Combine all of your favorite Halloween candy sweets into one peanut and popcorn candy bark treat! Dark chocolate sprinkled with caramel popcorn, M&M’s, honey roasted peanuts and Snickers, yum!
Do you ever feel a little left out during Halloween? Like you wish it wasn’t a bit strange for adults to go door to door and collect sweet little candies from your generous neighbors? Kids always get to have all the fun!
I decided just to go for it and add some of my favorite Halloween treats to none other than even more chocolate because adults deserve some insanely decadent sweets every once in a while too. This Halloween inspired peanut and popcorn candy bark recipe has got everything you need for your yearly night of indulgence, don’t worry, those sit-ups can wait until the next day.
It has become a tradition to celebrate my big brother Blandon’s birthday at Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland. We seriously look forward to this all year, getting dressed up with the kids and trying to one up our costumes from the year before. The best thing about doing this Halloween event at Disneyland is that you end up with way too many bags of candy, they have trick-o-trick stations set up throughout the park. To make sure no piece was wasted after the celebration, I improvised and created a decadent Halloween peanut and popcorn bark.
How to Use Up Your Halloween Candy
- Candy Selection- My favorite Halloween candy is Snicker’s bars and peanut M&M’s, so I decided for this candy bark. You could also use butterfingers, Baby Ruth, Kit Kat’s, anything really! If you have some candy corn, throw those on top too.
- Salty Topping– For a savory balance, add crunchy honey roasted peanuts and sweet caramel popcorn. Buttered popcorn, almonds, cashews or walnuts can also be used.
- Chocolate Choice– I used Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate chips , 60% cacao because it melts beautifully, and the bitterness balances the extreme sweetness of the other candies and popcorn on top.
- Drizzle- I used melted white chocolate to add a finishing touch on the candy bark. Milk or semi-sweet chocolate also works really well.
For the longest time I have been having trouble melting white chocolate chips that I could use for drizzling. As careful as I would be, making sure not to heat the milk chocolate over 110 degrees, somehow would always turn out stiff and clumpy. Does this happen to you?
In a moment of desperation, I thought, what if I added a little bit of vegetable shortening after I melted the chocolate? I did this because it seemed like there was too many milk solids or additives in the chocolate, keeping it from flowing when it’s melted. I was so frustrated, so I thought why not, and guess what, it worked! Adding just a little bit of extra fat into the melted white chocolate made it beautiful and silky, perfect to make the chocolate lines on the candy bark, yes!!!
Ok I totally feel guilty for even making something like this, but yet again it’s Halloween, so indulgence is almost mandatory. This is a great easy treat especially if you are having a Halloween party and want something yummy for your guests, or perhaps you just want to make your own candy.
What is the proper way to melt dark chocolate?
How you melt or “temper” chocolate is critical. One process I like to use for melting dark chocolate is called, “seeding”; melting the chocolate to no more than 120 degrees, then cooling the chocolate to 90 degrees by adding (seeding) more unmelted chocolate and stirring. Cooling the chocolate takes a bit of time, usually at least 15 minutes of mixing, but is crucial. This process gives you a nice “snap” when you bite into the chocolate, makes the surface very shiny, and it has better resistance to melting. Overheating chocolate can cause the flavor to change and not have nice melting properties. The key is to use a digital instant-read thermometer to check the temperature as the chocolate melts. Always remember, do not heat dark chocolate above 120°F! (Source: On Baking)
Peanut and Popcorn Candy Bark
- 1 pound chocolate chips, (bittersweet) 60% cacao recommended
- 1/3 cup peanuts, honey roasted
- 1/3 cup peanut M&M's, (yellow, orange, and brown)
- 1/3 cup caramel popcorn
- 8 Snickers mini bite-sized candies, cut into small pieces
- 2 ounces white chocolate chips
- vegetable shortening, as needed (crisco recommended)
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Add 2/3 of the chocolate chips in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat until melted and warm (not hot) to touch. The chocolate should be heated to 113 to 120°F, not exceeding 120°F.
- Take the bowl of melted chocolate off the heat and stir in the remaining chocolate chips, combine until smooth. Allow the melted chocolate to come between 78 to 82°F. You can place the bowl of melted chocolate over a bowl of ice water to speed up the chilling process.
- Pour chocolate onto foil; spread to 1/4-inch thickness (about 12x10-inch rectangle or 9x9-inch square pan). Sprinkle with M&M candies, caramel popcorn, peanuts, and Snickers candy, making sure all pieces touch the melted chocolate to adhere.
- Put white chocolate in a heavy small saucepan. Stir continuously over very low heat until chocolate is melted and warm but not to exceed 110°F. Remove from heat. If chocolate is melted however clumpy (not able to drizzle easily with a spoon), add some vegetable shortening to the warmed chocolate and stir until smooth, about a ¼ teaspoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached (you want to be able to drizzle the white chocolate). Dip spoon into chocolate; drizzle from side to side over bark, creating zigzag lines.
- Chill bark until firm, 30 minutes. Slide foil with candy onto work surface; peel off foil. Cut bark into irregular pieces.