Perhaps there are so many people who get excited for Halloween because it’s a chance to try on something that normally doesn’t fit. We dress up like the things we are not, we crowd the streets with our bodies instead of our cars, and we parade around neighborhoods and parties asserting to the ones we do not know exactly what we want: SUGAR. We collect candy in bags and we sit in hordes afterward recounting the treasures we have gathered, and for once, it is socially acceptable to eat as much junk food as we always thought we wanted. Come November 1, life goes back to normal, and it’s as if it never happened.
Which means one thing–this year, I am embracing my alter ego. For those of you that don’t interact with me on a daily basis, I am referring to the three questions I ask of people when I want to get to know them better. First, I appeal to the side of ourselves that seeks acceptance and likability: If you were a superhero, what would be your superpower? You all have provided some interesting (and I’ll be frank, not so interesting) responses, including teleportation, telekinesis, flight, and acquiring more extravagant…(ahem). Given that my choice-aside from the superpower I created, which would allow me to commune with any environment psychically to understand the things that each has seen-is teleportation, I always follow up with Question 2: What is the cue for your superpower? I would wink myself into teleportation, if given the opportunity; I like to think it adds a magical touch of whimsy to my disappearance.
At this point, perhaps we feel like we’re comfortable around one another. In truth, I was probably comfortable already. We have navigated imaginary worlds of superhero-dom, though, and it’s time to welcome Question 3 (and its associated social unacceptability): If you were a super villain, what would your superpower be? In my opinion, this is when we truly get to know one another.
And what a coincidence! That’s what I’m dressing up as this year. I know, I KNOW–I said I was going as Theodore Twombly. I remember. That was until I decided to make a long-running joke into a reality. Friends, this year, I am the inner super villain we always joke I’d be: Etiquette, who kills with kindness. I’m dressing prim and proper, and everyone will cower at my magnanimity. Instagram photos, I promise.
I guess my point in talking about all of this is that I have learned to do something in recent times, something that relates to all three of those questions. Perhaps it’s in part due to this thing I do in my spare time in which I make food and share it and whatever ramblings I have to offer publicly on a regular basis, but I think that, at some point in the last however many years, I started to welcome all the aspects of myself into the person I introduce to the world. And those who don’t like it don’t have to look. Etiquette would probably remind them that it’s impolite to ridicule, anyway.
She’d totally condone this recipe I encountered that calls for your Halloween candy, though. And I know that, because she’s me. And we both ate like a quarter of this entire batch in less than 24 hours. Seriously, these gloriously brown sugary chocolate chip cookie bars (and the chocolaty Halloween treats that decorate them) are so. good., I had to freeze them in portions in order to moderate how much I consumed. Mainly because I became self-aware and awkward at the thought of how compulsive it seemed for me to walk from my room to the kitchen counter and back again, chipmunk cheeks full of these cookie bars each time.
Happy Halloween, friends. Dress up, have fun, and don’t be shy if you need help eating all of your candy. That’s when my inner superhero can totally come to the rescue = I’M YOUR GIRL.
Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
Adapted from Joy the Baker
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped Halloween candy (favorites for this recipe: Milky Way, Snickers, Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, and M&Ms)
coarse sea salt for topping
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Line with parchment paper, leaving two flaps hanging over the edges of the pan. Grease and flour the parchment paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a separate small bowl use your fingers to work together sugar and molasses until no molasses clumps remain and the sugar is tinted a light brown. Add the sugar to the dry ingredients and stir. In a separate medium bowl whisk together melted butter, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Mixture will be thick and glossy. Stir in chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups of coarsely chopped candy. Use your fingers to evenly press the dough into the pan. Top with the remaining chopped candy. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the pan before slicing into bars. Wrap individually and store at room temperature for up to three days.