Even as adults it’s certain that one thing is on our mind as Halloween is approaching—candy. In honor of this day, let us no longer deny our candy cravings and indulge in its sweetness and goodness just this once.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans consume almost 25 pounds of candy every year. With nearly 1,800 U.S. candy makers producing $19 billion dollars worth of candy, it’s no wonder we’re eating so much candy.
While this number is a little frightening, remember that most of this statistic comes from children candy consumers. But if you’re still worrying about the side effects and (lack of) health benefits from eating candy, ease your worries and guilty conscience by making Halloween candies yourself!
Here are three better-for-you candies to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Nougat Squares
With a pinch of sea salt on top, these delicious candies will brighten your Halloween day.
2 C. sugar
1 ¼ C. light corn syrup
½ C. unsulfured molasses
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 egg white
¾ C. water
1 C. peanut butter
¾ C. dry powdered milk
½ C. confectioners’ sugar
1 lb. semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
Sea salt, to garnish
Spray a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a 6 quart saucepan over medium-high heat combine sugar, 1 C. corn syrup, molasses, and ¾ C. water. Secure a candy thermometer to the side of the pan and cook until mixture reaches 250 degrees without stirring. Place remaining corn syrup, vanilla and egg white into a bowl of a stand mixer.
In a medium bowl, combine powdered milk, confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter and mix until smooth; set aside. When syrup reaches 235 degrees, whip egg white mixture on high speed. Once the syrup reaches 250 degrees, remove pan from heat and let it cool for 1 minute.
Decrease mixer speed to medium and slowly pour hot syrup into the center of the egg whites. After all syrup is added, increase speed to medium-high and beat for 4 minutes. Remove bowl from mixer and, using a rubber spatula, fold in peanut butter mixture gently but quickly until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking pan and smooth with a rubber spatula; let cool to room temperature.
Remove nougat from pan once it’s cooled and place on cutting board. Cut into 1-inch squares and set aside. Combine shortening and chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl, and set over a pot of simmering water. Stirring often, heat until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Remove bowl from pot and let chocolate cool until an instant-read thermometer reads 89 degrees.
Dip a nougat square into the melted chocolate with two toothpicks, shake off excess coating, and place candy on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle a small pinch of sea salt on nougats while chocolate is still liquid; repeat with remaining nougat squares.
If chocolate is below 86 degrees, set bowl over the pot of simmering water and heat until it returns to 89 degrees, stirring constantly. Then continue coating nougat squares and let it set at room temperature before serving.
Who doesn’t like lollipops? Have fun with this recipe and be creative! You can use any flavored oil you’d like. Be cautious in using flavored extract in place of flavored oil, because its taste will become weakened by the hot sugar.
1 tsp. canola oil
2 C. sugar
2⁄3 C. light corn syrup
15 drops food coloring
Pinch of kosher salt
1⁄2 tsp. flavored oil, such as cherry, grape or lime
30 four-inch lollipop sticks
Grease 2 large sheet pans with canola oil. Arrange lollipop sticks on the pans, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Set aside.
Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and 1 C. water into a medium pot. Stir until well-mixed. Bring sugar mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cover pot. Uncover pot and fasten a candy thermometer to the inside edge. For about 15 minutes, without stirring, cook until candy reads 310 degrees. Immediately remove pot from heat and quickly stir in food coloring and flavored oil.
Working quickly, spoon about 2 Tbsp. of sugar syrup over the top of each lollipop stick to form 2 inch to 3 inch circles. (If the syrup gets too hard to spoon out, reheat over medium heat for a minute or two until it becomes easy to work with again.)
Place lollipops aside in a cool, dry spot until they hardened. Serve immediately, wrap individually, or arrange in a single layer in an airtight container and store in a cool, dry spot for up to a week.
Candied Orange Peels
There’s nothing better than homemade candy – especially when there’s fruits involved! Enjoy this tasty recipe, which makes about 40 to 50 strips of candied orange peels.
3 navel oranges
1 C. sugar
½ C. water
Cut ½” off ends of navel oranges, then make a slit in rinds and scoop out flesh. Slice peels into ⅓” wide strips, put in a bowl, cover with water, and refrigerate overnight.
Move strips to a medium pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Drain strips and set aside. In same pot, bring ½ C. water and sugar to a boil until sugar dissolves. Add strips and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, until they become soft and glazed. Dry strips on a rack until sticky. Roll in sugar, and dip ends in melted chocolate if desired.
If gummy candies, or herbal candies are more your style, don’t worry we have recipes for those too!
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