In the spirit of Halloween, today I’m making “Ghostly Heavenly Hash.” My inspiration for this treat is one of Louisiana’s best kept secrets regarding candy factories. A little chocolate candy factory is tucked away in the rural South Louisiana town of Ponchatoula. The 160-year-old Elmer’s Candy Corporation produces specialty chocolate candy for the holiday seasons of Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas. (The candy is not available all the year.) Heavenly Hash Eggs and Gold Brick Eggs are two of Elmer’s Easter candies. When this candy appears in grocery stores around Easter in South Louisiana, folks literally race to locate the candy before it is sold out. Alas, Elmer’s doesn’t have a candy for Halloween. So, I have deconstructed Elmer’s traditional Easter “Heavenly Hash Candy” and turned it into “Ghostly Heavenly Hash.”
Elmer’s Heavenly Hash Candy is made of milk chcolate, almonds and marshmallows. It is a special treat for local folks around Easter.
When I saw a recipe in Food Network’s magazine, Chocolate Lover’s Cookbook, for “Chocolate Marshmallow Top Hats,” I mused that the cookie treats looked alot like ghosts. I decided to deconstuct Elmer’s Heavenly Hash and use Nestle Toll House white baking chip morsels in the recipe for the ghosts and add deocrating pieces for eyes. I kept the marshmallows and put the almonds in the cookie dough. Now I have “Ghostly Heavenly Hash.” I used the recipe in Food Network’s magazine as a template for my own cookie treat.
About Elmer’s Candy Corporation
Ponchatoula which is a small town located north of Lake Ponchatrain, Louisiana. The town is blanketed with a thick canopy of large pine trees. For some reason, the town is often foggy in the early mornings. — I guess because it is close to the lake. The town is not too far from where I attended my nursing school college (Southeastern Louisiana State University). Oh, how I hated those early morning commutes and late night drives home. I always thought that Ponchatourla would make a great setting for a haunted house at Halloween. It is very dark and eerie at night because of the dense pine trees. I have gotten lost in that small town several times on the 45 minute drive home. Once I found myself on the causeway bridge headed to La Place close to New Orleans! And there is no place to turn around. Help! Too late.
Elmer’s Candy Corporation is a small chocolate company which was founded in 1855 in New Orleans. It has been in operation for 160 years. The name “Elmer” came from one of the earlier owners. Today, the third generation of the Nelson family owns and heads the company. According to their WEB site (see reference):
In the 1960s, Roy Nelson purchased the confectionery business from the Elmer family and moved operations to Ponchatoula, LA — the Northshore of New Orleans. The company’s offerings were refocused, concentrating on seasonal chocolates rather than everyday candy and snacks.
The candy factory, however, is not a small operation. In our modern era, everything is done by robots and human hands do not touch the candy. One robotic arm can produce 100 pieces of candy a minute. The candy factory makes between 40 and 50 million boxes of chocolate a year.
To make these treats, I made a cookie base for the ghost. I used my recipe “Bisquick Sugar Cookie” recipe (doubling the recipe) and added slivered almonds to the cookie dough. This is a very easy “almost” one-bowl cookie recipe using Bisquick mix. No need to get out an electric mixer for these cookies, just mix the dough in a large bowl, chill for 30 minutes to one hour.
Then roll into spoon-sized balls and bake. I pressed down using the bottom of a glass (dipped on water to avoid sticking) to flatten each cookie prior to baking. Once the cookies were baked — and still hot — I pressed half of a large marshmallow onto the top of each cookie.
Next, finish the ghosts by pouring melted white morsels (which I call white chocolate chips) over the marshmallows and cookies.
I very carefully softened Nestle Toll House white baking chip morsels in a microwavable bow for 30 secondsl; stirring until melted. I added in some Crisco shortening to help the candy liquify and then harden again.
I poured about one generous tesaspoon of melted chocolate candy over each marshmallow making a “ghost.” And I added decorating candy for the eyes. Repeat until everybody is decorated. The white chocolate candy will harden after about an hour.
Just a note about melting white chocolate chips. The candy can “seize” and harden if you try to heat it too long to soften it. At this point, it is destroyed and you have wasted the candy. I used a microwave oven set for 30 seconds to just soften the white chocolate chips and Crisco shortening. The chips really weren’t melted at all. Then I stirred and stirred and the chips melted. I did this in three batches rather than trying to melt the entire 12 ounce package of white chocolate chips at one time.
How did my “Ghostly Heavenly Hash” compared to the Elmer’s Easter Heavenly Hash Eggs? The good news is that my treats look like ghosts. I will admit that my Halloween treats tasted quite differently from Heavenly Hash Eggs. However, you do taste all rthe flavors — chocolate, marshmallows and almonds. Success! And my “Ghostly Heavenly Hash” treats are delicious.
These cookie treats are hard to stop eating. The are quite easy to make (except be careful when melting the white chocolate chips) and fun to make and serve. Enjoy the recipe!
Ghostly Heavenly Hash
Ingredients for cookies:
- 2-1/2 cups Bisquick Mix
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- 2 Tbsp cold water, 2 additional Tbsp if needed
Ingredients for ghostly heavenly hash
- 15 large marshmallows, halved crosswise
- 1 (12 oz bag) Nestle Toll House white baking chip morsels
- 6 Tbsp vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)
- 1 (25 gram) package edible craft decorating “eyes” (60 count)
Method and Steps:
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the Bisquick mix and sugar.
- Add the chopped, slivered almonds and stir. Set aside.
- In another medium-size bowl, whisk eggs until blended. Add the vegetable oil and almond extract and beat to blend in..
- Using a large cook spoon or wooden spoon, Stir in the egg/oil mixture and water into the Bisquick/sugar mixture until just mixed and smooth. If the dough is too stiff, add additional 2 Tbsp water. Do not overmix.
- Cover bowl and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour.
- Remove cookie dough from refrigerator. Take a generous teaspoon of dough and gently roll into ball about 1 inch in diameter using the palms of your hands. Repeat with remaining dough. This will make 30 small cookies. Space apart on baking sheets. Flatten with the bottom of a flat glass which has been dipped in water (to prevent sticking).
- Bake in middle or top rack of oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes until just set. (The cookies will not brown on top.)
- While still warm, press a marshmallow half, cut side down, into the center of each cookie.
- Let set several minutes on baking sheets, then, using a spatula, transfer to wire racks while still warm and cool to room temperature.
- Working in 3 batches, place 1/2 cup Nestle Toll House white baking chip morsels in a microwavable-safe bowl along with 2 Tbsp Crisco shortening. Cover. Microwave in 30-second intervals, until candy is just softened. Do not over heat — candy will not be melted. When candy is soft, remove from microwve and stir until candy is smooth and combined with Crisco. (For 1/2 cup chips, melting time was 30 seconds in my microwave.)
- Spoon a generous teaspoon of the white candy topping over each marshmallow to cover the marshmallow and part of cookie.
- Press two eyes into the top of each cookie while the white candy topping is still soft.
- Let set one hour while the white chocolate coating hardens.