Tonight some friends of ours came over for what has come to be a tradition in our house around Halloween time: a creepy movie night. For years my husband and I hosted a Hitchcock movie night, then we tried a Twilight Zone Party, and this year, in honor of Gene Wilder’s recent passing, I really wanted to have a bunch of people over to watch the Mel Brooks classic Young Frankenstein. For those who have never seen the movie, it’s a screwball comedy with a dark twist, starring Wilder as the tortured grandson of Transylvania’s most famous mad scientist. Despite his insistence that he has no intention to replicate his grandfather’s experiments in reanimating corpses, history repeats itself and the younger Frankenstein returns to the family castle, where he ends up with a 7 1/2 foot raging monster on his hands …all suffused with the cheesy humor you’d expect from Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder. I grew up watching the movie with my mom and brother and thought it would be fun to enjoy it in the company of friends.
The thing is, though, October always somehow gets filled up with events, Halloween parties, school work, and other commitments, and my best-laid movie night plans kept getting shoved aside. Before I knew it, we were halfway through the month and I hadn’t officially invited anyone–just had mentioned the possibility to one friend. I’m not one to give up on an idea where a party is concerned, though (see my Entertaining page for evidence), so as the days went by and we got closer and closer to Halloween, I thought, hey, even if we just have that one friend and her family over for the movie, it’ll still be a good time! This particular friend and her husband have two kids who go to the same school as ours and are great friends themselves, so it was a natural fit to have them join us.
Since this friend of mine has Celiac disease, I decided it would be nice to take the “What Can I Eat?” question off the table, so to speak, by making all gluten-free treats for us to enjoy during the movie. Cider bourbon cocktails for the grownups, caramel apple popcorn, and this gluten-free version of Halloween candy bark were on the menu. I typically make a regular Halloween candy bark after my kids go trick-or-treating, but now that they’re getting older, I have a feeling they’re not going to let me steal their candy this year. Guess I’d better really enjoy this pre-Halloween version, then.
With peanuts, M & Ms, and candy corn sprinkled over hardened melted chocolate chips, this rich dessert/snack couldn’t be simpler. Try it with any gluten-free candy on top for anyone in your life who needs to stay away from gluten. The Celiac Disease Foundation has a helpful list on their website of Halloween candies that are gluten-free.
And finally, a question…what’s your favorite creepy movie to watch this time of year? Or if you love Young Frankenstein like I do, what’s your favorite part? I have to go with the “Puttin’ On the Ritz” dance routine, hands down.
Gluten Free Halloween Candy Bark
A Love Letter to Food Original Recipe
1 24-oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips (you may need to check packaging to ensure they are gluten-free)
Lightly salted peanuts, coarsely crushed
M & Ms
- Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch rimmed cookie sheet or baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place chocolate chips in a large bowl and microwave for 30-second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is completely melted. Spread melted chocolate evenly over parchment paper.
- Sprinkle with any amount of peanuts, M & Ms, candy corn (or other gluten free candy) you like.
- Refrigerate at least one hour or until chocolate has hardened.
- Remove from parchment paper and place on a large cutting board. With a chef’s knife, cut into pieces or wedges. I’d recommend slicing pieces fairly small, as the richness of even a small amount goes a long way.
Makes 1 9 x 13-inch pan.