Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
Not that we saw it first-hand, but it’s said that trick-or-treating has been a Halloween tradition in America since the late 1920s. In the British Isles the tradition of going house-to-house, in costume and collecting treats at Halloween, can be traced as far back as the 16th century. Why not do your part to keep this tradition alive by staging your own Halloween tailgate? Besides helping to keep the tradition alive you could also rid your house of those scores of little candies you buy every year on sale, for trick–or-treaters that never seem to show up in sufficient numbers to even put a dent in your candy cache.
Here’s how to dress-up your tailgate in the Halloween spirit. Start with decorations for the season, like cornstalks or orange and black streamers (unless your opponent has the school color of orange). Have orange and black Jell-O shots for the adults. Carve a pumpkin with your school logo. Have a tub full of leftover candy for passers-by. Have simple Lone Ranger-type masks for your guests.
Today, chocolate chip cookie cakes are extremely popular in supermarket birthday areas because they can be decorated like a cake. If you consider the sugar excesses of Halloween season, no one among us should fear the calories of icing and chocolate chips in their system. Here is a cookie bar recipe that can use up a lot of those little packs of Reece’s Pieces and has perfect Halloween colors.
PEANUT BUTTER COOKIE BARS
2 7.2 oz. Packages of Betty Crocker Peanut Butter Cookie Mix
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons water
½ cup peanut butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 c up Reece’s Pieces (11 trick-or-treat size 4.9 oz. bags)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover inside of a 10 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper and lightly spray the paper with no-stick spray. Chop about ¾ of the Reese’s Pieces to expose the insides. In a bowl, mix the cookie mix packs with the oil, water, peanut butter, flour and chopped Reece’s Pieces. Place the dough into the baking dish and using your fingers, gently press the dough to fit evenly in the middle and against the sides. Sprinkle the top with the remaining un-chopped Reece’s Pieces.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown. At first the center will be a little soft. Cool the cookie sheet on a wire rack for at least an hour or until the sheet is room temperature on its bottom. The longer you wait the more solid the bars will become. Next, grasping the parchment paper, slide the big bar rectangle onto a cutting board. Be careful because the large cookie/bar will be fragile at this point. Slide the parchment out from under the large cookie and cut it into 24 bars with four rows of six bars per row.
On game day, box the bars into a plastic sealable container for transport to the game and wait for the compliments.