SFC: Candy Concoctions (or Having Fun with Diabetes!)

                  So it’s the day, and weekend and the day or so after that, after Halloween, and despite the neighborhood children’s best attempts (or perhaps BECAUSE of it if some of them are your own), you still have quite the pile of leftover and/or gathered candy. The immediate solution is pretty obvious of course, just eat it all (either slowly over a week or binged that night), but it’s just not as fun or interesting as it could be. Why just eat the same sugary bars over and over, slowly picking away at a gargantuan pile, when one could just transform over half of it into something special and delicious?



                And lucky us there are a few websites with lists and lists of different recipes featuring all the traditional holiday candy, used in cookies to brownies to bark to pie, confections to drinks and baked goods all around. Though I only decided on a few simple, portability-inspired decisions to use with my stash, I certainly suggest one visit a couple of these sites for other fun ideas, whether it’s using up leftovers or upcoming parties.


                I was quite determined to transform all 4 candy bars in our little pile to something different, and after one fun thought and a bit of looking stuff up, I came up with three interesting ideas (two bars are used, separately, in one of them). So I thought it might be nice to go over my (not so perfect) experiences with each.

                Starting small, the Crunch Bars lead the pack with the one skill they hold over the other three: meltability (or the fact they’re almost all chocolate, not much to screw up the process). Taking a cue from their simple Hershey Bar older brothers, I just HAD to melt these guys down and coat something with that creamy chocolate and crunchy rice. Happy happy me, I found a recipe for Bourbon Balls among the B listings in the latter site.

                You know bourbon balls right? They’re these little rich spheres of soft, chocolate covered and alcy-centered goodness. I of course just have to try making them with this recipe (which… may need some adjusting on our part).

Recipe #1: Bourbon Balls (home version w/ Crunch)

1 ½ cups Bourbon (it said whiskey, but come on… it’s bourbon balls, who uses Jameson?)

Nuts, toasted or non

½ cup (2 sticks) Butter, soft

3 lbs (about 10+ cups) Powdered Sugar

Large Handful Crunch Bars, ½-1 bag chocolate chips and Milk

(And yes, I scaled this down when I made it)


                We start with the Nuts, however many you want/need/etc; consider how big you want to make your bourbon balls and adjust their size to fit. Pecans would be the best with bourbon, of course, but I didn’t have any so pistachios it was (cut in half, but later realized could have left whole). Soak them with the Bourbon for several hours or overnight to swap flavors (could add extra nuts to not only get an extra-rich flavor into the bourbon but for a special, tasty bar snack on party nights).


                When ready, prepare the filling by simply mixing all of the butter, powdered sugar, and nut-whisky together, could probably do all at once but gradually adding sugar and alcohol is best to be safe. You’ll basically end up with bourbon-flavored frosting.


                The idea from here is to melt the bars in a double boiler (originally it was a Hershey bar and they also used paraffin… which if you know what it is sounds disgusting), shape the filling around the nuts in a ball and dip to coat.


                However, the filling wasn’t exactly liking the idea of molding; it was VERY soft and moist, and I had to get it into the freezer for a while before I could shape it into balls (which, as you can see, I did with a glove; nut in the middle people, give you and your guests an inside treat!), plus they kept falling apart when I dipped (had to hold them in a spoon as the toothpick wouldn’t stick). Recipe uses way too much bourbon… I know, how can I even say that… either way, if you want a proper bourbon ball, increase your proportion of butter and (most importantly) sugar (I seriously have no idea what this recipe was thinking).


                As for the coating, as usual milk chocolate doesn’t melt too smooth, so I tried adding some mini chips to help even it out. Even then it was a bit thick and difficult to work with. It wasn’t until it seized up and I had to add milk that it thinned out and shined up nicely; a little too thin actually, but it shows potential. My final verdict: find your favorite, or a good, recipe for glazing, and swap out SOME, only a small amount, of chocolate for Crunch Bars.


                Will still be best to pop them into the fridge or freezer after dipping to properly firm up. And here you go.


Recipe #2: Butterfinger Popcorn Balls

6 cups Popped Corn

Equivalent to 2-3 whole bars Butterfingers

¼ cup “Margarine” (my fun nickname for Butter)

3 ¾ cups marshmallows (using minis)

                Considering the time of year, rice balls seemed a suited direction to go for my next venture. We start by, of course, popping the corn: simple method for those who have yet to try it. Add the kernels to a LARGE Dutch Oven-type pot with enough oil to coat all of them (just a little), do not overfill, should only have one, maybe two “layers” of kernels on the bottom when spread out. Cover, turn to medium-high, shake every now throughout and wait until it starts popping. Take it off once the popping stops or gets really slow.


                Depending on how early one pops the corn, you can keep it warm (apparently you should) in a 200F oven. I did things all in one go though, using the same pot to melt the butter and marshmallows (I didn’t measure, just used what I had… coulda used some more, hehe).


                You can chop up the Butterfingers while doing this; I like differentiating fine and large chunks to give variance in the final product. As for how much, I guess there’s no set amount… there probably is a too much, but I haven’t reached it yet.


                Add the melted marshmallows and mix thoroughly with a spoon; best done in a bowl with at least some friction in it, like plastic; really hard trying to mix in smooth glass or ceramic (just keeps going in a circle…). Since these need to stick together, you’re gonna want to have a good amount of marshmallows (just a note for those not measuring specifically). Speaking of sticking together, you’ll also want to grease up those hands (pam spray works) before rolling them into balls. Make sure to press TIGHT and firm, and let cool on wax paper.


                Eat now, or store later either in airtight container or, traditional Halloween style, wrapped in clear plastic and tied off. Though it should last, best to consume quickly (oh darn).


                Oh, by the way… should make sure that you really separate all the popcorn from the kernels before mixing begins… just a thought (ow…)

Recipe #3 and #4: Baby Ruth Waffles w/ 100 Grand Maple Sauce


                Ok, no actual recipes to list for these. For my final transformation, I figured I’d take a cue from the Waffle Van to make a simple but delicious morning treat (gotta admit it works well, with the various pockets of chocolate and other goodness). And the addition of the candy bar is quite simple.


                Chop up those Baby Ruths, rough but not large. Pop these onto a pan and place into the freezer; one of the main tricks when it comes to doing any quick, hot applications of candy where one needs to worry about the risk of melting (apparently deep-fried candy bars have to do this).


                Freezing shouldn’t take too long, so you can whip up your favorite, or the most currently convenient, waffle batter recipe while you wait. Once one gets close to serving time, they can set up the waffle maker and start making the “sauce.” (If you don’t have a waffle maker, then pancakes it is!!)


                I kept the sauce pretty simple; chop up the 100 Grand, pop into a pan with maple syrup (decent amount) and melt. Whisk in a cold pat of butter at the end for some fatty richness and a nice shine (best done right before serving).


                Finish is simple; pour a ladleful of batter and frozen Ruth chunks (I just put them into the ladle as I’m scooping batter as opposed to mixing them into the whole bowl; don’t want to risk them warming up as you wait for them to cook). Cook, on high (ALWAYS on high… I haven’t made a single waffle that cooked properly on a lower temperature, seriously), until golden. And yes, sadly, despite our efforts there will be some meltage and mess into the iron (a bit annoying to clean, but it’s worth it).


                Garnish with your chocolatey-caramelly-mapley-crunchy sauce(name patent pending) and some more baby ruth and you have a breakfast rich in diabetes goodness!! Can you think of any better morning meal or evening dessert to eat the day after Halloween?


                So here we have it, 3 separate possibilities to creatively (well, maybe not… I just like feeling special…) use different candy bars. Sadly I don’t have many left for further experimentation, but you can bet once the next year turns around I shall revisit the idea, offering up many a more fun ideas. But until then, I’m sure to be busy with some other upcoming holiday ideas, and various other things to distract me from the lack of new Food Trucks.

                Until then, I hope this holiday has gone well for all, along with the upcoming seasons! Do tell if any fun plans and stories have or will persist. Good Luck and Good Eating!

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