Candy bark cookie mess

Chocolate Candy Icebox Bars

Is candy/cookie gravel a thing?  Because I think that's what I made

Is candy/cookie gravel a thing? Because I think that’s what I made

All of these “use up candy” recipes start with a false premise, namely, leftover Halloween candy is something that you need to do something with.  Like something other than just put it in your face or give it away.  I mean, it’s a fun idea, but these are difficult recipes to justify.  Also, this recipe specifically calls for Kit Kat, Snickers, and Crunch.  What if you gave away something else?  I actually wound up buying Halloween candy so that I could have these particular leftovers.  That’s kind of the tail wagging the dog, right?

All musing aside, these are amazing.  They are actually worth buying the stuff for.  They are rich and sweet and delicious.  They are a little like muddy buddies and oreos and a bowl of candy had a baby.  If that sounds good, then welcome aboard.

But I must get a few pointers out of the way.  1) chocolate wafer cookies don’t exist outside of the east coast.  Stop it, B, they don’t.  I put oreos in the food processor instead.  Because that meant that I pulverized both cookies and filling, I omitted the powdered sugar from the recipe.  Side note: if you have extra cookie dust, you can mix it into vanilla ice cream and make your own cookies and cream.  2) Do not let this chill overnight before cutting into it.  Just don’t.  I used melted chocolate chips with M & M’s on top because I didn’t have Crunch bars, but I did have M & M’s and those are crunchy…  I wound up with a rock hard topping that could not be cut, which turned cookie bars into a sort of candy bark.  Let’s have an illustration to explain where this went wrong:

I did the first step with all of the cookie crumbs and peanut butter and candy bars, and I followed those instructions to the letter.  Then it was getting late, so I decided to melt the chocolate chips, sprinkle on the M & M’s…then I went to bed.  The recipe calls for you to let it set for 30 minutes.  I woke up to this:

Um, and there were parchment paper pieces in it...that wound up in my sister's mouth.  oops.

Um, and there were parchment paper pieces in it…that wound up in my sister’s mouth. oops.

Cutting it with my biggest, sharpest, nastiest knife left me with this:

Clean little bars, these are not...

Clean little bars, these are not…

It went downhill from there:

I literally took this picture and thought, "Well, you caption this one 'the moment I gave up.'"

I literally took this picture and thought, “Well, you caption this one ‘the moment I gave up.'”

The top kept busting off of the bottom, the M & M’s were coming apart.  This is what I wound up with:



I brought the pretty pieces (the ones that kind of stayed together) to my family’s party.  The rest of it hung out in my fridge.  And was eaten by me.  Pretty?  No.  Delicious?  My word, yes.

So save yourself the heartache and follow the directions on this one.


Space Coyote?

Spicy Chard with Ginger Sauté 

Find your soulmate, Homer.

Find your soulmate, Homer.

Kale with Tomato, Garlic, and Thyme Sauté

Kale turns out to be delicious once you boil the weird out of it.

Kale turns out to be delicious once you boil the weird out of it.

Beet Greens with Bacon

points for bacon and pasta...

points for bacon and pasta…

On page 22-23 of this magazine, there are four sautés.  They just kind of look like blobs of dark green stuff, so it’s difficult to tell at first glance what you’re supposed to do with the “in season winter greens” pictured.  Just eat them?  A quick glance at the under 100 calorie nutrition information for all of them should tell you that, no…you’ll starve.  In steps the bubble on page 23.  It states, “Enjoy the sautés as sides, toss with pasta for a main course (the chard’s great with Asian noodles), or serve on crostini.”  I said, “Ok, bubble.  I’ll buy it.”  So I made the kale, the beet greens, and the chard.

I’m going to get the less than awesome experiences out of the way first so I can end on a high note.  Ok.  The bubble said (and when has a bubble ever lied to me?) that the chard is great with Asian noodles.  I still had a good amount of rice noodles in the pantry from the beef salad way back when.  I asked for suggestions on how to get these things out of my house, internet, and the silence was deafening.  Deafening.  Either we are all at a loss for what to do with rice noodles or someone has the secret and she’s keeping it from me.  *narrows her eyes…*  Easy peasy, I’ll toss the spicy chard with ginger sauté with the rice noodles.  Here’s the important word in that recipe that you must pay attention to: “spicy.”  The recipe has two sliced jalapeños in it.  There’s no mention of seeding them, removing the ribs, or anything.  That’s two jalapeños and to balance that out?… chard and ginger.  Fun fact about chard and ginger: they do jack squat to cool down jalapeños.  I made this recipe as written and it was physically painful to eat.  And I love spicy food.  I put it on the rice noodles thinking, “Here we go.  The noodles will cool it down.”  Nope.  At this point, it was either throw it out or start doctoring it.

Paging Dr. P. Nutbutter!

I added a pretty considerable amount of peanut butter to the sauté.  Maybe a 1/4 cup.  It was still spicy, but not punishing.  As the final touch, I served it with diced mangoes and pineapple on the side.  Finally, after all that, we ate dinner.  Whew!

The upside: if you’re going to make this recipe, I highly recommend making a peanut butter-based sauce to put on top.  I added a 1/4 cup of peanut butter.  I could also see a mixture of peanut butter, sesame oil, and rice wine vinegar, not unlike my beloved Sesame Noodles.  You will also want to serve this on noodles.  I also recommend serving it with a cooling side.  If I did this again, frankly, I would also use only one jalapeño and take out the seeds and ribs.  Or coat your mouth with wax like Homer does before he eats the Guatemalan insanity peppers.  Upside to that plan, you get to meet a space coyote.

Then there’s the beet greens with bacon, which has the opposite problem.  It’s pretty boring.  Maybe the problem is that I tried to make all of these sautees into main dishes when this one should really just be a side dish.

With that out of the way, we have an unqualified winner of a recipe to report: Kale with Tomato, Garlic, and Thyme.  This one is as quick and easy as it is delicious.  Sauté some veggies, boil some kale, boil some pasta (I think I might have used the same water), and toss it with salt, pepper, and oil.  C’mon!  Also, with the nice garlic and thyme, plus the intense green flavor of the kale, this prevents this recipe from becoming one of those dreaded Everyday Food pasta with no sauce recipes.