What to Do With Leftover Valentine’s Day Chocolate

Chances are, your counter top is covered with more Valentine’s Day chocolate and candy than you can stomach. Those oversized hearts we all buy from the drugstore are packed with tons of sugary treats that are fun to snack on, but you probably don’t want to eat all of it in one sitting—or at least before Easter candy hits the shelves. Looking for a way to get it out of your sight without tossing it in the trash? Here are some fun ideas for what to do with leftover candy.

1. Divide and conquer

Organizing a massive pile of sweets into mini goody bags will help you keep portions in control without having to guess each time you approach the candy pool. You will never feel deprived if you designate one day of the week to having a few bites, and you will stretch the sweet reward over a long period of time. Plan to take two tiny bags of sweets to work every Friday (or Monday if you prefer)—one for you and one for a new coworker each week. This way you’ll also be sharing the goods and possibly making new office pals.

2. Throw a fondue fiesta

Nothing warms the soul in winter quite like hot, melted chocolate. Throw all of your assorted chocolate candies into one big pot with a low flame beneath it and let it liquefy into delicious fondue. Cut up some fresh fruit and invite all of your friends over for an impromptu party. Slice bananas, strawberries, pineapple, golden delicious apples, mangoes, papayas, and kiwis. Be sure to refrigerate the fruit until just before serving so it’s as cold as possible before dipping it into the hot chocolate. You can also use graham crackers, marshmallows, pretzels, or donuts. Let your creativity lead the way. Your guests will probably be up for anything.

3. Make a candy-stuffed care package

There are endless recipes on the web for making candy-stuffed cookies and brownies. You can also simply take your favorite cookie or brownie recipe and incorporate whatever candy you have on hand by folding it into the dough when you’re shaping it on the baking sheet. Make a full batch and gift at least a dozen to your mailman, your dog walker or any other deserving person you see regularly. It will be such an unexpected gesture and leave that person feeling deeply appreciated.

4. Play hide-and-seek

As you’re putting away your heart wreaths and cupid statues, hide a tightly sealed bag of candy in each box of various holiday decorations. Then, when you pull out the Easter, Fourth of July and Halloween décor you’ll have a little something sweet to eat while setting up your home with festive ornaments. And for non-holiday specific candy, you can then put out a bowl of whatever you unwrap so you don’t have to buy new treats for every occasion.

5. Get crafty

If little kids are in the picture, get them excited about making candy-covered houses using gingerbread or graham crackers, piped icing and all the extra candy that’s lying around. Just like traditional Christmas gingerbread houses, you can construct a four-walled home and then stick all the bite-sized goodies to the walls and roof to make an eye-catching handmade village. After a week, toss the houses so nobody is tempted to pull off (and snack on) stale candy! You can also keep the crafting very simple, giving kids construction paper, markers, stickers and glue to secure hard candies to the paper. Tell them to draw an outline of their favorite animal and then fill it in with multi-colored sweets. Or go free-form and let them design whatever strikes their fancy.

6. Pop and share

Sharing the wealth is what holidays are all about. But you don’t want to make it look like you’re offloading everything you don’t want onto innocent friends and family. Make a big batch of fresh popcorn and mix with assorted candies to create a special movie-night treat. Pour the fun blend into pretty cellophane or paper bags along with a little handwritten list of your favorite films (for inspiration), and give them to neighbors, friends and family as you see them throughout the coming weeks. You can also assemble a relatively healthy trail mix by including nuts and dried fruit.

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