Halloween Party Recipes

My earliest food memory is helping my aunt make caramel apples.

I was just a preschooler, so the most I did to help was push popsicle sticks into the apples before my Aunt Sandy gave them a dip into melted caramel. My aunt had four little children under her feet, and I’m sure we were all begging to help or making a fuss over who would get the first apple. But I hope she knows it was worth the trouble.

I think about those caramel apples sometimes when I’m debating whether to take on a project – cooking or otherwise – with my children. Sometimes, in all honesty, it’s not worth the trouble. But usually, it’s time well spent. I hope my kids will remember frosting cookies, shaping popcorn balls and making caramel apples with me, too.

October is a fun time to bring kids into the kitchen, whether it be for apple dumplings, pumpkin bread or spooky Halloween recipes.

Or how about a Halloween party? You don’t have to wait until Oct. 31. Invite some friends after school, and keep it simple with a couple of snacks and maybe a fun game in the backyard – while in costume, of course.

I really like this caramel sauce from Simply Recipes. Of course you can unwrap the little squares of caramel and melt them in the microwave for quick caramel apples. But this homemade caramel sauce is worth the extra trouble. Sprinkle your finished apples with sea salt, M&Ms, chocolate chips or pecans.

Note: You’ll need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

Homemade Caramel Apples

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dark molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 sturdy lollipop or popsicle sticks
  • 6 medium apples (rinsed and patted dry, room temperature)

Place sugar, butter, cream, corn syrup, molasses, vanilla and salt in three-quart saucepan. Heat on medium to medium-low heat, and stir slowly with a wooden spoon until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. If you see sugar crystals on the edge of the pan, brush them down with a wet pastry brush.

Let the caramel mixture come to a rolling boil, adjusting the heat so that the caramel doesn’t boil over the pan. Continue to stir in a slow figure-eight pattern with a wooden spoon. Monitor the temperature of the caramel with a candy thermometer. When the temperature of the mixture reaches 240 degrees (after about 15 minutes or so of boiling), remove from heat and pour into a metal bowl.

Let the hot caramel mixture sit in the bowl until the temperature cools to just below 200 degrees, at which point you are ready to dip the apples.

Line a baking sheet with buttered aluminum foil. Insert the sticks into the center of the apples through the stem end.

Dip the apples into the sauce. Swirl each apple around in the sauce so that the caramel sauce completely coats the apple, except for the very top near the stick. Let the excess caramel drip back into the bowl.

Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Once the caramel has chilled a few minutes, remove from the refrigerator and press the caramel that has pooled at the bottom of the apples up against the side of the apples.

If you are using coatings, such as sprinkles or chopped nuts, roll the caramel apples in them now. Then return the apples to the refrigerator and chill for at least another hour.

Moms and dads will want sips of this delicious punch, too. It can be served cold or warm.

Halloween Punch

  • 3 cups cranberry-apple juice
  • 3 cups water
  • 15 hard cinnamon candies
  • 1 (6-ounce) can thawed limeade concentrate, undiluted

Combine all the ingredients in a large pitcher. Cover and chill 8 hours or until candies are dissolved, for cold punch.

For warm punch, pour mixture into a large Dutch oven, and cook over medium heat until thoroughly heated.

Make sure the mixture is cool enough for little hands if your kids are going to help make these.

Candy Corn Popcorn Balls

  • 8 cups popped popcorn
  • 1 cup candy corn
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag marshmallows

Combine popcorn and candy corn in a large bowl.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in salt and marshmallows. Reduce heat to low, and cook, while stirring, for about 7 minutes, or until the marshmallows melt and the mixture is smooth.

Pour marshmallow mixture over popcorn and candy corn, stirring to coat well. Lightly coat hands with cooking spray or butter; shape popcorn mixture into balls. This will make about 20 (2-inch) balls.

Categories: Food