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Upcycle Halloween candy into mouth-watering desserts

Upcycling Halloween treats is a paradoxical task; presumably, you have already eaten your favorite confections, so it is the B-list candy you will be working with. But that only serves to make the challenge more enticing. Here are two desserts to help satisfy your post-Halloween sweet tooth and use up some of that candy.

The first is an easy and inexpensive brownie topped with chocolate candy bars, kisses, malted milk balls — whatever you can spare from your chocolate stash. If you coarsely chop chocolate skeletons and bats, you can disguise their haunted identity. Use a commercial brownie mix to simplify preparation. With the candy topping, this brownie doesn’t even need frosting.

The second is a more complex but delicious recipe for a rich layered mousse and cheesecake on a shortbread crust, topped with a few precious, carefully concealed toffee bars. Chop a few chocolate-covered caramel candies to tuck in between the layers. Prepare the mousse first so it has time to cool before you assemble the dessert.

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Treasure Brownies

Commercial brownie mix

Assorted chocolate candies and candy bars, unwrapped

Prepare the brownie mix according to the package directions. Before baking, cover the batter with a thick layer of unwrapped chocolate candy bars and candies. Bake according to the directions on the box.

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Chocolate Mousse Delight

8 egg yolks (save the whites for an omelet)

½ cup sugar

5 cups whipping cream, divided

12 ounces chocolate candy bars, chopped

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks on high speed for 3 minutes, then gradually add sugar.

In a 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 cups of the whipping cream until hot, then stir half into the egg yolk mixture. Gradually stir the eggs and cream back into the saucepan with the remaining cream. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens — do not boil. Add the chopped chocolate bars, stirring until melted. Refrigerate covered about 2 hours or until chilled, stirring occasionally.

Beat the remaining 3 cups of whipping cream in a chilled bowl with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold the chilled chocolate mixture into the whipped cream. Refrigerate until time to assemble.

Shortbread crust

2 cups flour

1 cup butter, softened

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup chopped nuts

Blend ingredients and gently pat into a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes until golden. Cool for a few minutes, then break up the crust with a fork. Compress back in place and cool completely.

Cheesecake filling

1 cup whipping cream

1¼ cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

16 ounces Neufchatel cheese (light cream cheese), softened

In the mixing bowl of an electric mixer, blend the whipping cream, ¼ cup powdered sugar and vanilla. Fold in the cream cheese and 1 cup powdered sugar. Layer over the cooled crust.

Whipped cream

2 cups heavy whipping cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

In a chilled mixing bowl, whip together the ingredients until soft peaks form.

Spoon the chocolate mousse over the previous layers and add a thin topping of whipped cream. Refrigerate until serving time, then coarsely chop 1 cup of toffee bars and sprinkle over. This dessert can also be assembled in individual ramekins.

Pam McMurtry is an artist and writer with a bachelor's degree in art teaching/drawing and painting. She is the author of "A Harvest and Halloween Handbook."