Halloween Candy Bark

I am not the first, nor will I be the last to have been inspired by the recent Halloween Candy Bark recipe in Bon Appetit magazine. 

With Halloween just days away and 2 festive jack-o-lantern’s glowing in my living room, I gave in and made a batch.  Naturally you can substitute the candy listed in the recipe for whatever you might have on hand…

I am a carving template convert while John keeps it real with freehand…

The final taste of the bark was well worth pain in the neck of retrieving the peanut M&M’s that were shooting off my cutting board and rolling under my furniture while I chopped them.

Halloween Candy Bark
From Bon Appetit and Annie’s Eats

Ingredients
1 pound bittersweet chocolate chips (not semi-sweet – I used Ghiradelli)
3 Butterfinger candy bars (or 8 fun-size bars), chopped
3 Heath candy bars (or 6 fun-size bars), chopped
8 Reese cups, each cut into wedges
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts
3 ounces high-quality white chocolate, chopped
1 cup yellow and orange peanut M&M’s (or use Reese’s pieces)

  • Line baking sheet with foil.  Melt chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water until smooth and warm (not hot) to touch.  Pour chocolate onto foil and smooth to the edges with a rubber spatula.  Evenly sprinkle with chopped Butterfingers, Heath bars, Reese’s, M&M’s and peanuts.  Pat gently to secure candy is all touching the chocolate.  Chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  • Melt the white chocolate in the same manner – stirring constantly.  Once smooth, drizzle spoonfuls over the bark in a zig-zag pattern.  Chill for another 30 minutes.
  • Remove from fridge and peel bark away from foil.  Break into irregular pieces and store in the fridge in an airtight container until you’re ready to serve…or eat.

I am already imagining ways to make a festive bark for Christmas using sugared pecans and dried cranberries.

But first, Halloween weekend.  I still have no idea what I am doing but I am sure it will be something fun.

And if not, I like Thanksgiving and Christmas better anyway!

Keene Pumpkin Festival

Every year for the past 7 years I have put the Keene Pumpkin Festival in New Hampshire on my list of “Fall Things To Do” – but every year I missed it.  Pathetic.

This year (the 20th anniversary of the KPF) I knew I needed to man up, so I marked the day on the calendar well in advance.  My little sister Melanie is in her second year at Keene State, and the opportunity to visit her while also checking out the festival was too good to pass up.  Especially when I learned she needed help re-stocking her candy jar.  I have fond memories of my own candy jar in college.

Actually, it was a candy drawer.

Because I don’t have a car, I took the bus from Boston to Concord Saturday morning, and was picked up by my Dad, Vicki, and Lindsay.  We stopped in for a visit with Nana in Hopkinton, and then it was off to Keene!

The foliage was in glorious full swing…

and the downtown area was chock full of thousands of carved pumpkins.

Some were unusual…

and some were sweet (aw, she said yes!).

Pumpkin hats and crazy costumes were also plentiful.

Yes, I went in the kitchen store and it was heaven.

I also saw the amazing sight of a woman hoisting a dog into a stroller.  A stroller that already contained a child.

Finally Linds, Melanie and I reached the giant tower of pumpkins!

And nearby I found some hot, homemade apple turnovers courtesy of the Animaterra Women’s Chorus…a perfect treat for a chilly day.

Lindsay was on a mission to find a caramel apple…and was very excited to find one.  This picture of her cracks me up.  What a goofball!

At last it was time to light the pumpkins. 

5, 4, 3, 2….

Can you spot the proposal?

In the end there were nearly 23 thousand lit pumpkins!

I had a great day with my family in the most beautiful part of the country during the most beautiful season.  I cannot believe sometimes that Melanie is in college, since I look at her and see the toddler that couldn’t say my name right…but I am so proud of her! 

Have you carved your Halloween pumpkin yet this year?  I waited until the last second last year and had a very sad dud of a pumpkin, so I am thinking I will try to get to mine this weekend.

One hand scooping out the pumpkin guts, one hand in the bowl of candy corn.  Sounds like a plan!