Creative Uses for Leftover Easter Candy

Guest Post by Catherine from A Spirited Mind

Between egg hunts with extended family and Easter baskets at church, my three children always wind up with an impressive haul of Easter candy. The kids don’t need that much candy and my husband and I don’t either! To top it off, stores put candy on clearance the week after a holiday, and I often run across bags of sweets for 75-90% off in the course of my normal grocery store and drug store shopping.

Instead of throwing the candy away and passing up the clearance deals, I’ve found a few creative uses for Easter candy other than simply eating it all out of hand (or, in this case, out of basket). You can use holiday candy to provide treats throughout the year for your family or for others, and to show hospitality inexpensively.

Here are my top three favorite uses for leftover or clearance candy:

1) Substitute chopped candy for chocolate chips or baking chips in recipes.

Many types of candy can be chopped up to use in place of chocolate chips or other baking chips in recipes like cookies, brownies, or Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. In my area, bags of chocolate chips cost between $1.50 and $2, so if I can find about two cups of chocolate candy for less than that, I consider it a good deal.

 Any candy that is purely chocolate, “crunch” type chocolate, or chocolate with nuts will work for this purpose. Do use caution with candies containing toffee or nougat, since those will spread in the hot oven and can make regular cookies too sticky.

A nice mix of chopped chocolate is a good place to hide those cheap generic chocolate candies that always get left at the bottom of the Easter basket until the good stuff is gone! When I bake with chopped candies, I use a little less than the recipe calls for. For example, I usually use a whole bag of chocolate chips when I make cookies, but I would recommend only using a scant two cups of chopped chocolates because the varied textures of the candies can make the cookies come out uneven if you use more.

Once your mix of chocolate is chopped, you can freeze it in two cup portions to use later, or bake up a big batch of something to share with friends, neighbors, teachers or anyone else you’d like to bless with a sweet treat!

2) Use gummi candy to make shapes for decorating.

Instead of letting gummi candies harden and go to waste, you can use them to make pretty gummi butterflies, flowers, or other shapes to decorate cakes, cupcakes, or petit fours. I find that Starbursts, gumdrops and other soft gummis work best for shaping, while hard-shelled varieties like Skittles and jelly beans give mixed results depending on the brand. Feel free to check out my gummi decoration tutorialfor inspiration!

Once you’ve reshaped your gummi candy and dipped it in sugar to set it, you can freeze the shapes to use later if you don’t need them right away.

3) Have a fondue party!

Whether or not it’s well-suited for baking, any type of chocolate can make a fabulous fondue. To make the fondue, melt the candy in a double boiler or a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water and add cream until it’s the consistency you like (the amount of cream will vary depending on how much chocolate you’re using).

You can separate your candy into types first, or make an eclectic mixture. Cut up apples, pears, bananas or other fruit to dip in the fondue, or serve it with some clearance Easter slice-and-bake cookies. Fondue is a fun treat for kids, a romantic dessert for Date Night In, or a fun and inexpensive way to get some friends together. If you don’t have enough chocolate bunnies in your own candy stash to make up fondue for a crowd, maybe a pot-luck fondue party would be a good way for your friends to use up their surplus Easter goodies and have a fun get together besides.

Hopefully these ideas will get your creative juices flowing and make the leftover or clearance candy more useful than you thought. What other fun or inventive ways have you found to use candy after a holiday?

Catherine Gillespie lives with her husband and three small children in a little house on what used to be the prairie. She writes about good books, literature-based preschooling, extemporaneous cooking, faithful parenting and other creative pursuits at A Spirited Mind. You can also find Catherine on Twitter and Facebook.

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Comments

  1. Katie S. says

    I think it’s a great idea to send to our troops overseas! It’s a little taste of home, and I’m sure they would appreciate it!

  2. Rita says

    great idea…just dont send chocolate it melts before it gets there this time of the year

  3. says

    M&Ms: Use them year-round for potty training. Not that we’ve been potty training for six months or anything crazy like that . . . Also use them in place of chocolate chips for cookies or brownies: no chopping required!

    Hershey Kisses and Reese’s PB Cups (minis): I make cocoa cookies and press a candy on top of each one before baking. The mini Reese’s and the Mint Truffle Kisses make great combinations with cocoa cookies! I think the smallest-size Reese’s eggs would work for this also.

    Chocolate bars, M&Ms, PB eggs/cups: Pour a little brownie batter into the pan. Place a layer of candy across the batter, then pour the rest of the batter on top of the candy. I have seen this one with leftover Snickers bars post-Halloween.

    I also have purchased clearance Christmas Hershey Kisses, segregated them by wrapper color, and then put them on my office desk at Valentine’s Day (the red ones) and St. Patrick’s Day (the green ones). No one else knows they were packaged for Christmas.

    Easter candies that don’t have eggs, bunnies or chicks on them (think: pastel M&Ms, plain pastel wrappers, etc) can be used at baby showers. I’ve done that before.

    • Mumof2 says

      @Christina,
      I did the shower thing a few years ago. I knew a shower was coming up, so when I saw the pastel-wrapped york mint mini’s…not on sale yet, but I scooped up several bags (I wanted pink and silver for the shower…so the blue ones ended up slowly (?) being consumed at home)

  4. says

    Also, I love when stores mark down “seasonal” candy items that I don’t consider seasonal! Today I scored Wilton’s chocolate melts (white, though they also had pink) for 1/2 price – simply because they were marketed for Easter. I took all three remaining bags to use for homemade candy coating.

  5. says

    How well does chocolate freeze? If I were to freeze chocolate in two cup portions for cookies, do I need to defrost it prior to cooking with it?

    • musicalmommie says

      @Michie, It freezes beautifully and you don’t need to defrost it before cooking. I keep my chocolate chips in the freezer and use them straight from there to the batter. I’ve also kept leftover candy in there and used it in baking. If you have mini candy bars, chop them before freezing. You may need to add a few minutes to the cooking time.

      • says

        @musicalmommie,

        Thank you! I’m still new to a lot of this “freezer stuff” and am still learning about what can be frozen easily and for how long, etc. My daughter just brought home a chocolate bunny from Grandma today and told me it’s not the kind she likes. Maybe I’ll try chopping it up for baking!

  6. Kerry D. says

    My daughter, who cannot eat food coloring, uses the sticky/chewy ones for making little creations as if it were clay or play-dough. Then she offers them to her brothers. Mostly though, after a fun play time, we throw them away. A bit wasteful, but at Halloween we end of with more of those than anyone can eat.

  7. Jenmo says

    I buy up clearance hershey kisses and put them in my husband’s lunchbox as a reminder that I love him. :)

  8. Joy says

    Actually, freezing chocolate is not good for it. It cause it to “bloom” (gets a white residue on it).

    • says

      @Joy, Didn’t know that. Thanks. Just wondering though – if you use the frozen chocolate bits in baking it shouldn’t really matter in terms of look. Does the ‘blooming’ affect the taste or safety of it?

      • stacy says

        @Ellen,
        The bloom is simply the cocoa butter separating from the cocoa solids. It’s not pretty, but it doesn’t affect the flavor of the chocolate. I just finished bagging up some of my kids’ chocolates for future compost cookies, but I may have to keep the potty training idea in mind, too.

      • Joy says

        Sorry, I meant to post that okay to bake with chocolate you freeze because it doesn’t affect taste, just appearance. So I def. wouldn’t stockpile chocolate in freezer if you plan to use them as gift ideas.

        That said, I have used red Xmas wrapped candies for Valentine’s Day. I did this with some clearance Ghiradelli chocolate at Xmas time. They didn’t have Xmas theme on them so I packaged them up for V’day teacher gifts. They were fine stored in cabinet until Feb. But I wouldn’t store any longer than a year.

  9. Mumof2 says

    So many wonderful ideas! I think I missed the Easter candy clearance this time around…But I’m saving this for other excessive candy times! :D
    (we don’t do baskets or egg hunts…so Easter candy isn’t usually a huge problem…except the Butterfinger eggs I buy for DH)

    Blessings!

  10. says

    Great ideas!! Love the chopped candy instead of choc. chips, it would also be yummy to shave that chocolate over ice cream for a little topping/”garnish” :)

  11. says

    Great ideas! I was wondering the same thing this weekend! Especially love the idea about gummy candies- I never would have thought of that! Another thing we found out this year after halloween is that a homeless shelter near our house takes wrapped candy donations- as long as the candy is in a wrapper.

  12. says

    I like to put the fun size candy bars inside balls of cookie dough. They’re always a hit (recipe here- http://annestrawberry.blogspot.com/2009/11/candy-bar-peanut-butter-cookies.html )

    Yorks, Rolos, or other candy bars taste great chopped up and mixed into brownies or put on top to melt during the last couple minutes of cooking.

    Keep in mind that chocolate with nuts will spoil a lot quicker than those without (I had some Snickers go bad and the Milky Ways were still perfect!)

  13. Patti says

    My son brought me this recipe from his 4th grade teacher and we have used it with leftover mini candy bars, Hershey kisses, or other milk chocolate:

    1 graham cracker crust
    1 box of 6 Hershey bars ( I think they are about 3.3 oz each so 18-19 oz of chocolate)
    1 carton whipped topping

    Melt 16-17 oz. of chocolate in microwave or on top of the stove. Spoon half of the whipped topping into chocolate, mix, and spread mixture in pie shell. Top with remaining whipped topping. Grate remaining chocolate on top. Place in refrigerator until chilled.

    Yum!!

  14. Wendi Sisson says

    I melt any milk or dark chocolate candies that don’t have nuts, crunch, etc. and use them in place of semisweet chocolate in a brownie recipe. Last time I found a conversion online that told you how much cocoa + sugar + oil was the quivalent of 1 oz of semisweet chocolate, and I used that conversion to modify my standard brownie recipe. Was wanting to try it with the Sneaky Chef or Deceptively Delicious “healthified” brownies too.

  15. cherie says

    My favorite use for leftover easter bunnies? Chocolate Covered Popcorn!

    I break them up [real chocolate or not] and melt in the microwave – drizzle over some popcorn [we use the smartpop microwave stuff] that’s been spread out on parchment or something else nonstick – let it dry,break up and store tightly – great for gifts too!
    YUM

  16. Kim says

    If your going to be hosting a birthday party in the near future, use that candy in a pinata.

  17. Linda R says

    What great ideas!! We usually eat all the chocolate left over during the week after Easter but I think I will take some and freeze it for future baking. Thanks for the ideas they are awesome.

  18. Laura says

    Okay, I have to confess. I read this yesterday and printed out the instructions with the full intention of creating these charming things for my gathering with girlfriends on Fri night. I had visions if impressing everyone with my MSM/Spirited butterflies and violas. I went to Wags and, lo and behold, found some awesome jelly candies in cuter shapes than I ever could imagine making. 50% off. I bought those instead of the bag of jellis I intended. LOL! Cheating is okay, isn’t it?!!

  19. charlotte says

    I melted all my leftover chocolate and used it as a way to get my 5 a day having it with bananas and strawberrys ect.. it was yum :D

  20. Lynda says

    I have done some of the color separations of foil candies. It works sometimes for candles too. I have seen boxes of plain red, green or white candles marked at 50% just because they had been selling them at Christmas. I try to look after each holiday for hard/non meltable candies without the holiday theme, to use in my Samaritan Purse boxes that get sent worldwide. Also, for the same purpose, look for small stuffed animals, especially lambs. Found Reece’s monkeys and tigers this year 1/2 price.