At school drop-off the other day, I ran into my friend Carla. We talked about what our kids were going to be for Halloween, and then she asked, "Do you know if there are any programs to give away all that extra Halloween candy?"
My usual plan is to remove the excess loot from my kids' pumpkins when they are sleeping. The best thing to do then, healthwise, would probably be to throw it away. But even though candy has no nutritional value, I still can't bring myself to discard it. So I recycle it: I bring it to work, where it somehow magically disappears within minutes.
Recycling is one of the new "three Rs," which have traditionally referred to "Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic." These days, it carries an additional meaning-- "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." Kids in Northern California and in other eco-conscious cities and towns are becoming environmentally literate even before they learn to read.
I didn't get the head start that my kids have, but I am getting my eco-education just by living in San Francisco. I just wish it could be more fun.
Now that Halloween is approaching, I'd like to apply the waste-sorting lessons I have learned to creatively reusing Halloween candy. I'm talking about compost.
Compost may not sound like an appetizing thing to eat, unless you've been to David Chang's Momofuku Milk Bar in New York. The Milk Bar's pastry chef, Christina Tosi, created a cookie with a cult following known as the compost cookie (™).
I had one recently and it was fabulous -- a little bit of salt to temper and enhance the sweet, and added crunch from its compost pail of ingredients: coffee grounds, potato chips and pretzels to complement chocolate and butterscotch chips. The result combines the tastes of chocolate chip cookies with chocolate-covered pretzels and espresso beans. In honor of this brilliant New York creation and living green, San Francisco-style, I've adapted the compost cookie idea into a blondie filled with a bounty of Halloween candy.
Because blondies have more fun.
- 2¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup coarsely chopped Halloween chocolate candy (I used 3 mini 0.5-ounce Heath bars and 11 Hershey's miniatures -- Hershey bar, Special Dark, Krackel)
- 2 tablespoons coffee grounds, for the true spirit of compost
- ¾ cup salty snacks, coarsely crushed (I used equal parts potato chips and pretzels)
- Preheat oven to 375° F and grease a 15 x 10 baking pan.
- Sift together flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
- In another bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
- Add in eggs one at a time. Beat until very well combined and light.
- Add vanilla.
- Slowly mix dry ingredients with the wet until completely combined.
- With a wooden spoon, slowly mix in your crushed Halloween candy.
- Swirl in coffee grounds.
- Very gently add the crushed chips and pretzels. Don't overstir or they'll break into crumbs.
- Spread batter evenly into the greased baking pan.
- Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean and edges are golden.
- Cool completely before cutting.