Halloween at our house is always an exciting time. See, it’s our favorite holiday so we go all out, not only outdoors but inside as well — especially in the kitchen.
As you know, I love to bake. For me it’s like therapy because I can get in there, put my creativity to work and everyone gets to share in the “rewards” when I’m done. hehee!
YES, WE ALL HAVE A SWEET TOOTH… OR TWO OR THREE!
Over the weekend we spent a bit of time making some of our favorite Halloween treats (which included some of our all-time favorite HERSHEY’S® candies), taking turns stirring, dipping and decorating, and the results… sweet and tasty as always.
Baking doesn’t have to be tedious. So, if you’re not an avid baker, and maybe a bit intimidated, you’ll be happy to know that with a little help (from little ole me) YOU can create some really amazing Halloween desserts in a short amount of time, without a lot of effort. And no one has to know. Shh!
As a matter of fact, some sweet treats don’t even require baking at all. Those such as our all-time favorite fall treat… caramel and candy apples. Honestly anyone can make these goodies. I promise! These babies can be transformed into simply adorable masterpieces for any holiday or event. Check it out…
First we made a batch of BLACK CANDY APPLES. Here’s how:
1.) Clean apples with sticks 2.) Combine ingredients 3.) Boil to 300 – 310 degrees 4.) Dip apples & allow to cool
Next up… DECORATED CARAMEL APPLES:
Wash and dry apples and place on a parchment or freezer paper lined baking sheet. Insert wooden popsicle sticks or dowels into the center of each apple (stem end). Set aside.
Unwrap caramels and combine with 2 tablespoons of water in a medium heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat until completely melted and smooth.
Working quickly, dip each apple into caramel mixture to coat, then dip into chopped peanuts and place onto baking sheet.
Once all apples are coated, place candy melts (about 8 – 10 pieces per color) into 3 separate microwavable safe bowls (using one bowl per color) and heat for 1 minute. Remove and stir until smooth. Pour each color separately into piping bags or plastic resealable bags and snip of the very tip end of each bag. Twist the top and secure with rubber bands.
Pipe each color from the top of each apple down to the bottom, making random lines. If desired, garnish the tops of the apples with sprinkles or candies.
1.) Clean, dry apples w/ sticks 2.) Dip apples in caramel & nuts
3.) Decorate apples with candy
Next, an old timer… CANDY BUTTONS in candy corn colors:
Tape two 10-by-13 inch strips of freezer paper (shiny side down) to a baking sheet.
Beat together sugar, meringue powder, and water with a mixer. Add more sugar or water depending on consistency. Beat until light and fluffy. Test the mixture with a toothpick my putting a tiny bit of icing onto a piece of freezer paper. If it forms a domed dot and doesn’t spread, the mixture is ready to use. If not, add a little more water or sugar (1/2 tsp. at a time).
Divide icing equally among 3 bowls. Mix 6 drops of yellow food coloring into one bowl. Mix red and yellow to create orange in another bowl and leave the last batch white.
Transfer each into piping bags or resealable plastic bags and tie off with rubber bands. Cut the very tip end off of each. Pipe dots onto the freezer paper in equal lines — 4 across and 5 down (groups of 20 dots per color). Let stand, uncovered, until dots are firm and dry enough to be pulled off the paper (about 2 days).
And lastly, REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP CHEESECAKE SQUARES:
For the Crust:
For the Filling:
Cut 9 peanut butter cups into 6 pieces each. Place pieces in freezer for about 30 minutes to help prevent them from melting during baking.
Preheat oven to 325-degrees F. Line an 8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving 2-3 inches draped over the sides.
For the crust: Place the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor or blender and pulse until crackers form fine crumbs. Add butter, brown sugar, flour, peanut butter, and salt. Pulse together until all ingredients are well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl, as needed. Add crust mixture to the bottom of the prepared pan. Press evenly across the bottom to pack it down.
Bake crust for 12-15 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Cool completely on wire rack.
For the filling: Beat the cream cheese in a mixer bowl set on medium-high speed until smooth (3-5 minutes). Scrape sides as necessary. On medium-low speed, slowly beat in granulated sugar until well incorporated (1-2 minutes). Beat in eggs, one at a time, making sure each is combined well. Add in sour cream, vanilla, until well combined (1 minute). Set aside.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the peanut butter cup pieces into the cheesecake mixture. Pour the cheesecake mixture over the graham crust, spreading evenly.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the edges are set but the middle is still jiggly. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Once cooled, cover with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the cheesecake from the pan using the overhanging foil. Cut into 16 squares and place them on a foil wrapped wire rack.
Microwave the bittersweet chocolate for 45 seconds. Stir, and heat in 15 second intervals until completely melted and smooth. Drizzle over the bars and top each with a piece of REESE’S peanut butter cup. Serve immediately or store in the fridge in an airtight container.
MOUNDS, REESE’S peanut butter cups, JOLLY RANCHERS, TWIZZLERS… OH MY!!!
Yep, these are a few of our favorite holiday treats. Of course when you put your thinking cap on, you can turn those candies above (our absolute favorite HERSHEY’S®) into other yummy goodies. And as you can see, it’s really fairly simple. Make friends and family think you spent hours and days creating them, when you and I both know there isn’t much effort at all… but the rewards are simply sweet. hehee!
~ Disclaimer: I am participating in the HERSHEY’S BOO BLVD. campaign via Mom Bloggers Club. This post was sponsored by HERSHEY’S. All opinions expressed are 100% mine. ~
20 Winners will be chosen at random at the end of the entry period 10/17/12. Prize is a HERSHEY’S candy product (specific candy will be chosen and shipped by HERSHEY’S).
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