COLUMN: Make good use of that leftover Halloween candy

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By Deanna Godman

Halloween has come and gone and a lot of candy is left behind. I have found that Halloween candy can last far longer than one might expect, even not in the freezer. It is hard for me to pass up holiday candy clearance sales when the discount goes to 70 percent off. The candy keeps for a long time (sometimes years) and I use it for treats throughout the year.

Kids do seem to get a lot more candy these days than I did when I was a child. My daughter’s bag of candy weighed over four pounds. She is willing to share her loot with my husband and I, but I know from previous years that she will not be able to eat it all.
So what do we do with the rest? I know some people send excess candy to work or just throw it away. And some families have a “candy fairy” that takes extra candy and leaves behind a special toy.
With Christmas and Thanksgiving around the corner, I decided to try something different with all of the extra chocolate in the house and use it for baking. I looked through one of my favorite cookbooks, “Hershey’s Best-Loved Recipes,” and found several brownie and blondie recipes that called for chocolate chips or other small pieces of candy (like mint or toffee).
The blondie recipe I chose called for butterscotch chips but I decided to replace them with chopped Hershey Kisses. I am often intrigued by the various seasonal flavors of Hershey Kisses, but never enough to finish an entire bag. For this dessert, I used Pumpkin Spice and Caramel Apple Hershey Kisses. I also used pecans in some of them.
I made the blondies in small seasonal shaped pans, which called for lowering the oven temperature and shortening the baking time. In the recipe, the original times and temperature are given. Since I did not make one large pan of blondies, I was able to make the blondies with different candies and nuts instead of having them all be the same.
A pan of brownies studded with Snickers or a chocolate cake decorated with chopped Kit Kats sounded like the perfect chocolatey dessert for the holidays.

Blondies –
Makes about 36 bars

¾ cup butter, softened
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour (plain)
1 teaspoon baking soda
10 ounces candy chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 13x9x2 inch pan.
Beat butter and sugars until creamy. Add eggs; beat well. Stir flour, baking soda and salt together. Add to butter mixture gradually. Mix well. Stir in candy chips.

Spread dough in prepared pan.

Bake 30-35 minutes or until top is golden brown.