Want to winnow your kid’s Halloween stash? We asked local chefs for their ideas.
The Boozy Option: One year, Sababa chef Ryan Moore transformed his home bar with his kid brother and sister’s trick-or-treating haul and a couple bottles of vodka. He’d pour the booze into small bottles, and infuse each one with a different candy: Skittles, Sprees, Nerds, gummy bears, Starburst, Smarties, or Sour Patch Kids. When the candy dissolved, the now-brightly-colored bottles were ready to drink: “They made my bar look amazing.”
The Fancy Option: Rooster & Owl pastry chef Olivia Green likes to simmer a cup of heavy cream and stir in a 1/2 cup of chocolate kisses or bars. You’ll have a pourable ganache to use over ice cream and cakes, or as a dip for pretzels.
The Getting-a-Jump-on-the-Holidays Option: Doron Petersan, founder of vegan bakery Sticky Fingers and restaurant Fare Well, likes to turn a rainbow of sweets—Skittles, gumdrops, gummy bears, Starburst—into holiday garlands. Using a needle, she strings the candies onto quilting thread, alternating them with popcorn.
The Baking Options: If you’ve got left over peanut-butter cups, St. Anselm sous chef Lindsey Flowers recommends either throwing them into a batch of banana bread, or using them in place of chocolate bars for s’mores. Trummer’s pastry chef Meagan Tighe folds chopped candy bars (Snickers, Twix, and Milky Way all work) into a New York-style cheesecake batter, then bakes it with an Oreo crust. And Schlow Restaurant Group pastry chef Alex Levin swaps Snickers or other candy bars in for chocolate chips in his go-to chocolate-chip cookie recipe. His pro tip: If the bars are large and soft, chop them into pieces and freeze them first.