Use Up that Halloween Candy! Candy Bucket Cookies

The day after Halloween always leaves parents with that quandary of what to do with all that candy?

Eat it? Hide it?

How about bake with it? Then you can give it away at work or to your friends/neighbors, and you will become an instant hero. No costume needed.

We don’t get trick-or-treaters at our house since we’re semi-rural. When the kids were younger, we’d dress them up and drive them into town for the rollicking fun of trick-or-treating and the annual bounty of Halloween candy.

This was about 6 years ago, and yes. It snowed 18″ the day before Halloween. And was about 45-50 degrees on actual Halloween. It’s New England.

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We’re even the fools who dress up our dogs. Meet Lucy the punk rock bulldog.

When the kids were younger, I wish I’d had this Candy Bucket Cookie recipe from the Food Network to use up their Halloween candy – ’cause I’d end up eating quite a bit of the candy myself – but I only came across this recipe a few years back when we were living in VT. I made it for the students at my kids’ school and they¬†hoarked¬†them down, begging for more.

Tonight at my workout – the irony, I know, that I thought about this cookie recipe at my workout – one of the guys said he’d bought $50 worth of candy for his office [um, nice guy, huh? Depends on your perspective, right?], and the lightbulb went off; I needed to make these cookies!!

Leaving my workout, I headed to the drug store at 8:30 pm to buy up the Halloween candy that was now on sale. Again, the irony of doing this after my workout… The gentleman at the register gave me an incredibly curious look, but I just smiled. Let him think what he wanted – that I was headed off to a late Halloween party, looking like a sweaty slob; that I had wicked late trick-or-treaters; or that I was going on an candy eating bender.

No matter. I got all the primo candy on half-off sale. Yeah me.

I mighta had a piece or two on the way home. Hey. I just did a killer workout.

These cookies weren’t for us [well, maybe one or two], but our local community center is doing a benefit dinner tomorrow night for a family whose house burned, and they were asking for homemade desserts.¬†DONE!¬†My daughter also made King Arthur’s Fudge Brownies¬†for the dessert table.

Pretty sure there’s going to be some happy eaters who’re munching down while they are helping out a community member with their dinner dollar donations.


The first step in this chock-full-o’-candy recipe is to cut up 2 cups of candy of your choice into pieces. I bought Kit Kat, Twix, Milky Way, Snickers, regular M&Ms, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and 3 Musketeers candy bars.

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I might’ve gone a bit overboard with how much candy I bought. I think some of that will be going to the Community Center for dessert tomorrow night, as well. Maybe I’ll need to make another double batch and deliver to some peeps.

I was doubling the recipe since I was baking for a crowd. I mighta had a few more bits and pieces as I cut them up:

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By the time I was done chopping up the candy, it definitely looked like I’d been on a¬†massive¬†candy binge.

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Reese’s made the saddest looking pumpkin shaped peanut butter cups. I mean, I kinda see it, but…just sad. These “pumpkins” looked a little like the pumpkin on my front porch… which has been through several frosts. As Judd Nelson said in the Breakfast Club,¬†“Demented and sad, but social.”¬†My pumpkin’s still smiling, but looks like a grandpa who forgot to put in his teeth.

These “pumpkins” look a wee bit more like the droppings in the pile of dung the friggin’ bear left on my front walkway after eating all my apples off my front porch.

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I almost fell over laughing when I saw the 3 Musketeers bars. OK… so now our Halloween candy has to be motivational? <eyes rolling back so far they actually hurt>

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Did Stuart Smalley design this season’s mini bars?

And this, my friends, is why I do not work in marketing. I would never be allowed¬†to work in marketing.¬†I’m tired of the everybody gets a trophy notion. My bars might say¬†try harder next time, not everyone is a winner, you don’t deserve a trophy – you didn’t win.

But then, I have been called a meanie head and a cynical bastard multiple times. I far prefer to think of it as simply realistic. But you go with your bad, motivational self, 3 Musketeers. You go.

The recipe calls for a honkin’ 4 oz scoop. People!! This is a muffin sized scoop. An ice cream scoop. This will produce a cookie that will be worthy of the Jolly Green Giant.

Go for it, if you want. I mean some people totally dig the super-sized portions, but I prefer a relatively normal sized cookie. I used my black-handled Zeroll scoop, packing in the dough, and when weighed, the scoop was around 2 oz. I knew I needed to lower the cooking time since my scoops were smaller, and in my oven, the ideal cooking time for these beauties was 12 minutes for a 2oz dough ball.

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Because of the amount of butter and sugar, these cookies¬†will¬†spread, so make sure you give them plenty of space to grow,¬†especially¬†if you’re making the Jolly Green Giant version.

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More often than not, these puppies will remain perfectly round. But if you’re like me and like to add candy bars with caramel, the caramel will ultimately explode out the side of a few:

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Do not fear this. Just make sure to have a spoon or a knife at the ready immediately upon pulling the cookies out of the oven. Simply trim off any burnt pieces or push the caramel and chocolate back into the cookie so its round again.

Once the cookie cools, no one will be the wiser that the cookie below once looked like the amebic shapes above.

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If you’re using unsalted butter, just make sure to add 1/4 tsp salt to the dry mix per stick of unsalted butter. In this recipe’s case, add 1/4 + 1/8 tsp salt to the dry ingredients if using unsalted butter [or 3/4 tsp salt for a double batch].

What happens with the salted butter [or addition of salt] is that the dough becomes nice and salty to balance out the extra sweetness added in from the candy. You could easily drop a few flakes of sea salt on top of each ball of dough before baking for an extra salty-sweet kick.

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If you’re a candy lover, or just want and¬†indulgent¬†cookie that will absolutely cure your sweet cravings, this is a fantastic go-to recipe. You can use it with any type of candy or chocolate. It’d be great at Christmas or Easter time or any time you simply had eyes bigger than your stomach.

Enjoy!

Candy Bucket Cookie

Have Halloween candy setting around that needs to get used up? Here's the perfect recipe!

Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, chocolate, cookie, cookies, dessert, Halloween, Halloween candy
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooling time 15 minutes
Total Time 29 minutes
Servings 20 4 oz cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks 12 tablespoons salted butter, melted then cooled slightly
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 cups chopped leftover Halloween candy such as Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Snickers, M and Ms and Butterfingers

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the light brown sugar, butter, granulated sugar, vanilla, whole egg and egg yolk. Blend until smooth and combined, about 30 seconds. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Fold in the candy pieces.

  3. Using a 4-ounce ice cream scoop, plop out 10 to 12 cookies on each prepared baking sheet. Bake until slightly golden and puffy, 14 to 17 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

If using unsalted butter, add additional salt with the dry ingredients. For this recipe, it would be an additional 1/4 + 1/8 tsp kosher salt (.375 tsp)

If using candy with caramel, the cookies may be misshaped when coming out of the oven. Immediately reform the cookies on the cookie sheet with a butter knife or spoon by pushing the "exploded" candy back into the cookie.

For an extra dash of the salty sweet flavor combo, sprinkle a small bit of flaky sea salt on top of each cookie before baking.

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