The days after Christmas (or Thanksgiving, for that matter) in my house are always the same, year in and year out: There’s so much food leftover, but I’m ready for a much-needed break from mashed potatoes and, yes, even Christmas cookies or pie.
If you have some extra candy sitting around from Christmas but you just don’t know what to do with it and if you’re anything like me and need a break from cookies, today’s the day to whip something new together — it’s National Chocolate Candy Day.
HERSHEY’S CHEESECAKE BROWNIES
From The Recipe Critic. Serves about 16.
With chocolate chips, cocoa powder and then a blanket of melty milk chocolate on top, you don’t need more than a few bites to get your chocolate fix.
- 10 tbsp. butter
- 3 oz. Hershey’s Milk Chocolate chips
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
— Cream cheese swirl:
- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Full sized Hershey’s bars, enough to cover the top of the batter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper cut long enough to hang over two sides. Spray with cooking oil.
- In small saucepan over medium heat, melt the chocolate chips and butter until smooth and allow to cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla with the sugar. Slowly add in chocolate mixture until well combined.
- In a small bowl, sift together cocoa, salt and flour. Add the mixture to the rest of the batter. Don’t overmix.
- Pour the batter into a prepared baking pan.
- For the cream cheese swirl, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Pour over the brownie batter and use a sharp knife to swirl together.
- Bake for 1 hour, or until brownies are set. Top with full-sized candy bars and return to the still warm (but off) oven until lightly melted. Let cool before serving.
REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP FUDGE
From The Domestic Rebel. Serves 24.
Before I left the dairy life, Reese’s Cups were my favorite candy — thus beginning my obsession with chocolate and peanut butter. The peanut butter cuts the sweetness in the fudge — but only a little, so think about sharing with friends or coworkers.
- 2 cups peanut butter chips
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk
- 24 normal-sized Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, unwrapped and divided
- Line an 8×8-inch pan with foil, extending the sides of the foil over the edges of the pan. Spray and set aside.
- Line the pan with 4 rows of 4 peanut butter cups (for a total of 16 cups lining the bottom of the pan). Roughly chop the remaining candies and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter and milk chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk over medium heat, stirring gently until melted and smooth.
- Pour the melted fudge mixture on top of the peanut butter cups in the prepared pan, gently smoothing out the top into an even and flat layer. Immediately top with the chopped peanut butter cups, pressing gently onto the top of the fudge.
- Allow the fudge to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes to cool, then let cool for another one to two hours before cutting into small squares.
HALLOWEEN CANDY COOKIE CAKE
From Baker by Nature. Serves about 10.
Don’t let the name fool you — you could make this candy cookie cake (say that three times fast!) any time you want. Warning: You will have extra candy left over, so be sure to share or stash it away for when you have a sweet tooth.
— Cookie cake:
- 14 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ½ cup dark brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 cups + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ¾ tsp. salt
- 1 ½ cups chopped up fun-size candy (use any kind you like, but have some variety)
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp. milk
- ¼ tsp. salt
- Whoppers candy, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9-inch pie dish with non-stick spray and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar and beat until fluffy. Add eggs and beat until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as you go.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Add 1 cup of candy and stir until combined.
- Press the cookie dough evenly into the prepared pan and sprinkle the remaining candy on top, gently pressing down on the candy. Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack, and let cookie cake cool all the way. Once cool, transfer the cookie cake to a large plate or serving dish.
- For the frosting, place a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Add the salt, powdered sugar and cocoa powder to the strainer and gently stir them through and into the bowl, avoiding large clumps. Set aside. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and slowly add the salt/sugar/cocoa powder mixture, alternating with splashes of milk. Beat until creamy and combined.
- Decorate the cookie cake with the frosting and top the frosting with the malted candies, if desired.
From Averie Cooks. Serves about 30.
If you don’t want to buy any chocolate candies, you can easily make your own. Turtles are simple candies of caramel, pecans and, of course, chocolate.
- 8 oz. pecan halves
- 25 caramel squares, unwrapped (about 1 heaping cup)
- ¼ cup cream or half-and-half, divided
- 16 oz. roughly chopped chocolate, melted (milk chocolate, semi-sweet or dark … any are fine)
- Sea salt
- Line two baking sheets or large platters with parchment paper.
- Make small piles of pecans, using about 5 pieces per pile. Overlap the pecans a bit.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add the caramels, half of the cream and heat on high to melt. Stop and stir every 30 seconds.
- Add 1 tbsp. of caramel to the top of each pecan pile and set aside.
- In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add 8 oz. of chocolate and heat to melt, stirring every 15 seconds. Add 2 tbsp. chocolate to the top of each pecan cluster by dolloping on top.
- Add a pinch of sea salt to the top of each turtle.
- Allow turtles to set at room temperature for a few hours before serving.
Do you have a favorite chocolate candy? Let us know by filling out our form – we’ll share what we learn.
Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter at @DanielleWaldron.