Ice cream and candy Thankgiving dinner

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

I, for one, don’t need to see another mini candy bar for quite some time. However, I hate throwing food away (which makes parenting around mealtimes interesting when M declares himself full after four bites). So instead of dumping our excess candy, I’m repurposing it into a Thanksgiving dessert that is equal parts adorable and delicious.

Bonus: I promise you will live in the freezer, untouched, until Thanksgiving, which would certainly not happen if that candy stayed in its original form.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

Ice cream and candy for dessert might seem odd after a heavy meal, but let me tell you: We had a store-bought version of this plate last year (from the UConn Dairy Bar) and my family tore through it like we hadn’t just eaten our weight in stuffing.

My version of this pie starts with a layer of salted caramel topped with chocolate chip ice cream and then hot fudge sauce.

I chopped up some mini Snickers for stuffing; green M&Ms are peas; vanilla ice cream covered in crushed toffee bars with a white chocolate, pretzel, and marshmallow “bone” become a turkey drumstick; vanilla ice cream with more caramel are mashed potatoes and gravy; raspberry sorbet is sliced to look like canned cranberry sauce; and candy corn is stuck together with white chocolate as a corn cob.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

Extra bonus: There are many ways for kiddos to help make this pie: They can separate the green M&Ms, chop and smash the candy, unwrap the caramels, and pour and spread the caramel and ice cream layers. If they’re older, they could probably make the whole darn thing themselves.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy
Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy

And extra extra bonus: You can make this dessert now and be ready for Turkey day in three weeks.

Candy and ice cream Thanksgiving plate

10-inch graham cracker pie crust
12 oz chewy caramels, divided 
3 Tbsp heavy cream, divided
Flaky salt
1 pint chocolate ice cream
1 pint vanilla ice cream
1 small jar of hot fudge (about 12 oz)
1 pint raspberry sorbet (IN A PAPER, NOT PLASTIC, CONTAINER)
½ cup mini green m&ms
6-7 fun-sized snickers, chopped
12-15 fun-sized toffee bars (or 3 large ones), crushed
1 cup white chocolate chips, melted
1/2 large pretzel rod
1 large marshmallow, cut in half
Candy corn

Step 1: Caramel sauce, part 1
Combine 8 oz of unwrapped caramel candy with 2 Tbsp heavy cream in a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Mix and microwave for 30 more seconds. Mix again. Microwave for 15 seconds bursts, stopping to mix the caramel and milk, until it’s completely melted. Spread over the graham cracker crust, sprinkle with sea salt and place in the freezer until set, about 10 minutes.

Step 2: Ice cream
Let the chocolate ice cream melt a bit for easier spreading. I left it out while I made and spread the caramel and it was soft enough to spread. Freeze until solid, about 2 hours or overnight.

Step 3: Hot (but cold) fudge
Once the ice cream layer has frozen solid, dump the entire jar of COLD fudge sauce on top and smooth it out all the way to the edges. (I made the mistake of heating the sauce a bit and it immediately melted the ice cream underneath.)

Step 4: White chocolate
Melt your white chocolate in a tall thinnish glass. Microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stop and mix. Microwave for another 30 seconds on high. Stop and mix. Microwave for 10 second bursts, stopping to mix until the chocolate is melted.

Step 5: Drumstick bone, part 1
Snap a large pretzel rod in half. Cut a large marshmallow in half. Dip the non-broken end of the pretzel rod into melted white chocolate and press one half of the marshmallow on either side of the rod and hold in place for 10 seconds. Place on a sheet of parchment paper and refridgerate until set, about 5 minutes.

Step 6: Corn cob
Pour a nickle-sized dollop of melted white chocolate on a piece of parchment paper. Place a circle of candy corn onto the chocolate with the white facing in and the yellow facing out. Try not to allow any space between the kernels. place another dollop of melted white chocolate on top of the white portion of candy and repeat. Continue until you have between 5 and 7 layers of corn kernels. Place in the fridge until set, about 10 minutes.

Step 7: Drumstick bone, part 2
Dip the set marshmallow and pretzel rod into the melted white chocolate (feel free to microwave for another 10 seconds if the chocolate feels thick) and let the excess chocolate drip off. Place back onto the parchment paper and spoon the melted chocolate over the rest of the pretzel rod, wiping away any excess on the sides. Place back in the refrigerator until set, about 10 minutes.

Step 8: Prep your candy
Chop the snickers, separate the green M&Ms, and crush the toffee.

Step 9: Sorbet
Slice the sorbet with a large serrated knife and put the slices back into the freezer.

Step 10: Caramel sauce, part 2
Place 4 oz of unwrapped caramel candy and 1 Tbsp of heavy cream into a bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds. Stop and mix. Microwave for another 30 seconds, stop, and mix. Microwave in 15 second bursts, stopping to mix in between, until melted. Set aside.

Step 11: Assemble
Scoop 1/2 pint of vanilla ice cream onto the top of pie. Next to it, pour your M&Ms into a pile. Smoosh the cut up snickers in your hands a bit while piling them onto the top of the pie as well. Add the corn cob. Next, form the rest of the ice cream into an oval ball and roll it in the crushed toffee. Place it on the pie and add the pretzel bone. Place the sorbet slice in the middle. Lastly, using a spoon, shape the vanilla ice cream to look like mashed potatoes and make a dent in the middle. Pour some of the cooled caramel into the hole and immediately place the whole pie back into the freezer. Let freeze overnight and then transfer to a box or cover tightly with plastic wrap.

Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy
Ice cream and candy Thanksgiving pie | Me & The Moose. This genius way to use up leftover Halloween candy is also a hilarious make-ahead Thanksgiving dessert that will please the pickiest kids. #Thanksgivingrecipes #Thanksgiving #dessert #pumpkinpiealternative #icecream #leftoverHalloweencandy


Boneyard bark

Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is easy and cute for classroom parties, playdates, or just a Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels
Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is easy and cute for classroom parties, playdates, or just a Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels

Halloween, guys. I truly didn't realize how weird this holiday is until I tried explaining it to a toddler. Luckily he's satisfied with "It's pretend" when he asks about skeletons and ghosts, but if he ever asks "Pretend, what?" I will not have sufficient answers. Pretend dead people whose spirits hang around and scare the living? NOPE. Shut it down.

Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is easy and cute for classroom parties, playdates, or just a Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels

Apparently, I really gravitate toward graveyards and skeletons for Halloween (and other holidays). Exhibit A: This healthy graveyard from last year. Next year, no bones. 

Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is easy and cute for classroom parties, playdates, or just a Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels

So, this "boneyard bark" is slightly more appropriate for the older set since it might require more explanation than you're willing to give to your small person. But M digs the yogurt pretzels, so we focused on that aspect.

Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is an easy mix of pretzels, chocolate, coconut oil, chocolate chips, yogurt pretzels, and candy eyes. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels

This bark is so easy and a great last-minute party treat. If you have a Michael's or a Target in your neighborhood, you can probably get everything there. The most complicated part is getting the bones together, but it's not actually complicated

For the bones:
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil
Pretzel sticks
Mini marshmallows
 

First, melt the white chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave. Heat it for 10 seconds at a time, stopping and mixing after each 10-second burst until melted.

Prep a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and clean out space in your fridge to chill the bones.

Next, cut your pretzel stick in half.

For each 1/2 pretzel stick, you'll need one mini marshmallow. Cut the marshmallows into four smaller squares and roll each 1/4 marshmallow between your thumb and forefinger to make it into a small circle.

Dip one end of the 1/2 pretzel into the melted chocolate and place on the parchment paper. Carefully stick two of the 1/4 marshmallows onto the chocolate and hold for a few seconds to set. Lift the pretzel with the stuck-on marshmallows and move them about 1/2 an inch to remove some of the extra chocolate before chilling. You'll have to keep your fingers on the marshmallows so that they don't fall off while moving.

Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Repeat above steps on the other side of the pretzel and chill for another 10 minutes.

Reheat your chocolate slightly (5 seconds) and stir.

Dip the whole pretzel and marshmallow bone into the white chocolate with a fork and gently tap on the side of your bowl to let the extra chocolate drip off. Move back to the fridge and chill for 10 more minutes.

Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. Easy to make pretzel, chocolate, and marshmallow bones. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels

For the ribs and skeleton bones: 
Yogurt covered pretzels (whatever you think you'll need and then extras because they break in the cutting)

Saw the yogurt pretzels in half with a sharp knife and take off a little bit of the middle nubbin that's left between the pretzel's two arches. These arches will be the ribs. The bottom half of the pretzel can be the pelvis and any pieces that break off (and lots will, don't worry about it) can be used to make the arms or legs.

Set aside the cut pretzels.

For the bark:
2 cups chocolate chips (any combination of semi-sweet, milk, and dark chocolate)
1 tsp coconut oil
Candy eyes (optional)
Candy bones (optional)

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave, stirring after each 10-second burst until everything is melted.

Gather your toppings.

Pour the melted chocolate onto a fresh piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spread into a thin layer (but not too thin). Place your pretzel bones, pretzel ribs, candy eyes, and candy bones (if using) onto the warm chocolate. Once you feel satisfied with your arrangement, chill for at least one hour, but up to 24 hours in the fridge.

Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is easy and cute for classroom parties, playdates, or just a Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels
Boneyard bark | Me & the Moose. This boneyard bark is easy and cute for classroom parties, playdates, or just a Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #bark #boneyardbark #chocolate #marshmallows #pretzels

Spooky seed butter graveyards!

Seed butter graveyards | Me & The Moose. This spooky take on worms and dirt have chocolate candy skeletons, graves, and various types of dirt for your Halloween treats. #meandthemoose #halloween #veganoption #glutenfreeoption #dairyfreeoption #nutfreeoption #graveyards #wormsanddirt

Speaking of scary: I count myself so incredibly lucky that M doesn't have any food allergies. He's outgrown the tomato sensitivity he had early on, but that was an annoyance, not a life-threatening emergency. I can't even imagine worrying that a farmer, factory-worker, chef, teacher, babysitter, or other parent somehow mislabeled something or included an ingredient that could really hurt my kid. Especially from mid-October to January, there are treats everywhere!

In that vein, these Halloween goodies are nut-free and egg-free and can easily be made gluten- and dairy-free as well. The chocolate is all store-bought, so use your go-to brands to be safe. ALSO- and most importantly- these treats are SOOOOOOOO GGGGOOOOOOODDDDD and relatively healthy!

Spooky seed butter graveyards

Chocolate skeletons
1 oz milk or dark chocolate
Wilton skull and bones sprinkles

Seed butter graveyards | Me & The Moose. #meandthemoose #halloween #veganoption #glutenfreeoption #dairyfreeoption #nutfreeoption #graveyards #wormsanddirt

Heat the chocolate in the microwave, 10 seconds at a time, until melted. On a plastic wrap covered plate, make nickle-sized circles or ovals of melted chocolate. Carefully place the skull and bone sprinkles into the chocolate. Refrigerate until set.
 

Chocolate mug cakes
Adapted from this recipe

6 Tbsp whole wheat flour (or gluten-free flour mix)
3 Tbsp + 1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 tsp olive oil
6 Tbsp milk (I used dairy milk, but almond, cashew, or soy would also work)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and whisk to remove lumps. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Pour equal amounts into two ungreased mugs. With one mug at a time, microwave on high for 1 minute, check for doneness, and cook for 30 more seconds. (Note: we have a very weak microwave, so if you have a stronger one, check after 30 seconds. I usually tip the cup around to see if anything is moving.) When cakes are cooked, use a fork to remove them from the mugs and let them cool on a plate. Don’t worry about removing them cleanly, as they’ll be broken up for the “dirt” in the graveyards. Let cool.

Seed butter graveyards | Me & The Moose. Chocolate mug cakes are the easy and surprisingly healthy. #meandthemoose #halloween #veganoption #glutenfreeoption #dairyfreeoption #nutfreeoption #graveyards #wormsanddirt

Sunflower-seed butter chocolate avocado pudding
Adapted from this recipe

¾ large ripe avocado (mine was about 7.5 oz with pit and peel)
½ large ripe banana (mine was 7 oz with peel)
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup Spiced seed butter
2 Tbsp milk (I used dairy, but almond, cashew, or soy would also work)

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. If making the Spiced Seed Butter specifically for these graveyards, be sure to read the directions and follow them exactly. You won't be sorry; this seed butter is GREAT. Makes about 1.25 cups of pudding.

Seed butter graveyards | Me & The Moose. Chocolate mug cake, avocado chocolate pudding, and some store-bought candies make an easy, festive Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #veganoption #glutenfreeoption #dairyfreeoption #nutfreeoption #graveyards #wormsanddirt

Assembling the graveyards

Remove the chocolate skeletons from the fridge to warm up. Pour a few chocolate rocks on the bottom of your graveyard container(s). (Possible substitutions include chocolate-covered raisins, chocolate chips, carob chips, or you could skip this part entirely.) Nestle your chocolate skeleton(s) on the side of the glass container, pressing gently to try and mold the chocolate to your container (or skip this step too for allergen sensitivity, if needed).

Crumble the chocolate cake completely and gently add a layer of cake crumbles, pressing down lightly. Be sure to keep the cake crumbles behind your chocolate skeletons, if using.

Add a pudding layer and press gently to remove air bubbles. Clean up the sides of the glass container. Cover with more cake crumbles.

For the graves: Roll out a small amount of gray or white fondant using powdered sugar to prevent sticking. (I bought a tiny container of Wilton gray fondant at Michael's and threw away the box before checking the ingredients and can't find the information online. If fondant isn't an option, gluten-, dairy-, and/or egg-free cookies or marshmallows also make good "graves.") Cut out a very small square and tap with your fingers to round the corners. With an edible pen, melted chocolate, or gel frosting, write RIP on the grave and nestle into the cake crumbs. Place a crumb or two behind the grave to prop it up.

Yield: 4 medium graveyards or 6 small graveyards

Seed butter graveyards | Me & The Moose. Chocolate mug cake, chocolate avocado pudding, and some store-bought candies make an easy and festive Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #veganoption #glutenfreeoption #dairyfreeoption #nutfreeoption #graveyards #wormsanddirt
Seed butter graveyards | Me & The Moose. Chocolate mug cake, chocolate avocado pudding, and some store-bought candies make an easy and festive Halloween treat. #meandthemoose #halloween #veganoption #glutenfreeoption #dairyfreeoption #nutfreeoption #graveyards #wormsanddirt