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  • Give leftover Halloween candy another chance

  • What's a person to do when the trick-or-treaters are gone but the candy isn't?
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  • What's a person to do when the trick-or-treaters are gone but the candy isn't?
    With Americans spending more on Halloween this year — an average of $79.82 per person, according to the National Retail Federation — this question is likely to come up a lot.
    Sure, you could munch on the leftover candy until Easter, but why not have a little fun with it right now?
    From ice-cream toppings to baked goods, the culinary options abound. Try one or more of today's recipes that will put those goodies to good use.
    Here are some other suggestions:
    Add chunks of cut-up candy bars to favorite cookie recipes. Use kitchen scissors to easily snip bite-sized candy bars into smaller pieces.
    Chop up candy or candy bars with a knife or scissors and put over ice cream or frozen yogurt.
    Make a trail mix with chocolate-coated candies, raisins, peanuts and any soft chewy candy.
    Press cookie dough into a pizza pan and bake the dough. Cool, then top with favorite candies such as Sweetarts and candy-coated chocolates. Or, frost the pizza cookie and sprinkle on favorite toppings.
    And don't forget about those pumpkin seeds. If you had planned to roast them, save some for Pumpkin Seed Brittle.
    Your sweet tooth will thank you.
    CANDY-BAR MERINGUES
    4 extra-large egg whites, at room temperature
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/8 teaspoon lemon juice
    1 cup granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    30 to 36 miniature candy bars, such as Milky Way, Snickers or Mounds
    Preheat oven to 250 F.
    Using an electric mixer, beat the egg whites, salt and lemon juice at medium speed until peaks form. Increase speed to high. Gradually add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Beat until just thick and glossy, not stiff. Stir in the vanilla extract.
    Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and make sure neither oven rack is in lowest position. Using a spoon, coat each candy all around in meringue, letting it peak attractively on top. Place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets.
    Bake in preheated oven for 18 minutes, then rotate sheets front to back and top to bottom. Bake for another 18 minutes.
    Turn off heat and leave meringues in unopened oven for 30 minutes longer.
    Serve warm or store in an airtight container. Makes 30 meringues.
    CANDY-BAR TRUFFLES
    12 miniature Mounds bars
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    2 eggs, beaten with 1 teaspoon water
    2 cups panko bread crumbs
    About 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil, for frying
    Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
    Rinse the candies under cold water in a colander. Coat each with flour, shaking off excess, then roll them in the egg mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Roll them in the panko, then place them on a rack to dry at room temperature for 5 minutes.
    Roll them in egg again, then again in panko, smoothing edges with your palms. They may begin to look rounded. Let them dry for 5 minutes on a rack.
    Add 1 inch of oil to a medium saucepan. Fry truffles in hot oil, turning as necessary, until golden. Drain and dust with confectioners' sugar.
    Eat immediately. Makes 12.
    MICROWAVE CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE
    1/4 cup butter or margarine
    1 cup graham-cracker crumbs
    2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/3 cup milk
    4 eggs, beaten
    1 cup chocolate candy bars, chopped
    1 cup sour cream
    Chocolate curls, for garnish (made with potato peeler from candy bars)
    In a 9-inch, round, microwave-safe dish, melt the butter or margarine in microwave on high for 45 seconds or until melted. Stir in the crumbs. Press on bottom and sides of baking dish. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes, rotating every 30 seconds.
    In a large measuring bowl or microwave-safe bowl, microwave the cream cheese at 50-percent power for 1 minute or until softened. Whisk in the sugar, salt, milk, eggs and chocolate candy. Microwave on high for 5 to 6 minutes, whisking every 2 minutes to break up any of cheesecake that starts to set. Pour over crust. Microwave on 50-percent power, rotating every 2 minutes, for 6 to 8 minutes or until it is set. Mixture will firm as it chills. Remove from microwave and cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Cover with the sour cream. Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight. Garnish with the chocolate curls.
    Makes 1 (9-inch) cheesecake.
    PUMPKIN-SEED BRITTLE
    2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing paper
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup firmly packed, light-brown sugar
    1/3 cup light corn syrup
    2 tablespoons butter
    1 cup pepitas or 1 1/4 cups dry-roasted, salted peanuts
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease paper with a bit of the butter.
    In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugars and corn syrup with 1 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until sugar has dissolved; then bring to a full boil.
    Continue to boil without stirring until temperature reaches 260 F on a candy thermometer, about 15 to 20 minutes.
    Remove pan from heat and stir in the 2 tablespoons butter and the pepitas with a wooden or heatproof spoon. Return pan to heat and continue to cook, stirring continuously, until temperature reaches 295 F, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and quickly stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Be careful; vanilla will splatter.
    Immediately pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet. Spread it as thin as possible with a heatproof spatula. Let stand until completely cool. Break brittle into serving pieces and store in an airtight container or seal in a bag. This will keep up to 2 weeks.
    Makes about 24 pieces.
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