Still tripping over Easter baskets and discarded candy wrappers? The kids might disagree but sooner or later a decision has to be made about when to throw away the excess goodies before they become stale and hard and matted into the sofa creases.
The good news is you can avoid the waste of throwing out expensive candy. You’ve surely noticed the price of chocolate these days. Instead of discarding, you can repurpose the candy with little effort into happy, taste-tickling, kid friendly desserts suitable for family dinners, snack time, get togethers, and homemade gifting.
Even candy just this side of stale will perk up and add that extra delight to an otherwise ho hum dessert. The three recipes here are super easy and you likely have all the ingredients on hand. Plus, they are a fun project for all ages to have a hand in making.
Sweet and salty, crunchy and colorful
10 C of popped popcorn
3 Tbsp butter
3 C Mini Marshmallows or marshmallow peeps, cut up, or a mix
Handful of marshmallow, minis or cut up peeps, for reserve
holiday candy mix such as chocolate eggs, bunnies, jelly beans
Salt popcorn and place in a large bowl, or separate bowls if you plan to use more than one color peep; see Note. Melt butter in a medium sauce pan. When butter is melted, add 3 cups of mini marshmallows. Stir until the marshmallows are melted. Turn off the heat as soon as the last marshmallow has melted.
Pour 3/4 of the marshmallow mixture over the popcorn in the bowl and gently fold into the popcorn with a spoon until most of the kernels are covered. Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper. Spoon the marshmallow popcorn onto the prepared cookie sheet. Drizzle the remaining marshmallow mixture over the popcorn on the cookie sheet.
Spread candy choices and reserved mini marshmallows over the popcorn. Allow the popcorn to cool fully. Break apart into pieces and serve. Makes about 10 cups.
Note: Peeps come in colors. You can melt separately and color popcorn separately, then pack together on the cookie sheet for multi-colored popcorn
Some mixing, some frosting, some surprises
1 box brownie mix
12 mini chocolate cream-filled eggs, OR other candy; see Note.
Frosting, canned or your own
Sprinkles, peeps for garnish
Make the boxed brownie mix according to the package directions. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray. Fill each tin with 1 teaspoon brownie batter. Bake at 350F degrees for 11 minutes or until test knife comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool 2 minutes. Press an unwrapped cream egg into the center of each brownie bite. Let cool another 2 minutes.
Place on a wire rack and let cool completely. Frost and garnish with sprinkles and/or a peep on top. Makes two dozen bites.
Note: You can vary the stuffing. Place two or more jelly beans in the brownie center, for example, or a candy-coated mini egg. Any candy that won’t melt in the interior heat of the brownie will make a nice surprise.
Because who doesn’t want s’more Peeps
3 C chocolate chips, milk, dark, or mix
25 or more peeps marshmallow candies
graham crackers for serving
Place the chocolate chips in a 9-inch oven-safe skillet in an even layer. Cover with a layer of peeps, shoulder, er, wing to wing.
Turn the broiler on your oven to high. Place the skillet underneath for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the marshmallows get golden and the chocolate chips are melting. You must watch the skillet the entire time in case of flaming or too-quick a melting. On the other hand, if you find the chocolate isn’t melting easily, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and let the skillet sit in there for a few minutes more so it all begins to melt.
Remove when the melting chocolate is soft, but not runny. Let sit a minute for the steam to dissipate, then serve, but be careful; it will be still quite hot! Serve with graham crackers for dipping. Serves six or more depending on appetites for sticky sweet stuff.
TIP: Add s’more gooey by teaspooning creamy peanut butter here and there over the chocolate chips before adding the peeps.
By Jean Redstone