October 29, 2013

Turn leftover Halloween candy into spooktacular treats and drinks

Local pastry pros and bartenders cook up some creative confections.

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Some families trash them, some freeze them, and some feed them to their little ones, one by one until the next sugar-coated holiday arrives. But come Friday, keeping all those treats your children tricked for on Halloween night will become a trick of its own.

We asked restaurants, bars, and bakeries around town for their most creative ways to use leftover candy. Treat yourself to a Mali-boo martini or take your hard candies into the Christmas season with stained glass cookies.

These food and drink recipes let you get creative with leftover confections.

J. Rae’s Bakery

Culinologist Chris Hamilton and Mandy Hamilton, co-owners

They’ve got sweetness down to a science at J. Rae’s Bakery, where culinologist Chris Hamilton, 34, and his wife, Mandy Hamilton, 33, bake up some of the most creative cookies and cupcakes in town. The couple have two children of their own, and they know the problem of Halloween leftovers all too well.

Chris said he has never been a fan of candy corn, but that changed when he tried these easy candy corn peanut butter bars that taste like Butterfingers.

Mandy likes shocking friends and family with what she calls an “unassuming chocolate bark” with Pop Rocks that add explosive bite to chocolate as it melts in the mouth.

The kids get involved in baking, too, with stained glass cookies that are easy to make and look pretty in your kitchen. Simply swap out different cookie-cutter shapes and hard-candy colors to fit with the holiday season.

Tillman’s Roadhouse

Kristen Swanhart and Carrie Lucio-Tipps, assistant managers/bartenders

They found Food Network fame for their signature s’mores dessert, and now the duo has made it drinkable. The campfire classic puts boring Hershey’s bars to good use in a chilled Tillman’s s’mores martini.

The bartenders also had fun concocting a taffy tini that gets playful with an AirHeads simple syrup and a gumball garnish.

Sugar and Frosting

Melody Fitzgerald, pastry chef

The queen of cakes at Sugar and Frosting, Melody Fitzgerald, 25, turns old-fashioned caramel candies into gooey fall desserts. Warm up to a scrumptious dulce de leche cupcake that’s caramelized to its core or have a ball with her other well-known specialty, popcorn balls.

Fitzgerald created these salted caramel Rolo popcorn balls, and they put her test kitchen in a craze.

If caramel doesn’t do it for you, try her cookies’n’creme truffles for an Oreo crunch that comes with a smooth white chocolate finish.

M Lounge

Katy Cox, general manager

Halloween is a kid-centric holiday, so squeezing in some itsy-bitsy ’tini time for yourself is a must. M Lounge general manger Katy Cox is the creative mind behind these grown-up martini treats.

Fruity-drink lovers will love the Mali-boo martini, which gets its sweetness from Pixy Stix dust, whereas chocoholics will be saying “I vant to drink your chocolate!” after tasting the Count Chocotini.

And with gift-giving season coming up, why not plan ahead with her DIY recipe for a cherry vodka that lets you mix and present in the same jar — just tie on a festive bow and deliver.

Chadra Mezza & Grill

Nehme Elbitar, chef and owner

Chadra Mezza is all about fusion, blending Lebanese and American culinary traditions to offer dishes you can’t find anywhere else.

For Halloween, the Elbitars get creative with the Lebanese version of American apple pie, baklava. The sweet, flaky pastry is usually layered with caramelized sugars and toasted walnuts, but this recipe puts those countless candy bars to good use in the most versatile way.

Collect a cup of Milky Ways for a caramel-nougat dream, Almond Joys for a sweet coconut twist, or whatever you’ve got left at the bottom of the bag. You can’t go wrong with chocolate.

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