue, overlapping pieces until you have a wreath. “They’re super fun to make and a great gift for the holidays,” Gwen says. Hang one in advance of your next party and invite guests to grab a piece of candy as they come in.

Grilled Candy Muffins

Follow a traditional double-chocolate muffin recipe for this treat, which usually folds chocolate chips into a cocoa-based batter. But instead of chocolate chips, add in the Halloween candy of your choice: chop up Snickers bars, Hershey’s Special Dark, or even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Bake them on the grill or over a campfire as you would in the oven—they can be an excellent addition to your next camping trip; wrap them up and take them on a hike for Halloween on the go.

Cast-Iron Skillet Cookies

Leftover Halloween candy can be easily converted into one of the world’s most delicious comfort desserts: the skillet cookie. Not only does this massive cookie require nothing more than a single cast-iron pan (and a hot fire, of course), but it’s also imminently adaptable. Chattman suggests using M&M’s but plenty of other candies will do in a pinch. Think of the skillet cookie as the blank canvas that holds your post-Halloween baking dreams. Gwen suggests timing your cookie alongside your evening meal. “Place it on the grill while firing up dinner,” she says. “Your candy cookie pie will be read just in time for dessert.”

Recipes

Here, Chattman offers up two recipes that make the best use of leftover Halloween candy. Both call for specific types of candy, but feel free to improvise with what you have on hand. For the banana boats, think of chocolate-based candies that melt easily, like chopped Snickers, Twix, or even Butterfinger bars, which offer a satisfying crunch. The skillet cookie can take on whatever flavor profile you prefer, including caramel (think melted Milk Duds), nougat (Milky Way), or individual Hershey’s minis.

“Cooking over an open fire is different from putting something in the oven,” Chattman advises. “Every fire is different, so baking times are hard to predict. Keep a close eye on your items, and move them around the grill if necessary so they don’t burn before they bake through.”

Peanut Butter Cup Banana Boats

Warmed-on-the-grill bananas and melted peanut butter cups make a compelling combination in this dessert. 

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 ripe unpeeled bananas
1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup mini marshmallows

Directions
Preheat gas grill to medium-high, or set grill grids over the glowing embers of a wood fire. Make a lengthwise half-inch-deep cut into each banana peel, leaving a half-inch at both ends. Pry open each cut to form a pocket. Fill each pocket with peanut butter cups and marshmallows. Wrap each banana in a 12-inch square of aluminum foil, crimping the top edges of the foil to form a boat shape. Place on grill and heat, and peek inside occasionally. Remove when the chocolate has fully melted and the marshmallows are golden, typically five to ten minutes.

Cast-Iron Skillet M&M’s Cookie

This one-pan cookie leans into candy leftovers and the heat of an open fire. 

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup M&M’s (You can also use peanut M&M’s, if desired.)

Directions
Preheat grill to medium, or place grill grids over the cooler part of a wood fire. Place the butter in a ten- or 12-inch skillet and melt on the grill. Take the skillet off the heat and, using a spatula, stir in the sugars, then the egg, then the vanilla until smooth. Stir in the baking soda and salt, and then the flour until just combined. Spread mixture to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle the batter with the M&M’s, pressing them lightly into the cookie dough. Grill over indirect heat until the cookie is lightly browned on top but still a little soft in the center, about 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand ten minutes before slicing into wedges and serving warm.

Lead Photo: YakobchukOlena/iStock

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