Shrunken Head Punch

We are in full Halloween mode here: decorations are up, costumes are in progress, treats have been purchased. And something I’m extra excited about this year: we’re having a trick-or treat party.

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Every year while growing up, our house was home base for trick or treating friends. We’d all meet up there, my parents would order lots of pizza, and we’d spend Halloween coming and going and eating too much candy.  This year, we’re having some friends over to do the same thing with our kids, and I’m totally geeking out about it.

If you’re hosting a trick or treat party – or other Halloween party – this is the perfect spooky drink to make. Leave it virgin for the kids, or spike it up with caramel vodka, vanilla vodka, or Fireball for the adults.  You can make the apples ahead and mix up the punch in less than five minutes when you’re ready for it.

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Carving the shrunken apple heads is the most difficult part of this, but the beauty is it’s Halloween – they can be perfectly imperfect. You can also make the faces to match the crowd – scarier faces for an older crowd while silly faces would be perfect for a preschool gathering.

We had a lot of fun with this – the kids especially got a kick out of “the faces floating in there”!

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Shrunken Head Punch
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Serves 12

3-4 apples
1/4 cup lemon juice

6 cups apple cider
1 1/2 cups pear nectar
4 1/2 cups ginger ale

Optional: Vanilla vodka, caramel vodka, or Fireball, to taste

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

Working with one apple at a time, peel and core the apples, then cut in half. Using a paring knife or other tool, carve faces into the apple halves and dunk in the lemon juice.

Lay the carved apples on a rack over a baking sheet. When they are all carved, transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 1-2 hours, until the apples appear shrunken. Remove from the oven and cool.

Combine the apple cider, pear nectar, and ginger ale in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Add the cooled apple heads, and alcohol, if desired.

Fresh Corn Salsa

Looking for more Halloween inspiration? Here you go! And check back on Thursday when we’ll have another round of Halloween goodies ready for you!

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Apple Cinnamon Baklava #appleweek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with AppleWeek . I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Baklava has been on my baking bucket list for so, so long. It’s one of those dishes that I love to get when we’re out, but I always assumed it would be hard to make. I was wrong. A little time consuming? Maybe. But not hard.

This version is fall-perfect with apple chunks in the layers and apple cider in the syrup.

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I used apples from #appleweek sponsor Envy Apples in these. This was my first experience with Envy, but they’re definitely an apple that I’ll seek out now. They’re perfectly delicious eaten on their own, but they were also fantastic to bake with. Every recipe I’ve posted this week using apples has been made with Envy Apples!

Here they hold the flavor and crunch perfectly so you get undeniably apple bites in the middle of this baklava.

Since Envy Apples is one of our sponsors, they’re also offering up a fabulous prize for our #appleweek giveway – a $60 Visa giftcard and a shipment of apples! You can enter here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Apple Cinnamon Baklava
(adapted from Yummy Crumble)
Makes 1 9×13″ pan

2 cups chopped walnuts
1 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 large apple, peeled and chopped
1 package frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup honey
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
½ cup apple cider
Dash ground ginger
Dash ground cloves
Dash ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread out the chopped nuts on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes, until fragrant. Transfer the nuts to a food processor along with the brown sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Pulse a few times until the nuts are chopped medium-fine and sugar is well incorporated. Set aside.

Unroll the phyllo dough on the counter and cover with a damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out.

Using a pastry brush, brush a 9×13″ baking pan with melted butter. Lay two sheets of dough in the pan, and brush with butter. Lay two more sheets of dough over and brush with butter. Lay another two sheets over and brush with butter. (You’ll have 6 sheets total.)

Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture layer over the dough. Spread half of the apple over.

Lay two sheets of dough on top of the apple- nut mixture and brush with butter. Lay two more sheets of dough over and brush with butter. Lay another two sheets over and brush with butter.

Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture layer over the dough.

Lay two sheets of dough on top of the nut mixture and brush with butter. Lay two more sheets of dough over and brush with butter. Lay another two sheets over and brush with butter.

Spread 1/3 of the nut mixture layer over the dough. Spread half of the apple over.

Lay two sheets of dough on top of the apple- nut mixture and brush with butter. Lay two more sheets of dough over and brush with butter. Lay another two sheets over and brush with butter.

Using a sharp knife, cut into slices in a diagonal pattern.

Bake for 45 minutes, until golden.

While it bakes, combine the remaining ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until it’s reduced to half.

When the baklava is baked, pour half of the syrup over. Let it sit for about 15 minutes, then pour some more over until fully absorbed.

Fresh Corn Salsa (11)

Here are Friday’s Recipes, full of apple goodness:

 

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s  for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek  recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

Hasselback Apples #appleweek

This post is sponsored in conjunction with AppleWeek . I received product samples from sponsor companies to aid in the creation of the AppleWeek recipes. All opinions are mine alone.

Hasselback apples. Or as I like to call it: small batch apple crisp. While this can surely be sized up for a crowd (and wouldn’t this make a lovely dessert for a fall dinner party?!) it’s really perfect when you need a dessert for two.

This was Jake’s personal favorite from all of my #appleweek cooking. He raved about it for days!

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This is a pretty basic dish which really lets the apple shine through. The bake times included are for a firm apple. If you’re using a softer variety, you’ll want to cut the bake times a little so your apple doesn’t mush.

Also, a sharp knife is really going to help here it’s hard to get the nice thin slices without one. I used my Swiss Diamond Knife and it was perfect.

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And don’t forget, you can enter to win prizes from Swiss Diamond, Flahavan’s, and the other #appleweek sponsors here: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Hasselback Apples
(adapted from My Recipes)
Serves 2

1 large, firm apple
2 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
1 Tbsp. butter, melted, divided
1/2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
1 Tbsp. Irish oatmeal (I used Flahavan’s)
1/2 tsp. all purpose flour
Dash of salt
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Peel and core the apple and slice in half. Place the apple halves cut-side down and slice thinly most of the way through, leaving the bottom attached.

Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray. Transfer the apples to the baking dish.

Combine 1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar, 1/2 Tbsp. butter, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon. Brush evenly over the apple.

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove and let cool for a few minutes.

Combine remaining sugar, butter, cinnamon, oats, flour and salt. Spoon evenly over the apples. Bake for an additional 10 minutes. Broil for 2 minutes to crisp up the top. Serve with ice cream.

Fresh Corn Salsa (10)

More apple goodies this way! Check out Tuesday’s Recipes:

Disclaimer: Thank you AppleWeek Sponsors: Swiss Diamond, Nordic Ware, Envy Apples, Imperial Sugar, The Spice House, Rodelle Vanilla, Flahavan’s Irish Oats and Nairn’s  for providing the prizes free of charge. These companies also provided the bloggers with samples and product to use for AppleWeek  recipes. All opinions are my own. The AppleWeek giveaway is open to U.S. residents, age 18 & up. All entries for the winner will be checked and verified. By entering you give the right to use your name and likeness. The number of entries received determines the odds of winning. Seven (7) winners will be selected. The prize packages will be sent directly from the giveaway sponsors. The AppleWeek Bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment or delivery of the prize packages. Bloggers hosting this giveaway and their immediate family members in their household cannot enter or win the giveaway. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or any other social channel mentioned in the AppleWeek posts or entry.

Peanut Butter Apple Baked Oatmeal

I love apple season! We did a family trip to the orchard for some apple picking a few weeks ago and since then I’ve been making apple everything – applesauce, buttermilk custard apple pie, and this oatmeal were the first few kitchen projects post-trip.

This oatmeal was great – and just screams fall to me!

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Peanut Butter Apple Baked Oatmeal
(from Two Peas and Their Pod)
Serves 6

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 3/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 apples, diced

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 baking dish.

In a large bowl, stir together the oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, applesauce and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the oats and stir to combine.

Add in the peanut butter and mix until well combined. Fold in apples.

Bake for 35 minutes, or until set and golden. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby

Hey guys, I’m pregnant! I realized after the last post I never actually said it here – but it sure does explain the lack of posts recently, right?

One thing I’ve been loving this pregnancy is breakfast. Anything breakfast-y. Pancakes for dinner? Bagel sandwiches? Brunch whenever I can? Yes, yes and yes.

I found some really nice apples in the store a few weeks ago and whipped this up one weekend morning. It was delicious. I can’t wait to make this again in the fall with some fresh-from-the-farm apples!

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Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby
(from Your Home Based Mom)
Serves 4

4 Tbsp. butter
3 medium size Gala apples, thinly sliced
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Place the butter in an oven-proof skillet and put in the oven until melted.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 1 Tbsp. sugar, salt, milk and eggs in a medium bowl. In another bowl, mix together the 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.

Once the butter is melted, arrange the apples in the pan. Pour the batter over the apples. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and nicely puffed up.

Baked Apple Roses

I’ve been taking a step back from blogging lately. This has always been a hobby for me and when it starts to feel like a chore, I know it’s time to take a breather and wait until I feel excited about it again. This time, inspiration struck in the form of a Facebook post. My friend, Caitlyn, posted the video for these and since I had everything in the house already, I just had to try them out.

These came together easier than I was anticipating and they looked awesome. I made them in cupcake tins, but I think if you doubled the recipe and put them in round cake pans they would work great as a pull-apart dessert. They were also good reheated in the oven. If you’re looking for a different take on apple pie for Thanksgiving, this is a great option!

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Baked Apple Roses
(adapted from Tip Hero)
Makes 6

1 large red apple, cored, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. peach preserves
1 sheet puff pastry
Cinnamon sugar, to taste

Preheat the oven to 375F degrees. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick spray.

Place the apple slices in a bowl and cover with water. Add lemon juice, toss to coat. Microwave on high for 3 minutes then set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the peach preserves and 2 Tbsp. water. Set aside.

Roll out puff pastry until it’s a 12″ x 12″ square. Using a pizza wheel, slice the puff pastry into 6 2″ x 12″ strips.

Take one puff pastry strip and brush it with the peach preserves mixture. Place one apple slice along the top of the strip, with the rounded side overlapping the top. Place another slice overlapping the previous slice. Repeat until the end of the strip is reached – the top should look like a scalloped edge. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Carefully fold up the bottom of the puff pasty strip to form a pocket for the apple slice. Starting from one end, gently roll the puff pastry to create the look of a rose. Press the end together and place in the prepared cupcake pan. Repeat 5 more times, until all the strips are used up. Sprinkle again with cinnamon sugar.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until golden.