Halloween night I will walk our leaf covered sidewalks [crunch, shuffle, crunch…God I love that sound] with a warrior, Robin Hood and a jovial [fingers crossed, two is tough] ghost. Cold little hands resting in my hand, momentarily, before breaking free in a frantic scamper for more candy. A warrior, headstrong and fierce will lead the way, while brave Robin Hood and a charming ghost shuffle along.
Robin Hood’s Epi-pens stored in one coat-pocket while a bag of “trade” candy sits in the other pocket…waiting. Please no ER trips, not tonight.
Charleston Chews, Tootsie Rolls, Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, filling their orange plastic pumpkin buckets, while I hand off Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers to Bubba quickly, efficiently, much like a bomb squad taking care of a situation before someone gets hurt.
Our boy, our prince of thieves, safe for now.
House after house, we will trek along, until the air is just too chilly, our feet weary, the sugar high becoming a low. When we reach our front door, the candy basket we left out will be nearly empty. Robin Hood will steal the remaining safe candy, as he should. With a tired ghost resting against him, snuggled in his neck, sticky cheeks touching coarse stubble, Bubba will open the front door. The heat from the house will escape out the front door, warming our cold faces, reminding us we are home. Safe. Happy.
Twix Bars with a Twist
A shortbread cookie topped with caramel, Sunbutter and a dark chocolate glaze
adapted from Not Without Salt’s Homemade Twix Bars
Makes 12 large bars or 24 small bars
Ingredients for shortbread:
1 stick + 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Spray 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a bit of an overhang. (This will make it easier to remove the bars later.)
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the flour and salt. Mix until the dough comes together. The dough will be crumbly but should hold together when pressed in between your fingers.
Press the dough evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Rotate pan and bake for another 12 minutes or until the shortbread is golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
Next prepare the Sunbutter layer.
Ingredients for the Sunbutter layer:
1 cup, all natural, no sugar added Sunbutter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 + 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
Place Sunbutter, sugar and butter in a medium size bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until completely smooth. Set aside.
Now prepare the caramel.
Ingredients for caramel:
2 cups sugar
3/4 light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Sea Salt for sprinkling
Combine sugar, corn syrup, water and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Using your hand or a pastry brush, wipe down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan with water. Over medium-high heat bring the mixture to a boil. Again wipe down any stray sugar crystals. Do not stir the caramel from this point on. The mixture will bubble vigorously. When the syrup begins to turn golden brown, insert a candy thermometer. When it reaches 300F, remove the pan from the heat. Allow to rest for 1 minute. Add heavy cream and stir until smooth, then whisk in the condensed milk. Next, add the salt. Whisk until smooth.
Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly until the caramel reaches 240F. Remove from heat and pour over cooled shortbread. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt. Place in the refrigerator and allow to set for 2 hours. While the caramel layer sets prepare the chocolate glaze.
Ingredients for chocolate glaze:
6 ounces of dark chocolate- chocolate chips are fine
3 tablespoons of butter
Slowly, melt the butter and the chocolate in the microwave. (I checked it every 20 seconds.) Stir well until completely melted and smooth.
Spread Sunbutter mixture evenly over caramel layer. Pour the melted chocolate over the Sunbutter layer. Smooth with an offset spatula. Decorate with holiday sprinkles, if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. They are easiest to cut when cold. Cut into squares, big or small and serve. Enjoy!
**If taking to a party, cut into squares when cold. Store in an air-tight container in between layers of parchment paper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.**
5 DIY Sweet Treat Links
If you love chocolate turtles check out Creme de la Crumb’s 3 ingredient caramel cashew clusters. My mouth is watering!
One of my favorite sweet treats is chocolate covered almonds. Sally’s Baking Addiction has a recipe for sea salt dark chocolate almond clusters that is now on my must make soon list.
Love truffles? Make your own! Head to Alexandra’s Kitchen for her boozy Grand Marnier chocolate truffles recipe.
Screw moderation. Make I Am Baker’s Halloween saltine toffee candy and eat every last bite. You deserve it!
Dealing with nut-allergies? We are too. I feel your anxiety especially around Halloween. Head to The Kitchn and check out 5 nut-free Halloween treats that are sure to make your kids smile.