Leftover Hallowe’en candy presents a problem for which I have a solution more inventive than foisting it on coworkers and more elegant than eating it all yourself. Inspired by this Serious Eats post from a couple years ago I melted two pounds of fun-size chocolate bars onto an adapted version of the crust from Martha Stewart’s lemon squares.
It’s an abomination and looks like a dog’s breakfast–if the dog were about to risk some serious heart palpitations from all that chocolate–but I’m telling you it’s addictive. Like dessert-crack addictive.
The combination of all that high-fructose corn syrup, imitation peanut butter, chewy nougat, and the hoity toity crust make these an unstoppable party train.
The question is: What should they be called? I polled Twitter and came up with an eclectic sample of suggestions from Hallowe’en’s Revenge, One Hot Mess, Dessert Crack, Prison Pie (sorry, Martha), and Cavity Casserole. They’re all so good I’d have trouble sticking to just one.
If you want to join in the debauchery, step one is deciding how much of this you’re going to make. I had two pounds (one kilogram) of candy so used the amount of crust detailed below and used a large cake/lasagna pan that measures thirteen by nine inches. If you have only have a pound of leftover candy (and a pound is pretty much the minimum) divide the crust recipe in half, use a nine-inch brownie pan.
The hardest part really was getting all that candy out of its individual wrapping. I have a foggy sense that there is some ingeneous solution involving stacking and a paper cutter or chef’s knife that just barely evaded me.
Also, this is the first recipe in my new resolution to always giving metric weight measurements for recipes for convenience sake, if not for accuracy. In other words if you happen to 875 g of candy or 1,072 g don’t sweat it. Oh, and don’t worry about unwrapped weight versus wrapped weight; I had 30 g of wrappers for 986 g of unwrapped candy.
Candy Calorie Casserole a.k.a. Dessert Crack
Adapted both from this cakespy recipe on Serious Eats and the crust from the lemon square recipe on MarthaStewart.com.
- 195 g (1 3/4 C) all-purpose flour
- 80 g (2/3 C) icing sugar
- 65 g (1/2 C) arrowroot starch/flour (or cornstarch)
- 3 g (1/2 tsp) table salt
- 227 g (1 C, 2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter cut into small cubes
- 986 g leftover Halloween candy bars. My favourites are Reese Peanut Butter Cups, Mars bars, and Snickers but obviously your mileage will vary.
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Whisk the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the cubes of butter, toss to coat in the other ingredients. Use your fingertips to rub the ingredients together and disperse the butter. It’s not critical that it look or feel like a homogeneous dough at this stage.
Prepare the 13X9-inch baking tin by spraying it with non-stick spray and then lining it with aluminum foil. The trick with the foil is to form a cross-shaped sling by having two pieces run perpendicularly to each other.
Dump the dough into the pan and using your knuckles spread it out to cover the pan’s bottom, hit all the corners and climb a little bit of the way up the edges. Again perfection is not critical. The oven’s heat will melt the butter making the crust fairly liquid and uneven spots will smooth themselves out. Put the pan in the freezer for five to ten minutes.
Bake for twenty-two to twenty-four minutes (slightly shorter if only making a half batch in a smaller pan) or until golden brown around the edges. Cool slightly on the counter before dumping the unwrapped chocolate bars into the pan. Shake to distribute in the most casual of fashions.
Turn the oven down to 325°F and return the pan to the oven. Bake for about thirty minutes or until the candy has melted and co-mingled.
Cool for an hour on the counter and then move to the refrigerator before cutting into bars. Be careful that you get all of the foil off the bottom of the squares.
Serve to adults born after the invention of Ritalin but before the invention of ubiquitous peanut allergies.