Now that it’s over I will admit that I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween. I loved it as a kid but when I was growing up there were exactly three candy opportunities a year: the Christmas stocking, the Easter basket and the Halloween plastic pumpkin (which I ditched early on for the pillowcase right off my bed because when it comes to trick-or-treating, size matters). But Halloween was the only candy opportunity where you had complete control over the outcome. How much candy you got was entirely up to your work ethic and how bad you wanted it. Santa and that giant rabbit just didn’t get it. My siblings and I would start early and work late, trekking through the snow until our little legs ached and our pillowcases were too heavy to carry. And when I say snow I mean snow. I grew up in Canada and there was always snow by Halloween often 1-2 foot drifts. Which meant you couldn’t even save time by cutting across people’s lawns. Halloween had a huge pay-off but man you had to work for it.
These days kids are soft. I don’t think my boys have ever had a day without some kind of treat. You can buy mini chocolate bars all the time now so they aren’t the amazing once-a-year only tiny treats they were when I was young. They get one in their lunch bag every day of the school year for crying out loud! They don’t know what hardship is! They poop out on trick-or-treating after an hour and a half (no snow in sight) and a few years ago they stopped after 30 minutes because it was raining. Seriously?!
And to top it all off I always panic and buy way too much Halloween candy so now there is even more unearned candy in my house. But then I got a genius idea. Well actually, I forgot to buy chocolate chips and wanted to make cookies for a friend’s birthday which led to desperation which led to the genius idea. I cut up a bunch of leftover Halloween candy and used that instead. Has Halloween been redeemed? Quite possibly.
I had a short-lived cookie business for a while and in that year when I made literally thousands and thousands of cookies, I learned a few things. I might do a post on it someday. First just throw your sugars and wet ingredients in a stand mixer. The only trick is the butter–you don’t want cold it and you don’t want it room temperature. The only way to achieve this is to take the butter right out of the refrigerator and put in in the microwave for 15-20 seconds, turning the sticks once after 10 seconds. It should be just barely soft when you squeeze it.
Despite what every other cookie recipe on the planet tells you, don’t cream the butter. Blend on low just until the butter is broken up to the size of large peas (think pie crust here). Seriously, stop mixing before you think you should. In a separate bowl mix your dry ingredients together very well. Don’t skip this step because once you add the dry stuff you want to mix the dough as little as possible. Before the flour mix is completely incorporated add the candy as it will facilitate the mixing. Stop when it is just barely mixed together.
I used a cup and a half of chopped candy but next time I think I’ll use two. Use any candy you like but it really should bechocolate and melt-able so no Skittles or Starburst please. That would be gross!
Put the dough in a plastic container and stick it in the fridge for several hours or even overnight (if you have that kind of will-power). This will help develop the flavor of the dough and also keep it from spreading too much.
I couldn’t wait and pulled my dough out of the fridge after 30 minutes so that’s why they’re a little flat. Don’t say you weren’t warned. But who cares because they taste delicious!
Next year when you over-buy Halloween candy, and you will, make sure you get kinds that will work for Halloween Candy Cookies. They have made me like Halloween just a little bit more.
Halloween Candy Cookies
7.75 oz. brown sugar (1 cup, packed)
3.75 oz. white sugar (1/2 cup)
2 large eggs
8 oz. butter (1/2 lb. or 2 sticks)
2 tsp. vanilla
13.75 oz. all-purpose flour (2 3/4 cups)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 -2 cups chopped Halloween candy Remove butter from fridge and microwave for 15-20 seconds, turning sticks once after 10 seconds. In a stand mixer put both sugars, eggs, butter and vanilla. Mix on low until butter is the size of large peas. In a separate bowl add flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix very well. Add dry mixture to wet mixture and mix on low until flour is almost incorporated. Add cut up Halloween candy and blend on medium-low until barely incorporated. Transfer to a plastic container and refrigerate a few hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F. Scoop out 2 tbsp. of dough and form a ball. Place on cookie sheet and press down slightly with thumb. Repeat until tray is full, placing cookies 2″ apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are just barely set. Remove from oven and leave on tray for at least 5 minutes so cookies can finish cooking. Serve immediately with a glass of ice-cold milk.
Makes approx. 40 cookies