Halloween candy is still as exciting for most adults as it is for children. It's part of everyone's fall ritual, whether you're taking your kids trick-or-treating or handing out candy to adorable children in costume. Kids love the traditional favorites - and so do many adults. But with packaged goodies full of extra sugar and additives, what could be better than making your favorite candies at home?
Making your own versions of your favorite candy at home is a fun way to create delicious and festive treats. It's also a great activity to get your kids involved in the kitchen. For a few go-to recipes, check out some of our favorites.
To recreate some staple Halloween favorites, including Reese's, Nestlé Crunch, Snickers, Mounds, and Dots, we used really high-quality chocolate (milk for the Reese's, Crunch, and Snickers and dark for the Mounds). To make them just a little healthier, we lowered the sugar in almost all of the recipes as well. For depth of flavor, praline paste was added to the filling for the peanut butter cups, and to make the Snickers even more peanut-buttery, we used a peanut butter nougat instead of the brand's plain nougat. For the Dots, we used fruit purées with no artificial ingredients. And finally, we added a pinch of salt to almost everything because it helps bring out the flavors in each candy and balance out the sweetness.
While these homemade candies leave out the preservatives and extra sugar, they are equally delicious and resemble the store-bought favorites. They're certainly a better option than the store-bought brands, and may also be a good choice for kids who have allergies or intolerance to certain preservatives or ingredients in factory-made candy bars. And most of these recipes are kid-friendly, too, so you can get in some family time and have a few helpers in the kitchen!
Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars Recipe
With a few pantry staples along with coconut and chocolate, you can make your own Almond Joy Bars at home in under 2 hours (with actual cooking time much less).
Click here to see the Chocolate Covered Coconut Bars Recipe
Chocolate Crunch Bars Recipe
Crunch Bars are a tasty treat that you can make at home with a box of crisped rice cereal, chocolate, and other pantry essentials. This Halloween favorite can be made in under an hour too.
Click here to see the Chocolate Crunch Bars Recipe
Fruit Jellies Recipe
These fruit jellies taste similar to your favorite candy, Dots. Once you have gathered all the ingredients like pectin and fruit puree, these treats can be made in 30 minutes.
Click here to see the Fruit Jellies Recipe
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Recipe
Peanut butter cups are easy to make at home and a fun activity for kids. Chances are you already have all the ingredients on hand and you can make these treats in about 1 hour.
Click here to see the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups Recipe
Chocolate Peanut Caramel Nougat Bars Recipe
These Chocolate Peanut Caramel Nougat Bars taste just like Snickers. These are a bit more complicated becase they have three components: chocolate coating, nougat, and caramel. You probably have many of the ingredients in your pantry already like chocolate, sugar, and peanuts. You can make these treats in about 2 hours.
For the chocolate coating:
8 cups milk chocolate
1/3 cup unsalted butter
For the nougat:
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup egg whites
2 cups smooth peanut butter (not natural)
For the caramel:
1/2 vanilla bean, split
1 1/3 cups butter, cubed
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 cup toasted salted peanuts
For the chocolate coating:
Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
Melt the chocolate and the butter together over a double-boiler until the chocolate is almost fully melted. Pour a thin layer of the chocolate mixture into the prepared pan and refrigerate until hardened, approximately 30 minutes.
For the nougat:
Next, make the nougat. Place the egg whites in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In separate saucepans, mix 1 cup of sugar with a small amount of water, and 1 ¾ cups of sugar with a small amount of water. Place both pans over medium heat and bring to a boil.
When the 1 cup of sugar comes to a boil, begin whipping the egg whites. Using candy thermometers, measure the temperature of both saucepans. When the 1 cup of sugar reaches 240 degrees, pour it into the whipping whites; lower the speed of the white to ensure the hot sugar does not splash out of the bowl. Once all of the sugar mixture is poured in, increase the speed and continue whipping.When the 1 ¾ cups of sugar reaches 254 degrees, pour it into the whipping egg whites/sugar mixture (again, be sure to lower the speed until all is poured in). Continue to whip for 1 minute, then remove from the stand mixer and stir in the peanut butter by hand just to combine.
Remove the pan with the cooled chocolate from the fridge, and spread the nougat evenly onto the chocolate layer. Refrigerate while you make the caramel.
For the caramel:
Scrape the vanilla seeds from the split bean into the cubed butter. Place all of the sugar in a saucepan and add a very small amount of water, just enough to hydrate the sugar. Cook until amber in color. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla butter, one small piece at a time, to emulsify. When half of the butter has been added, whisk in the honey. Add in the rest of the butter, 1 piece at a time, and continue whisking until all is incorporated.
Fold in the peanuts; do not overmix. Remove the 9-by-13-inch pan from the fridge and pour the caramel/peanut mixture over the nougat layer. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Pour a thin layer of the remaining melted chocolate mixture over the top of the caramel/nuts layer (you may microwave the chocolate mixture for 15 seconds if it's too thick). Refrigerate until hardened, approximately 30 minutes.
Remove the candy from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Using a sharp chef's knife, cut the candy into small rectangles.
Prepare a sheet tray lined with parchment. Dip each candy rectangle in the remaining melted chocolate mixture, covering each completely. Place each dipped candy onto the prepared sheet tray. Once all candies are dipped, refrigerate until hardened, approximately 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
-AJ Stone, The Daily Meal