Don't skimp when buying Halloween candy this year. When you see "The Candy Bar Cookbook" (Longstreet Press, $17.95), you'll want to have plenty left over for making treats of your own.
This collection of 64 well-organized recipes offers creative ways for enjoying everything from candy corn to Hershey's Assorted Miniatures. There's even a recipe for Leftover Halloween Candy Cake.
"The Candy Bar Cookbook" has a historical ingredient as well. A collaboration of children's book author Alison Inches and California Culinary Academy graduate Ric McKown, the book folds her nostalgic affection for candy into his expert recipes.
A timeline tells you when your favorite candy was first produced, a special page at the back invites you to record candy memories and traditions, and candy-history anecdotes flavor almost every page. You can find out, for example, whose baby Ruth was, who Sugar Babies' mama and daddy were, and why members of the Van Halen band never eat brown M&M's.
The book contains only a pinch of pictures, unfortunately, but its compact size makes it fit more easily on a shelf. Anyway, the names of the recipes alone are enough to tantalize you: Peanut Butterfinger Pie, Milky Way Chocolate Cake With Caramel Buttercream Frosting, Almond Roca Buttercrunch Coffee Cake, and Brownies With Reese's Bites and Chocolate Glaze.... Once my daughter started reading these titles, I couldn't tear the book out of her hands.
"The Candy Bar Cookbook" would make a good family gift. There's a special section of children's recipes, and the holiday recipes would provide some creative fun.
We're looking forward to making Christmas tree ornaments out of melted Jolly Ranchers. After all, if you have a sweet tooth, Christmas is just around the corner from Halloween.
45 Hershey's Assorted Miniatures
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick spray. Coarsely chop the candy bars. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Add the baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until well blended. Fold in the chopped candy bars. Using an ice cream scoop or a regular spoon, scoop 1-inch rounds of dough onto a prepared cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until just golden. Let rest for 2 minutes before transferring to a rack. Cool completely before storing. Makes about 3 dozen cookies.
5 Kit Kat bars (1.5 ounces each)
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1-1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/3 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. In a food processor, finely chop the Kit Kat bars and spread evenly in the bottom of an 8-by-8-inch square pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a large bowl with electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on high. Add the powdered sugar and egg and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of the lemon extract and lemon zest, and mix well. Pour filling evenly over Kit Kat crust.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract, and softened butter, and blend with a fork until crumbly. Sprinkle topping evenly over lemon-bar filling. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until topping is lightly browned. Makes 16 to 20 lemon bars.
- Recipes from "The Candy Bar Cookbook: Baking With America's Favorite Candy," by Alison Inches & Ric McKown (Longstreet Press)