This time on The Great British Baking Show: Walton Edition it’s Halloween Candy Week! Each of our recipes had to include some type of store bought goody that any kid in our part of the world could reasonably expect to find in their Halloween candy!
First up was Mandy’s Spiderweb Cookie Bars, featuring one of my Halloween favorites, M&M’s! These were a balance between a sheet cookie and a brownie. Mandy was unhappy with these even before she baked them. The batter did not meet her expectations, and neither did the finished bake. The cookie itself was delicious, but Mandy’s toasted marshmallows added a slight char flavor to the finished product that both she and Dan found unpalatable. I enjoyed them, but I was a bit perplexed by the hard chocolate chunks inside. I couldn’t tell if it was chopped Hershey’s chocolate bars or simple chocolate chips, but even though Mandy served this warm, the chips had somehow failed to melt. Still tasty, but inexplicable.
I decided to do two bakes, one of which would be Mellowcreme Iced Peanut Butter Cookies. Mellowcreme pumpkins usually melt pretty smoothly in the oven, so my idea was that the pumpkins would melt as my peanut butter cookies baked, producing a nice iced top. As you will see, it didn’t exactly work as intended.
My second bake was Rolo Pretzel Melts. I always hated getting little bags of pretzels in Halloween candy. Yes, they are nicely wrapped in cool looking Halloween packaging, but who cares? They’re not candy. They’re stupid, dry pretzels. I wanted a more sugary way to enjoy them up, so we have these. Dan and Mandy’s daughter Evey was kind enough to help me unwrap the Rolos that provided the caramel, and Mandy’s generously gave me some of her leftover M&M’s. The extra candy isn’t really necessary, but the splash of color makes them look SO much better. The original recipe called these turtles because they used pecans instead of M&M’s. No thank you. I prefer my diabetes be delivered full blast.
As you can see, the mellowcreme pumpkins failed to spread over the cookie, instead forming a little coin of mellowcreme in the center. For my second batch I used candy corn, hoping that the reduced mass would result in a thinner melt, but that didn’t work either. The crystals you see on these are a tiny sprinkling of kosher salt. Trust me, you need it to cut the sweetness. I was extremely pleased with the toffee flavor I got from the caramel inside the Rolos, but some of them had a slightly burned flavor which Dan found unacceptable. However where my peanut butter cookies were concerned, Dan gave me what may be the best compliment I’ve ever received about my cooking. He said that the mellowcreme didn’t work for him, but if you took that away, I had baked what he considers to be the perfect peanut butter cookie. Thank you, Dan! I’ll take it!
Mark was out of town, so our third and final entry was Dan’s Candy Graveyard, a pan of cookie bars containing miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, fun size Hershey’s chocolate bars, fun size Almond Joys, and Kit Kat minis. I really wish I had taken a picture of this before Dan iced it, because the cookie bars had an extremely cool light and dark mottling. Dan mixed his own green icing, and as you can see, it was VERY green. Unfortunately the icing was extremely strong tasting, and overpowered the cookie bar altogether. But beneath that cloying green turf, Dan’s cookie bar soil was DELICIOUS!
As you can see, Dan’s layer of green icing was… generous. In fact, by the time we got to this tasting, I think we were all thoroughly sick of sugar. Mandy put it best when she said, “I don’t really like any of them. Including mine.” But when we scraped off the icing, we discovered Dan’s cookie bars were amazing. Despite containing four kinds of candy bars, they somehow were not overly sweet. Mandy is not a fan of coconut, so she found the presence of the Almond Joys to be off putting, but I thought the coconut filling had spread nicely through the bars, giving them a perfect chewiness. Each of our bakes was flawed, but, after ridding ourselves of the icing, it was clear that Dan was once again our Star Baker! Well done, Dan, and we hope all of you had a very happy Halloween!
Until next time, bon appétit!