Halloween Candy
Photo by Bill Charbonnet

Top Chefs Reveal What Halloween Candies Have Influenced Their Menus

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Chefs from Spago, The Ace’s Best Girl, Atrium, Margot Restaurant and more share what fall sweets they love.

Halloween is rapidly approaching and with it come tricks, treats and most importantly, sweets. Whether you’re a costumed kid, a parent sneaking a Starburst from their child’s sack or an adult buying a discounted bag of 3 Musketeers on Nov. 1, everybody has a favorite Halloween candy. But what about the people who make L.A.’s favorite desserts; what Halloween candies tickle their professional palate? We talked to five L.A. chefs about their favorite Halloween candies and if they’ve ever made a dessert with them.

Crisi Echiverri

CRISI ECHIVERRI

Pastry Chef-Partner at Best Girl in the Ace Hotel

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

My favorite Halloween candy is Take 5.

What do you like about them?

I just love the flavors of chocolate, caramel, peanuts, pretzels and peanut butter coming together to make one delicious treat!

Have you ever tried to use it in a dessert? 

I’ve actually made a tart for Best Girl based off those flavors! If I had a bunch of Take 5s left over from trick or treating, I suppose I would chop them up, fold them into some peanut butter ice cream, make two not-so-sweet chocolate genoise sheet cakes. Sandwich the ice cream between the two and make an old-fashioned hot fudge cake.

Della Gosse

DELLA GOSSET

Executive Pastry Chef at Spago

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

My favorite Halloween candy as a kid was the Malted Milk Balls. 

What do you like about them?

I loved the light, crunchy, malty center that would dissolve in your mouth after biting into it. Anything chocolate was always my favorite.

Have you ever tried to use it in a dessert?

I’ve never made a dessert with the malted milk crunch because I have not had luck replicating it, although I have tried. I think it would make a great texture and flavor component in a composed chocolate dessert.

Andrea Ramirez

ANDREA RAMIREZ

Pastry Chef at Atrium

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Leftover Halloween candy is almost always brought into the kitchen for use in family meal desserts. I always seem to be left with a glut of little boxes of Milk Duds after the big night.

What do you like about them?

These unassuming little buds are perfect for baking into cookies and brownies, with the semi-firm caramel really getting interesting after baking and turning into a super chewy toffee rather than spreading out like the lesser (fight me) Rolo and drowning the cookie.

Have you ever tried to use it in a dessert?

At Atrium, we are huge fans of “garbage cookies” using whatever small amounts of candy/toppings we have around jumbled up and baked into a sheet brownie or some cookie cake.

Michelle Wilton

MICHELLE WILTON

Owner/Chef at Four Café, Piencone and Penny Oven

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

What do you like about them?

I love chocolate and peanut butter.

Have you ever tried to use it in a dessert?

I have made an ice cream at Piencone Pizzeria and Creamery out of this by doing an organic chocolate base [AND] a peanut butter ripple with peanut butter cups mixed in.

Michael Williams

MICHAEL WILLIAMS

Executive Chef at Margot and Norah

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Of the mainstream options, Snickers is the best candy that exists in my opinion. I try to gently encourage my kids to opt for those when trick or treating.

What do you like about them?

It’s got the perfect balance of salt, sweet and texture from the peanuts.

Have you ever tried to use it in a dessert?

I’ve never used candy in the desserts for the restaurants, however, the vegan peanut butter ice cream sundae at Norah is very reminiscent of the flavor profile.

Los Angeleno