Halloween Candy Compost Cookie

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Whether you are reading this recipe pre-Halloween or post-Halloween, I'm sure you are drowning in some kind of fun size candy mayhem. I used all my will power to keep my house clean of candy during the month of October, but then I broke down and rushed to the store for a bag of Halloween candy after deciding on making these cookies. 

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I came up with the idea for these cookies after polling you all on insta last week. My baking itch was scratching and needing to be healed. I polled ginger cookies vs. some kind of compost cookie situation. Compost cookies won in a landslide, so here we are (I made ginger cookies too, because why not, but they were ugly and don't deserve to be posted).

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Compost cookies are what they sound like. Basically a dump of every ingredient you can get your hands on. This time, Halloween candy being the spotlight. You want to use chocolate based candies for this. Although after the fact I thought that a few candy corn would have been cute added to the mix. But no one really likes candy corn so sorry bout ya. 

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A mix of Milky Way (OG and Midnight), 3 Musketeers, and Twix got chopped up and added in. Along with pretzels, chopped pecans, butterscotch chips (my fave) and coffee grounds. *Pro tip, make sure and reserve a few of each ingredient to dot the tops of the balls of dough with. This way you can see them on top of the cookie after they bake instead of hiding. As seen below: broken pieces of candy bars and pretzels atop dough balls. A sprinkle of Maldon salt on top is also necessary, as always. 

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Halloween Candy Compost Cookie
yields 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup pretzels
1-2 Tbsp. coffee grounds (I went the full 2 b/c i'm all about the coffee flavor)
1 cup + 1/2 cup halloween candy, chopped ( i used a mix of Milk Way, Twix and 3 Musketeers)
Maldon Salt

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 

In an electric mixer, cream your sugars and butter on medium for 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides then add the eggs and vanilla and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture into the electric mixer and mix on low until the dough has come together. Stir in 1 cup of the candy, the coffee grounds, butterscotch chips, pecans and pretzels. 

Roll 2 tablespoon size balls. Place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart (8 balls per sheet). Now take the reserved 1/2 cup of candy and dot the top of each ball of dough with a chopped piece of candy and a sprinkle of Maldon Salt. This ensures for a pretty cookie with a peek of what's inside! *Important step* Freeze the balls of dough for 10 minutes prior to baking. This will help your cookie from spreading out too thin. 

Bake for 12 minutes then allow to cool. 

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Halloween candy is already wonderful as is, but why not bake it inside butter and sugar to make it even better???

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Happy Halloween!

Annie

Bites of My Life

Nothing better than a holiday weekend, nothing worse than the end of a holiday weekend. It was so nice to just hang out with my family, enjoy the springy weather, and eat some delicious food. It was a relaxing weekend, but I'm tired just thinking about having to start a new week. I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way. 

-I've been so inspired by the dishes and ingredients in my new cookbook, I used them to create last week's dinner.  Sumac chicken thighs with garlicky broccoli topped with pomegranate molasses and tahini.
-So much hype for the gummy bears from Sprouts, I had to check it them out for myself. My opinion is still on the fence. Haven't had that "life changing" moment yet that everyone claims. 
-With this being the week leading up to Easter, I was surrounded with candy. And I gave in...
-Fried okra tasting at The Jones Assembly!
-Friday night flight. 
-#TABturns4
-Plants that don't succ. 
-"So urban" walking to dinner with these goons. 
-Sunday best. 
-Mom sets the best table!
-Jesus washed away our sins, so I didn't regret any of this sinfully delicious spread.
-Couldn't stop snacking on this combo of salty cashews and m&m's. No doubt Easter m&m's are the cutest.

Annie

Peppermint Bark

Chocolate and peppermint are the pumpkin spice of Christmas. I am a huge mint and chocolate fan, so when peppermint bark makes it's appearance around Christmas, its gimme gimme gimme. 

I was so excited to make a fun treat for my co-workers. I know it's cheesy, but I've been thinking about what I could make for a while.  Perks of the working world is always having people to pawn my treats off on. I wasn't just pawning it off on this time, I made it special for them! Hint** if you are still needing a co-worker gift, go straight home and whip up a batch, you still have a day or two!

My first batch was a disaster. Chocolate chips do not qualify as "good quality" chocolate. My first attempt I used chips and the white and chocolate layer completely broke apart when I tried to break it up. I also didn't let it set up long enough. 

After doing some research, I found 3 tips that are imperative for peppermint bark. 1. Use good quality chocolate (I used Ghiradelli) 2. Don't rush the process, let it firm up in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hours. 3. Break into pieces face down. This keeps the mess to a minimum and doesn't crush the candy cane pieces. 

Peppermint Bark

Ingredients:
8 oz *good quality semi-sweet chocolate (I used Gihradelli)
12 oz *good quality white chocolate (More white chocolate, cause I love it)
1/2 tsp. peppermint extract
5 candy canes or a handful of peppermints

Directions:
Line a 9x9 pan with foil. 

Place a heat proof bowl over a small sauce pan filled with about an 1-2 inches of water. You don't want the water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer and keep simmering. Place about 6 oz of the chocolate in the bowl and stir often until melted. Add in the rest of the chocolate. Once it is all melted together, stir in 1/4 tsp. of the peppermint extract. Pour into the prepared pan and spread evenly along the bottom. Refrigerate until firm. About 2 hours. 

While the chocolate layer is firming, place your candy canes in a Ziploc bag and crush into small pieces. Don't crush too small otherwise you will end up with powder.

Once the chocolate layer is firm and set up, repeat the melting process with the white chocolate. melting about 8 oz, then adding the rest at the end as well as then the remaining 1/4 tsp. of peppermint extract. pour over the chocolate layer and spread evenly. Sprinkle the crushed candy canes over the top and lightly press into the chocolate. Back to the fridge it goes for 2 hours or overnight. 

*Good quality chocolate is imperative, so you don't get separation between the layers. Chocolate chips will not work.

Once the bark is set up. Take it out of the pan and place face down on a kitchen towel. This will help from all of the peppermint pieces breaking. Using your hands break into random shaped pieces. Store in the fridge before gifting or in between eating!

Annie

Turtle Turtle

Alright, it's been two weeks, time to cheat a little on that New Year's resolution of eating healthy. 

Every year my family typically gets that same kind of things in our Christmas stockings. Socks, underwear, jewelry, gift cards, and candy. My sisters and I always get the Lifesaver Christmas Storybooks, mom gets her Russell Stover French chocolate mints, and dad gets Turtles. Homemade Lifesavers and mint chocolates seemed a little daunting, but I'd seen this recipe for homemade turtles and knew dad needed the homemade version this year!

Homemade Turtles adapted form Averie Cooks
yields 12 turtles

Ingredients: 
4 oz pecan halves
15 caramel squares, unwrapped
1/8 cup half-and-half
12 oz chocolate chips
sea salt, optional for sprinkling

Directions: 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Choose one that will fit in your freezer or fridge. 

Make small piles of pecans, about 5 or 6 pecans on the baking sheet. Overlap them so the caramel doesn't seep through. 

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the caramels with the cream. Microwave on 30 seconds intervals stirring each time between. Will probably take about 2-3 minutes. Spoon about a tablespoon over each pile of caramels. 

Now time to heat the chocolate. Use the same method for the chocolate that you did with the caramels. 30 second intervals, stirring between. Once it is completely melted spoon about two tablespoons over the caramel and pecan piles. 

Add a pinch of salt to the top, then place the baking sheet in the freezer or fridge to firm up. Store at room temperature for a week or up to a month in the fridge! 

They were pretty much amazing and tasted just like your traditional chocolate, caramel, pecan turtle candy, only better! My dad is probably my favorite person to cook and bake for. I think every time I make something new he says "I think this is the best thing you've ever made!!" Let's see if I can keep impressing him!

Annie