Thursday, October 28, 2010

Preparing for Halloween

I absolutely love Halloween. I guess I must be a big kid at heart because it's probably tied in second place with Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday, Christmas of course coming in first place. I love the decorations, costumes, candy and the general time of year.

I realize stores push the limit in terms of putting out their decorations earlier every year, but I will have to say I was giddy to see the Halloween decorations appear in late August. I have my own collection of Halloween decorations that first begun my freshman year in college. Yes, I had Halloween decorations in my dorm room. They were mainly a collection of things I took from my Mom and have held onto over the years (along with many other items that mysteriously disappear from my parent's house).

Chris doesn't get into the holiday like I do, but thankfully we now have two precious nephews and a perfect excuse to go all out for the holiday. So we're having our family and a few close friends over on Saturday night to celebrate Halloween. We're having all kinds of fun Halloween treats & cocktails and we're dressing up! Neither one of us have finalized our costumes but we will dress up. I will most pictures of the finalized products next week.

In Bon Appetit's October magazine I came across the most scrumptious treat that I knew I had to try.
Halloween Peanut Butter & Toffee Candy Bark
I decided this would make the perfect Halloween favor for our guests. It was simple to make and oh my goodness, delicious! I almost made myself sick last night as I made the goodie bags. :)

1 lb. bittersweet chocolate chips
3 2.1oz. Butterfinger candy bars, cut into irregular pieces (I used 8 mini sized Butterfingers cut into quarters)
3 1.4oz. Heath toffee candy bars, cut into irregular 3/4 inch pieces (I used 12 mini sized Heath bars cut into quarters)
8 .55 oz. peanut butter cups, cut into 8 wedges (I used the mini dark chocolate Reese cups and rough chopped them, but you could also use the reg. size Reese cups)
1/4 cup honey-roasted peanuts
3 oz. high-quality white chocolate
Reese's pieces and/or yellow and orange peanut M&M's ( I used the orange & yellow Reese's pieces)

Line a baking sheet with foil. Melt chocolate chips in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch. You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4 inch thickness (about 12x10 inch rectangle). Sprinkle with Butterfinger candy, toffee, peanut butter cups, and nuts, making sure all pieces touch melted chocolate to adhere.

Melt white chocolate in heavy small saucepan or the microwave. Dip spoon into chocolate; wave from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines. Scatter Reese's Pieces and M&M's over, making sure candy touches melted chocolate. Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes.

The final product. Notice there is a corner missing....I had to give it a taste test!
Slide foil with candy onto work surface; peel off foil. Break bark into irregular pieces. I found that it's best to break the bark into pieces immediately after you remove it from the refrigerator. If it gets warm it doesn't break into pieces as well.

Bark broken into pieces.
The bark can be made up to one week in advance. Chill in an airtight container and let it stand at room temperature for 15 min. before serving.

Treat bags!
I found these cute little tin buckets in the $1 bin at Target. They're perfect for the treat bags. BTW, if you haven't discovered the $1 bin at Target, you're missing out in life. You can find the greatest things....esp. gift bags, tissue paper and cards, all for $1.00!!

Halloween decorations

My homemade Halloween wreath, which can easily be converted into a Thanksgiving wreath next week.

I'm also making "mummies in a blanket" and candy apples on Saturday, so I'll let you know how they go next week.

I hope everyone has a very happy & safe Halloween!!! 

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