Before we had kids, my husband and I were Halloween fanatics. We threw an annual Halloween costume party at our apartment each year and we had more Halloween decorations than we did Christmas ones. For us, it was the one time of year where all of our friends could channel their inner-child and let loose.
Well long gone are the days without kids, or parties that went un till dawn. But now, we find ourselves feeding off of our own children's excitement for Halloween each year. It's so much fun watching them pour over the costume catalogs trying to decide what they should be this year. Or, in the case of our kids, what they should be every year for the next ten years!
Unfortunately, our family's enthusiasm for Halloween often leaves us with lots of leftover Halloween candy. I hate wasting it, so I'm always trying to find new ways to use it up. So when I came across a version of this recipe in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food Magazine the other day, I just had to test it out.
Her original version is buttery-sweet with lots of caramel inside. This is super yummy if your kids (and husband) will eat a cookie without chocolate chips in it, but if yours won't, you might want to add in some semi-sweet chocolate chips. The best part of this recipe is that you can use whatever candy bars you happen to have leftover - which means you can have endless varieties of this one recipe.
* 3 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
* 1 teaspoon fine salt
* 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup caramels, such as Kraft (about 20), halved
* 1 cup roughly chopped assorted miniature chocolate candy bars (about 16)
* 3/4 cup m&m's, for decorating.
Step 1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and middle thirds.
Step 2.) In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking soda.
Step 3.) In a seperate large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugars on high until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Step 4.) Beat in eggs, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, beat in flour mixture in three additions until combined. Beat in vanilla. Fold in caramels and candy bars.
Step 5.) Using a 1/3-cup spring-loaded scoop, drop dough, 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake 8 minutes. Remove from oven; immediately press candies onto cookies, then rotate sheets and bake until golden around edges and set in centers, about 8 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.
P.S. The original recipe appeared in Everyday Food, October 2011.