Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tasty Five: Halloween Edition with Hot Mulled Apple Cider

 When Kevin was small, Halloween was a pretty big deal in our house.  From pumpkin carving parties to dipping our own caramel apples and home made decorations, I went all out to make the holiday fun.  Now that Kevin is almost 16, we have a fun dinner and then curl up on the couch with a bowl of chocolate treats and a scary movie.  Truffles for your favorite teachers, awesome cupcake ideas, pumpkin carving ideas, and healthy Halloween treats round out this Tasty Five to get you completely ready for Halloween!

1.  Since I have oral allergy syndrome, caramel apples are not something I can eat anymore lest I want to break out into hives.  Over at  Whisk I found my solution in these really yummy looking Caramel Apple Tarts. I may not be able to eat raw apples, but I can eat them cooked in a tart. Problem solved!

2.  Cupcakes are always so much fun on holidays, and if you are chosen to provide the mini bites of cakey goodness for a party, these decorating ideas from Better Homes and Gardens will sure to make your creations a hit.  I like using cupcakes as prizes for a school cakewalk, because small children wandering away with an entire cake seems a bit excessive, and with cupcakes everyone is a winner!

Frightfully Good Halloween Cupcakes

3.  Teachers love Halloween candy just as much as the kids do, and Kraft Canada has come up with a great way to thank them.  Whip up these easy  Halloween Truffles to drop off for the staff room, and the staff with love you.

4.  Speaking of school and Halloween, sometimes the sugar overload from class parties can be a bit much.  I've seen veggie skeletons around before, but Feeding Frenzy does a great job and includes dip!  Let the kids fill up on the healthy stuff before they dive into the sugary treats.

Veggie Skeleton 

5.  How do you like your pumpkins?  I have never been a real adventurous pumpkin carver, but  you really have to check out this site at the very cool pumpkin carvings.  Included are tips adn tricks, recipes, and more.

Extreme Pumpkins


Hot Mulled Apple Cider

When I tried this at home, I loved the flavor and the fact that you could serve this in an edible cup to kids-they would find it a real novelty! The cider can be made ahead and chilled, but it would be better to hollow out the apples closer to when you plan to serve them.
Adapted from Bite by Bite

9 cups apple cider
1 orange, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 lemon, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1 whole star anise

for serving:
12 small apples (I used a gala apple)
2 1/4 cups dark rum, for adults
12 cinnamon sticks

Simmer the cider, orange and lemon slices, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and anise together in a saucepan over medium low heat for about 20 minutes.  Just before serving, cut the top off an apple and using a melon baller, hollow out the apple.  Make sure to leave about a 1/4 inch border around the edges and don't dig too close to the bottom of the core or the apple will leak. Make sure not to puncture the sides or the bottom of the apple  Ladle the warm cider into the apples and serve with the cinnamon sticks and apple lids.

Makes about 12 servings
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