halloween candy bark

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Halloween is tomorrow and since I’ve been 1,896 miles from home for the past week, sadly I haven’t had time to create a Halloween costume.

I have, however, managed to carve a pumpkin – Hubby and I started this tradition just last year, neither of us having carved pumpkins for many years.

pumpkins

In my time away over the last five days I’ve enjoyed a bit of actual autumn weather, got to see some fall colors, and walked 25.25 miles through the trails surrounding the beautiful Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA, while away at work conference. And yes, my legs are very, very sore.

I also learned the bad news from my beloved that, despite following the advice of a trusted website, our pumpkins have already turned to rotting mush in record time and will not be making it to Halloween… It turns out that peppermint soap thing actually does the opposite of preserving your pumpkin.

chateau elan

So today, as I am sitting on a plane hurdling towards home (and 90 degree weather) at 500mph (or around there), anxiously awaiting my return home, I am also mourning the loss of our beloved pumpkins, and have every intention to drown the sorrows of our loss in this bark.

Just like the last bark, I used the sturdier candy molding formula for the base layer of bark because I love the snap it gives the chocolate. I also went with an extra dark chocolate for the base to provide a good contrast to the sweeter milk chocolate flavor for the second layer.

After spreading the second layer of chocolate, I adorned it with some of my favorite candies and a sprinkle of crushed potato chips and set it in the fridge for a few minutes to set up. Start to finish (including chopping time) I was done in under 30 minutes which isn’t bad at all if you ask me.

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Even though one day is plenty of time to make this bark in time to hand out for Halloween, it would be an excellent way to use up all of your leftover Halloween candy as well.

I included my favorite candies in the recipe below, but feel free to use whatever candy you find in the bottom of your (or your kid’s) trick-or-treat basket.

halloween candy bark

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: one 18 by 12-inch half sheet pan of bark

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate (I used this candy molding formula from Chocoley)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate (I used this dipping and coating formula , which is a bit thinner than the candy formula)
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter (go with a regular standard peanut butter that won't separate, I always use Jif)
  • 1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups; chopped (I used a mix of Trader Joe's dark chocolate and milk chocolate peanut butter cups)
  • 1/2 cup mini Oreos (I used mini Reese's Oreos), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini Reese's Pieces
  • 1/2 cup potato chips, roughly crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment-lined baking sheet and set in the fridge to solidify, about 5 minutes.
  2. Melt milk chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and stir in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Pour over hardened chocolate and spread to cover.
  3. Working quickly, before the top layer of chocolate hardens, sprinkle with assorted toppings (I listed them in the order I sprinkled, but that's not necessary) and place into fridge to harden for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove bark from refrigerator and cut into pieces.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/30/halloween-candy-bark/

 

candy corn halloween bark

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Halloween is right around the corner, making this the perfect time to make your own candy! Even if you’ve never made candy before, literally anyone can make a killer bark.

Though I’ve included a recipe for the bark that I made, no real recipe is needed. Just like with any other recipe, though, you will want to think about balance. If you follow a single flavor profile, your bark will end up tasting a bit flat. You might not know what it is missing, but you will definitely know that something is missing. A good place to start is with something sweet, something crunchy, something salty, and go on from there.

For this bark I wanted to stick with Halloweeny flavors, so I started off with candy corn for sweetness, pretzels for crunch, pumpkin Joe-Joe’s (From Trader Joe’s), and then sprinkles just to make it pretty. Since I was using white chocolate for the top layer, I stirred a tiny bit of orange gel food coloring into the white chocolate once it was melted, because everyone knows that Halloween things are better when they’re orange.

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To make sure I got a good “snap” from my bark, I used Chocoley’s candy molding formula for the bottom layer of chocolate. I love using their candy molding formula for projects like this because it gives you a great sturdy base with the snap of a tempered chocolate without having to actually temper any chocolate. Then, for the top layer, I used their dipping and coating chocolate formula. That formula is a bit thinner than their candy formula and so it sets up a little bit softer, but either one would work perfectly.

If you plan to use another type of chocolate, TheKitchn has a nice thermometer-free tutorial, or David Lebowitz has a more in-depth “how to” for tempering chocolate on his site.

Since I used a couple of items (candy corn and pretzels) that aren’t prone to snapping along chocolate’s natural fault lines, I chose to cut this bark with a knife. That allowed me to get nice, clean cuts with my pretzel and candy corn pieces on each piece of bark.

candy corn halloween bark

Yield: one 18 by 12-inch half sheet pan of bark

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate melting chips (I used this candy molding formula from Chocoley)
  • 2 cups white chocolate melting chips, (I used this dipping and coating formula , which is a bit thinner than the candy formula)
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1/2 cup pretzels, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sandwich cookies, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment-lined baking sheet. Set in fridge to solidify, about 5 minutes.
  2. Melt white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave. Pour over hardened chocolate.
  3. Working quickly, sprinkle with assorted toppings and place into fridge to harden, about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Cut or break into pieces (I cut mine since I had larger toppings that weren't likely to divide evenly if I just broke the chocolate into pieces)
http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/27/candy-corn-halloween-bark/

thursday things – halloween 2014

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Today’s Thursday Things is dedicated to Halloween. Everyone’s favorite holiday.

Here’s what the internet has for us…

18 pictures that demonstrate how terrifying Halloween was back in the day…

These bat cupcake toppers from Oh Happy Day

5 easy ways to package Halloween candy.

Chipotle has upped the price from “free” to $3 for its costumed-up Halloween patrons

In case you don’t have a costume yet, try out one of these Frozen costumes.

This one is not necessarily Halloween-related but still kinda gross and creepy…

If you are entering Movita’s carve-off, here are 5 ways to extend the life of your jack-o-lantern.

Or, if carving isn’t your thing, try out these DIY pumpkin decorations.

Meanwhile in Halloween Recipe Land…

Candy Corn Upside-Down Cake from yours truly

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Spider Krispy Treats from Cookies & Cups

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Bloody Caramel Apples from FoodieCrush

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Warm Vanilla Cider from Some Kitchen Stories

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 Seven Layer Bar Crunch from A Periodic Table

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Graveyard Dip from The Law Student’s Wife

Graveyard-Chocolate-Cheesecake-Dip

Nutella Cream Filled Skeleton Snack Cakes from Gringalicious

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Monster S’mores from Say Yes

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pumpkin pie bites

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What is a pumpkin pie bite, you ask? Well, imagine all of the flavor and texture of a pumpkin pie in one tiny bite-sized snack.

It all started with this recipe, which is a spin on a thing called “impossible pies” which I guess were a thing before I was around. You take Bisquick (or any standard all purpose baking mix) and mix it with some pumpkin, sugar, and egg, throw it in some cupcake tins and bake it. Once it’s cooked you cool it and store in the fridge and it magically becomes the texture of a pumpkin pie.

Halloween is the perfect time for magic, don’t you agree?

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If Mr. Eats were here he would tell you that they are also delicious fresh out of the oven. He would then tell you that they really do taste like pumpkin pie when you put them in the fridge. Then he would tell you that he hates white chocolate and that I tricked him into eating these by telling him it was “just white coating” and definitely not white chocolate.

He would then tell you that he forgave me for my indiscretion because after I came clean about tricking him into eating white chocolate, he decided to start coating everything within arm’s reach in the stuff. He even said that it “was actually really good, especially for white chocolate.”

For dipping, I decided to finally try out Chocoley’s white chocolate. If it sounds familiar, you may remember them as the chocolate I used for my peanut butter eggs back in April. If you’re having a hard time deciding between the “dipping and coating” or the “candy and molding” varieties, you can see a better example there of the differences in finish. I used the dipping and coating formula for these because I just wanted a thin, matte shell and it did the job perfectly.

Mr. Eats still thinks he hates white chocolate, but I guess this is an exception to the rule since he devoured this stuff.  In fact, after I finished dipping the pumpkin bites, he joined me in the kitchen and started dipping apple slices and pretty much anything else within reach into the stuff, which I think is even more proof of the recipe’s magical powers.

pumpkin pie bites

Yield: 12 mini "pies" or 48 "bites"

Ingredients

    For the pumpkin pies
  • 1 cup All-Purpose Baking Mix (I used Bisquick)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons very soft butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole or evaporated)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the bites
  • 3 cups white chocolate coating (I used Chocoley's white chocolate)
  • Sprinkles, for decorating
  • Parchment-lined baking sheet

Instructions

    Make the pies
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Add the butter and whisk to combine. Add pumpkin and continue to mix until blended.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract until the eggs are blended. Pour into the pumpkin mixture and stir until the batter is smooth (it will be pretty thin).
  4. Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan completely, about 30 minutes, then remove from the cupcake tin and transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 2 to 4 hours until cold.
  5. You could enjoy them as-is, but why do that when you could turn them into adorable little bites?
  6. Make the bites
  7. Cut each "pie" into 4 wedges. Melt white chocolate in a double-boiler or melt it in 30 second intervals at 50% power in the microwave, stirring in between intervals, until completely melted.
  8. Dip each wedge into the chocolate coating until completely covered, remove with a fork and shake off excess chocolate.
  9. Set onto parchment-lined baking sheet and sprinkle with desired decorations.

Notes

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/21/pumpkin-pie-bites/

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pumpkin pie bites | wee-eats.com

 

dominique ansel’s banana bread

ansel banana bread

As you may have heard, the great Dominique Ansel recently released the recipe for his infamous cronuts. The recipe takes three days, four rises, a deep fryer, and something called a “butter block”. Oh, and let’s not forget to make the glaze and the flavored sugar.

While I may never eat (and will more likely never make) a cronut, what I was more interested in was his much simpler, more approachable recipe for the great and humble banana bread. Because the one thing everyone needs is yet another banana bread recipe, right?

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have not one but two recipes for banana bread right here on this very site, but I was intrigued. I mean, how amazing can banana bread really be?

I became even more intrigued as I continued reading the recipe… no vanilla, no brown sugar, not even a hint of cinnamon. Clearly this was some sort of trick. Would Mr. Eats even eat a quickbread that wasn’t covered in streusel? I wasn’t sure…

I fought off my urge to tinker with every fiber of my being… No, Natalie, we aren’t adding vanilla. Or brown sugar. That “dash of cinnamon” is definitely off the table – If the great Dominique Ansel doesn’t need it, then neither do I gosh darnit!

ansel banan bread 2

After I congratulated myself on completing a recipe from start to finish by actually following the directions and not tinkering with a single ingredient… I tossed it in the oven and prepared myself for disappointment. I was ready to laugh and scoff and bring Chef Ansel down a peg.

Well color me wrong because this stuff is like banana gold. It turns out, apparently, that you don’t actually need any vanilla, or streusel, or cinnamon. All you need is bananas, flour, sugar, eggs and love. And lots of butter. You’ll definitely be needing that butter. And an over-sized loaf pan (my puny 8 by 5 would not do. Luckily I found some old larger loaf pan that, judging from the looks of it, I can only assume came from my mom or possibly a bomb shelter.

The loaf baked up with an incredibly light and tender crumb on the inside and a delightfully crisp exterior. I was a bit lazy about the banana-mashing so I still had a few chunks of banana, but i like it that way.

It is pure banana essence baked into loaf form and more than anything else – it is addictive.

Score one for Chef Ansel. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

ansel bread 4

Since I assumed that his cookbook would be full of cronuts and other complex things that frankly I get tired just thinking about… I had already decided that I wasn’t going to purchase it. However, now that I realize that there could be more gems in there like this banana bread,  I should probably just pre-order it now.

dominique ansel’s banana bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" x 5" x 3 ½" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in mashed bananas.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the melted butter to the flour and banana mixture, and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.

Notes

This recipe was found on Tasting Table

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/18/dominique-ansels-banana-bread/