Salted candy bar cookies

It's hard to improve perfection.

Halloween candy, for example. There's something about this seasonal treat that sets it a few notches higher than the average Milky Way, or heck, even a Milky Way Midnight. Halloween candy comes in a diverse cluster, filling a plastic bag with bright colors and foreign treats. It can  leads us down the road to the more evasive candies, like Caramel Apple Tootsie Roll pops or Rolos.  I rarely eat candy, and when I do, I stick to the classics. Enter Halloween, and it's fun-sized buffet of everything from malted milk balls to dark chocolate Kit Kats. 

That being said, after a week of dipping my hands into the pile of plastic and sugar, I was ready to think outside of the box. And I was reading Paris Letters, specifically the chapter when she's quotes Hemingway and says that if we ever feel stuck, all we need to do is "write one true sentence." Okay!

1. Halloween candy is good. 

And then I wrote another. 

2. Chocolate chip cookies are good.

BOOM! Halloween candy + chocolate chip cookies + a sprinkling of salt (because salt makes everything sparkle) = Candy Bar Cookies that sing like the sirens and taste like a fancier version of childhood. 

I made these on a late Saturday afternoon, after two yoga classes and a walk that was was too long to be doing with a yoga mat strapped to my back.  I felt all zen-like and was super into the idea of hanging out in the stillness of the kitchen for a few hours. The sun sunk down early, and I opened a bottle of red champagne and began chopping the cold chocolate. 

When I poured the candy out onto the table, the made an adorable clunkthudclunk and lay splayed out like a painting.  The snickers cut quite nicely, revealing flat squares of nougat, peanuts, and caramel. The Butterfingers were another matter, and flaked, sprinkling the cutting board in a sweet orange powder. Said orange powder ended up being an entirely new ingredient within the cookies, giving them a hint of salty, peanut-y-ness throughout. No complaints whatsoever. 

The resulting cookers were like a party; lots of candies invited and I want to hang out with all of them.  Snickers and Babe Ruth dominate as beer pong partners, and Milky Way makes sexy eye contact with Hershey's. Whoppers instigates a game of strip poker, and all the candies squeal, remove their wrappers, and then I eat them all. (!!) 

The base cookie recipe comes from Crepes of Wrath, and it's perfect.  Crispy edges, soft interiors, and a delicate balance of salt and butter. I ate them at the kitchen table, breaking the edges off and dipping them into a glass of milk. It was cozy and fun and I've never more like a child and a grownup at the exact time. 

Salted candy bar cookies 

1 cup brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

¾ cup unsalted butter, melted

1 egg

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups chopped fun-sized candy bars

fleur de sel or sea salt, for sprinkling

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Use a chef's knife to chop the candy bars into small, 1-inch chunks and set inside. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the melted butter and sugars until incorporated. Add in the egg, mix until combined, then the egg yolk, and mix until combined. Add in the vanilla and mix.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add it to the sugar mixture and use a large spoon or rubber spatula to mix until just combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Fold in the chopped candy bars. 

Line a baking sheet with parchment parchment paper or silpat, and scoop out 2-tablespoon sized balls onto the sheets. Sprinkle a bit of salt onto each cookie. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until just lightly golden and set. All to cool on the sheets for a few minutes before removing. 

I find this whole thing is a bit easier if the candy bars are refrigerated beforehand. I made these using Hershey's, Milky Ways, Reeses, Butterfingers, Snickers, Whoppers, and Take 5. 

-stay cozy

 

 

Gluten-free and vegan chocolate covered oreos

Happiest of happy Halloweens! I hope your day is filled with fun-sized milky ways, plastic pumpkins, and face paint.

It's been a good week. Last Monday night I was fortunate enough to participate in a creative non-fiction writing exercise with the Ziji Collective. The experience was like tossing scarves into the wind on an autumn day; simultaneously cozy and freeing.

The exercise was to simply write out "I remember _______." They were truths, and often short little stories. For example:

I remember wanting to read the famous sex scene in Judy Blume's Forever, but not being able to because the book wasn't allowed in my middle school library. 

I remember entering a chat room for the first time. 

I remember when my high school history teacher threw a baby doll off the porch of our trailer-classroom in order to demonstrate what happened to unfit, Spartan babies. 

We took turns reading from a book of "I remembers" and then sharing our own. What came across was a sense of connection; many of us had eyeballed the weird looking old guy on the bus or re-visited a sex scene in some piece of fiction. We had once felt cool, and then stupid, and then cool once again, and then confused. 

As Halloween approaches, I'm sure we all have many "I remembers." This holiday is the launch pad into the fall season. It's when the walk home from school felt somewhat spookier and you sorted you candy for an elementary school activity. It's a party where they've somehow made hotdogs into sexy costumes and cupcakes with lime green frosting. 

In LA, we had our first lick of Fall yesterday. While I was babysitting, Dylan and I went on a walk, and we had to put on our long sleeves for the journey out into the surprisingly crisp weather of the Santa Monica late afternoon. His family is having a Halloween party tomorrow night, so we also made chocolate covered "oreos" for celebration munchies. Quotes are necessary because these oreos were of the gluten and dairy free variety so that mom could enjoy some as well. Halloween snacks are far more fun when everyone dive right in. (I remember how sad I was when it was the era of braces and I sat looking longingly at a plate of candy apples.)

Because everything was so damn precious, I had to take pictures. 

"Do you always take pictures when you bake things?" Dylan asked me.

"For the most part," I said. The shutter clicked. Dylan, ever curious, pulled out his dad's camera (a big fancy thing) and started to follow suit.  We had a nice time. 

Gluten and dairy-free chocolate covered oreos

One pack of gluten/dairy-free oreos (Newman's Own makes a good one.)

2 cups of dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Mini-Chips. They melt easier, too.) 

3 tablespoons coconut oil 

Decorative tasties! Sprinkles, frosting, whatever your heart desire. (optional, but not really)

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a double-boiler or in the microwave. If microwaving, cook in 30 minutes blast until fully melted, stirring in between. 

Lay out a piece of wax or parchment paper over a baking sheet. Using a pair of tongs, dip the cookies into the chocolate, fully coating each side,  and place onto the parchment paper.

If using sprinkles, start to decorate the oreos. If not, place them into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

Make or prep your frosting. I used this buttercream recipe and added orange food coloring for a spOOOOOOOky result! 

 

I think we'll remember that afternoon.  Enjoy your treats, friends! I'll be romping around as Aladdin Sane tonight, so keep your eye out for some sparkles. 

-stay cozy