This is an exciting month, not only do we have five Wednesdays, but the last Wednesday is Halloween! I’ll have to plan something extra special for my bonus holiday column.
But rest assured, I’ve already been thinking a lot about Halloween candy. Probably because Halloween candy has been in the stores since August, and those little bite-sized, foil-covered Milky Ways are calling my name.
So far, I’ve resisted. I’m the kind of person who buys Halloween candy the day of Halloween so I don’t dig into it ahead of time. And then I buy another bag the day after Halloween that I can hide from everyone else and try to eat just one a day. Like a vitamin, or maybe more of a wellness supplement.
And then for variety, I tend to skim a little from my kids’ trick-or-treating baskets as well. My kids are 2 and 5 — and the amount of candy they come home with is more than they could eat in a whole year! It gets exhausting to dole it out one or two pieces at a time, and argue about why they can’t have it at 7:30 a.m., or 7:30 p.m., for that matter. So this year I thought I’d plan ahead at some fun ways to use up excessive candy.
First up, a Butterfinger fruit dip. I never used to be into Butterfingers, I probably passed them onto my mom or my cousins. But after trying them again in recent years, I think they are pleasant enough. This dip base is sort of two parts cream cheese, two parts marshmallow fluff and one part Cool Whip, with crushed Butterfinger candy bars thrown in for little flavor bursts. The author recommended serving these with apple slices and graham crackers, which sounds good to me.
Second, one of my most favored candies, the Three Musketeer (which is very close to being a Milky Way, like a Milky Way on a diet). Adding Three Musketeers to a Mississippi mud cake? Heck, yeah! This is a nice and gooey chocolate cake, topped with toasted marshmallows, chocolate frosting, and chopped candy bars. I’m going to have to plan my whole day around the sugar rush that’s going to come from this one.
And third, peanut butter cookie lasagna to “use up” those little, totally addictive Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, though I don’t think anyone has a problem consuming peanut butter cups straight. It’s not so much a “lasagna” as a trifle, made with Nutter Butter cookies, but it’s a catchy name and definitely going to please peanut butter lovers. Plan to buy an extra bag of Reese’s before you make this one.
Butterfinger fruit dip
8 ounces cream cheese room temperature
7 ounces marshmallow fluff room temperature
4 ounces Cool Whip
3 full size Butterfinger candy bars
In a blender or food processor, finely grind the candy bars. Alternately, put them in a sealed bag and beat them with a mallet until crushed.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and marshmallow fluff until light and fluffy. Fold in the Cool Whip and all but a handful of the candy crumbs.
Spoon dip into a serving dish and sprinkle the remaining candy over the top.
Serve with apple slices and graham crackers.
Three Musketeer Mississippi mud cake
For the cake:
1 cup butter, at room temperature
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon salt
1 (10.5 ounce bag) miniature marshmallows
6 regular-size Musketeer candy bars, chopped in large chunks
For the chocolate frosting:
½ cup butter
⅓ cup milk
⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa, sifted
4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15-by-10-by-1-inch sheet pan with foil or parchment paper. Spray with nonstick spray.
Microwave 1 cup butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals until melted. Stir to combine and allow to cool. Once cool, add eggs and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, cocoa and salt. Then add egg mixture to flour mixture and mix until combined and smooth. Pour onto prepared sheet pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and spread marshmallows evenly over brownie layer. Return to oven and bake 8 to 10 minutes to toast marshmallows.
Remove from oven and immediately sprinkle with Musketeer candy bars.
Make chocolate frosting: Combine butter, cocoa and milk in a small sauce pan over low heat. Cook 2 to 3 minutes until butter is melted and mixture thickens slightly. Add confectioner's sugar one cup at a time, whisking to combine. Add vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Pour over slightly cooled cake.
Peanut butter cookie lasagna
1 box Nutter Butter cookies
Cool Whip or whip your own fresh whipped cream (1 cup heavy whipping cream plus a drop of sugar for sweetness)
Peanut butter cups
½ cup peanut butter, melted in microwave
1 box instant or regular vanilla pudding, prepared according to package
Line the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch pan with Nutter Butter cookies. Top with a drizzle of the melted peanut butter.
Add half of the pudding. Add half the Cool Whip or whipped cream. (I like to use a pastry bag so it is pretty but you can spread it if you prefer.)
Top with chopped peanut butter cups. Repeat the layering.
Decorate the top with crushed Nutter Butter cookies, peanut butter cups and a drizzle more of peanut butter.
Chill for 24 hours to allow the cookies to soften before serving.