Halloween, Complete with {Easy} Cookies and Cream Fudge

Here we are in November, yet again.  I even managed to change both my calendar and clocks in my office today! (Usually that doesn't happen till at least mid-month for the calendar and 2-3 months later for the clock . . . ).  Maybe that means November will be a productive month.
Anyway, back to October for a bit.  I mentioned that I spent the Friday before Halloween in the kitchen preparing lots of food.  We had some friends over Saturday evening for a Murder Mystery dinner party, and I had a math symposium to go to on Saturday morning, so make-ahead everything it was!

I took a recipe for butternut squash lasagna rolls and converted it to a make-ahead no-boil lasagna.  I basically followed the same directions, but layered uncooked lasagna noodles with the spinach-ricotta-egg-parmesan mixture instead of making rolls out of it.  Then I put it in the fridge overnight and baked it as in the recipe the day after.

It came out well, and it was gobbled up pretty fast!  It wasn't everything I imagined it would be -- more squash sauce next time, I think.

Speaking of gobbled right up, NES made a chicken enchilada bake, and that disappeared super fast!

KEB was kind enough to bring salad, LB brought pumpkin cornbread, and mom S. sent along zucchini bread!

For snacks, I went pretty basic -- no preparation needed.  So when I showed up 10 minutes before our guests after my symposium, it was ok!

And after all that, I didn't even bake anything for dessert!  Instead, I stuck with my trusty Halloween favorite: pumpkin dip in a pumpkin!  That's what I carved out the first pumpkin for.  It is a super easy dip (when you get enough cool whip, that is), and looks excellent in a pumpkin for some festive flair!
This year, I discovered that not only are gingersnaps and apple good dipping choices, so are pretzels!  Back to the sweet and salty combo.

Speaking of sweet and salty, I also made a caramel popcorn mix with pretzels (hence where the giant bag came from in the first place!) and m&ms.  I thought about adding candy corn for festive flair, but I ran out before it could make it into the mix.  I am also suspicious that they would have just melted into the hot butter-marhmallow-brown sugar mixture when I tried to mix it all up.

It comes out as sticky gooey blobs of popcorn, and is salty and sweet and chewy and crunchy all at once!  Yum!  And it does last for a couple days -- so it is make-ahead approved!

And last, but certainly not least, well, except for obligatory fun-sized candies, was simple cookies and cream fudge!

The recipe originally attracted me because of its funfetti nature.  Oh so shocking, right?   But the more I thought about it, and the more times I saw it on  pinterest, the more I wanted to make it into an orange version for Halloween.  Because orange fudge with dark black/brown oreos topped with Halloween sprinkles?  Does it get any festive-er than that?

My first thought was to just dye the original recipe orange with food color gel.  Then I recalled that candy melts and chocolate can be finicky when melted, and may never harden if I added liquid.  On to plan 2: orange candy melts!  Then I didn't even have to worry about dying anything, and they are all over the place at Halloween.  And now, I've got a recipe that is easily customized for any holiday or season!

Into the melted butter and candy melts (which I found didn't melt as nicely as I thought they would, but then again, I never have been able to get them to melt nicely), went melted cream cheese frosting!  Did you know that microwaved store-bought frosting will pour beautifully?  It's also good for dipping cupcakes into for a smooth finish.

Then come oreos.

And finally, sprinkles to top the whole thing off!  I doubled the recipe, but it's potent, sugary stuff.  I sent most of the leftovers (at least half of the pan) with NES to work the next week!

Beware: it is very sweet.  A small square is about all I could take (and I'm generally known as a frosting fiend!), and that was the general consensus.  But that doesn't mean that 10 minutes after finishing a piece I wasn't wishing for more!

As I said, fell free to change up the colors (or use white chocolate chips!)and sprinkles for the season!
 Then came the final step!  Decorations!  Of course there was a jack-o-lantern.  And just before bed, I snuck in a happy Halloween banner!

Easy Seasonal Cookies and Cream Fudge
adapted from Inside Bru Crew Life

2 cups any color candy melts (or white chocolate chips)
3 tbsp. of butter (2 tbsp. if using white chocolate chips)
1-16 oz. can  cream cheese frosting
20 crumbled Oreo cookies

Melt the butter and candy melts/chips together on the stove over low heat, stirring frequently.

Meanwhile, microwave the can of frosting (remove the foil top!) for 1 min.

Keep the chocolate mixture on the heat, stir in the frosting until smooth and creamy.  Add the cookie chunks and any sprinkles, if desired (about1/4 cup).

Pour into a foil lined 8x8 pan, and pour remaining sprinkles on top.  Allow to set, then cut into small squares.  Store at room temperature.


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