By the time you read this, another Halloween will be lurking in the shadows right around the corner. And chances are, you’ll have some time and/or money invested in preparing for it, because, …
By the time you read this, another Halloween will be lurking in the shadows right around the corner.
And chances are, you’ll have some time and/or money invested in preparing for it, because, according to my husband Fleck—who cares about such things—Americans now spend more on Halloween than on any other holiday, with the exception of Christmas.
That means that we’re buying more scary costumes. More ornate decorations. More Halloween party hats and supplies. More savory snacks.
And of course, more candy.
That’s always been the driving force of Halloween—the candy.
I grew up in Liberty, NY. Halloween was always a huge deal in our close-knit neighborhood. (My mother, who lives in the house I grew up in, will tell you that it still is.) Just about every residence within six blocks of us was decorated to the max. And just about everyone living there happily handed out candy.
Of course, we all knew who handed out the best candy—the full-sized bars. Those houses were always hit first because nobody wanted to take a chance that they’d run out before we got there. There would be time to grab the fun-sized variety a little later. (And I won’t say anything about the one or two places that handed out apples.)
This isn’t to say that pranks weren’t pulled. Remember how retailers would suddenly stock shaving cream in a prominent spot at the front of the store a bit before October 31? It seems that you can’t have treats without tricks.
“It was the same for us,” my husband Fleck—who grew up in Ellenville, NY—says. “I worked in a drug store as a kid, and I always had to drag a cardboard display filled with Barbasol up by the front register a few days before Halloween. And it seemed to me that grocery stores suddenly had a larger supply of cheap eggs around the same time.”
Of course, any time you’re handing out something for free, there are those who attempt to take advantage.
“My brother and I used to hand out the candy at our house because our folks didn’t like to be bothered with stuff like that,” Fleck remembers. “Well, as time crept up on the curfew, we’d get these guys dressed in plastic garbage bags and covered in raw eggs wanting candy. They looked like they were 30. That’s not trick or treating; that’s begging and soliciting.”
Still, even though there were some spoilers who would grab the householder’s bucket and empty the entire supply of goodies into their own bag, most of my memories of Halloween feature much more fun than fear.
One of the highlights was coming back home after successfully filling our plastic pumpkins and pouring the loot of the evening out on the kitchen table. When my kids were younger, they would gather up their candy in front of them and begin bargaining with each other as if they were playing poker.
“I’ll raise you two fireballs for that Kit-Kat.”
“No way! It’s four fireballs and a Reese’s, or there’s no deal.”
“Four and a Reese’s? That’s too high.”
“You’re forgetting that this is a full-size Kit-Kat.”
Another memory I have? Wondering exactly what to do with the mountain of leftover Halloween candy. After all, there comes a time when even the kid with the biggest sweet tooth says, “Yeah, I can’t eat any more of that right now.”
And there are only so many Snickers bars that a mom can sneak for herself.
That’s why I decided we could put together these Chocolate Leftover Halloween Candy cookies as our project for this month. They are easy to make, and you’ll be surprised at how much leftover Halloween candy you’ll be able to put to productive use.
And who doesn’t love the heartwarming smell of baking cookies in the fall?
An added suggestion: why not freeze a few batches of cookies as well? That way, you can take them out when you feel like it, and have a little bit of Halloween all year!
So, go right ahead—buy those costumes. Put up those decorations. Get set to flip on that porch light and hand out those treats to the little monsters that invade your space once a year.
And don’t worry about that leftover candy, because now you have a foolproof plan for handling it.
For a step-by-step tutorial and a video, visit riverreporter.com/kims-kitchen.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup or 2 4-ounce sticks butter, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Melt butter and set aside. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Mix butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl.
Add eggs, one at a time. Mix well after each addition. Gradually pour into flour mixture.
Roll dough into 2-inch balls. Place onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Flatten dough slightly, and press Halloween candy pieces into the dough.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cookies are puffed.
Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Kim M. Simons is an artist, food artist and cake artist. Kim and her team, Ghosts with the Most, were finalists on Food Network’s “Halloween Wars” in 2021. She was also an integral part of the winning team on Food Network’s “Holiday Wars” in 2019. Kim is available to teach classes individually or in groups. She will also take on baking and painting projects. Visit Kim at www.cakesbykimsimons.com.
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