Monday, October 19, 2015

Easy Peasy Halloween Bars

Ah Halloween. I have a bit of a love hate thing going on with it. When I was a kid, I loved it--everything about it--the candy, which I would group according to how much I liked it and then eat in a tidy rationed way so that one year it lasted me all the way until Easter (I learned that year that chocolate has a shelf life). I loved the costumes--the chance to make myself into someone else--someone interesting or dangerous or historic. I went all out with my costumes and would also be in character throughout Halloween (yeah, one of those kids--that was me).

As a grown up, however, I've struggled at times to not hate it. There's the candy orgy for starters. Certain of my children have proved to be slightly less moderate/hoardy than me with their candy. Certain of my children may or may not have eaten so much at Halloween parties that they actually puked afterwards. And then there are the costumes. Now, instead of girls making themselves into anyone interesting they can dream up, the theme seems to be making them into a) a princess of some variety or b) someone fit for child sex trafficking. That's kind of not my thing. If you're 20 and want to be sexy Dumbo or whatever, then I guess you can (though I still think you're selling yourself short). But there's no reason that my ten-year-old should have the choice of really short skirt with plunging neck line, or get out the sewing machine cause you're making your own. The sexiest costume I ever imagined was this space fighter in purple--I wanted purple leggings and a purple shirt and hair (so, apparently the closest I got to a "sexy" costume was a little like dressing up like Barney). I never got this costume because where on earth was my mom going to find purple leggings--we lived in a little town and there was no internet. There went not-so-sexy space girl/Barney impersonator.

My solution for all of these Halloween problems has been to slightly ignore Halloween. I let my kids pick a costume they like--it has to be cheap or they have to buy it, or--heck--they can just go pull one out of the dress up bag if they want. And then we attend whatever events friends of ours dream up, but I don't really fuss over Halloween or put any effort into it at all. Maybe that's sad. Maybe it's just a healthy step into adulthood. Either way, you can now be lazy (but still awesome) with me. These bars take all of 10 minutes to prepare and then you can be out the door with them if need be. They're tasty and Halloweeny and could also be used as vehicles to use up leftover candies from Halloween or leftover cereal from normal life. I really think they're infinitely adaptable. But did I mention still awesome.

Easy Peasy Halloween Bars
adapted from Suzie the Foodie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cost: $3.60
corn syrup: .35, sugar: .25, peanut butter: 1.10, cereal: 1.00, chocolate chips: .90

1 C corn light corn syrup
1 C sugar
1 1/3 C peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
4 C cereal (I used rice crispies, but any bland cereal would work--Cheerios, Special K, cornflakes, whatever)
1 C chocolate chips
assorted candies, optional

Heat corn syrup and sugar over medium heat. Let sugar dissolve and bring to boiling. Boil gently (so turn that heat down if it starts to get really bubbly) for two minutes (you might want to time it; cook it too long and it will get weird).

Stir in peanut butter. Add vanilla. Then stir in the cereal.

At this point you can also stir in some chunks of leftover Halloween candies. Just chop up some leftovers and mix them in. I think almost any chocolate would be good.

If you don't want to sacrifice your chocolate Halloween candy, that's fine. Just make it plain.

While it's still warm, put the chocolate chips on and let them melt. Then spread them around. If they don't melt put them in an oven on the middle rack, and set the oven to broil. Leave them in for only a minute or two and then take them out (seriously--don't forget they're there or everything will burn). Then your chocolate should be melty enough to spread.

If you wish add Halloween candy to the top. We used candy corn and it was great. But almost anything chocolate-y or nutty will work.

Cut and eat warm or cooled.


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