A house full of bags of mini Milky Way and Snickers bars, Gobstoppers and Nerds is almost a necessary evil this time of year. But after the trick-or-treaters have come and gone, what’s a cook to do with all that leftover candy?
First, consider reducing your haul — by U.S. Census estimates, most of the 24 pounds of candy we consume annually is eaten around Halloween. Dentists around the country are offering to buy back candy for $1 per pound. You’ll get extra cash for healthier fare, and the sweets are sent to U.S. troops abroad. (Operation ShoeBox the same without the kickback, if you’re feeling selfless.) “I did it last year and got the best thank you note,” says Stephanie Corey of Miss Stephanie’s Potions.
It’s time to get creative. When in doubt, chopped, frozen chocolate can last months for use in cooking. Try these recipes to use up your Halloween stash during the rest of the holiday season:
Indian Corn Truffles
Pamela Braun of My Man’s Bely.com makes these truffles from Indian Corn, the candy corn that’s brown, red and white — which has a more chocolate-y taste. “These truffles are easy to make and would be a perfect addition to the Thanksgiving meal that’s coming up,” she says.
Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies
Plug “candy corn” into the leftover wizard at BigOven.com and one of the recipes that pops up are these turkey-shaped sugar cookies. (The corn makes great tail feathers.)
Halloween Rocky Road Brownies
Flour company White Lily has a candy-and-marshmallow-topped brownie recipe. “The rich flavor of the brownie is delicious when paired with festive candy corn and a marshmallow topping,” says a spokeswoman.
Halloween Rocky Road Bars
Close, but no brownies: Frugal Foodie makes a version of Nigella Lawson’s bars year-round. For Halloween, she uses chopped Snickers bars and Rolos, but a number of candy options from your Halloween bag will work just fine.
Here’s a DIY fancy coffee shop drink. “Just drop a fun-size chocolate bar in your coffee,” suggests a spokeswoman for Eight O’ Clock Coffee.
Quirky, but fun. Dental supply company SmileMakers is sponsoring a Halloween contest encouraging kids to use their candy to decorate canned pears. Licorice becomes octopus arms, Swedish fish become turkey feathers, etc. And then, of course, eat the results after snapping a photo to submit.
Chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups feature as an ingredient and a topping in this recipe.
No-Gingerbread Candy House
“We take all the candy left over and make a candy house,” says Mint.com reader Heidi Mylo. Construct the house out of cardboard, and use frosting to cement pieces.
“The secret to this is once the candy is on the house, it does not get eaten,” Mylo says. It’s just a great decoration throughout the holiday season.
Frugal Foodie uses 3 Musketeers and Milky Way bars in chocolate cupcakes. Freeze mini candy bars and make cupcakes as usual, any recipe. Place a frozen bar in the middle of each cupcake just before baking. That way, the candy melts but doesn’t really blend into the rest of the cupcake batter.
Make your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, or use store-bought dough. Spread the dough onto a greased round cookie pan so that it is roughly pizza shaped. Top the baked cookie with a variety of candy, as well as chocolate or caramel sauce. You can also add some candy before baking, if you want some that’s more melted.
Frugal Foodie is a journalist based in New York City who spends her days writing about personal finance and obsessing about what she’ll have for dinner. Chat with her on Twitter through @MintFoodie http://www.twitter.com/mintfoodie.