by Arianna Armstrong
Looking for something fun to make (or mull) for Halloween? Here's a recipe for the kid in us, and one for the kids near us, too! Creepy, easy and delicious, the great thing about these recipes is that if you're making the wine, it's easy to make the apple eyes at the same time – the most labor-intensive part is peeling and scooping the apples.
MORBID MULLED WINE
3 medium-large, sweet apples (such as Red Delicious)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
Juice from half an orange
Zest from half an orange
Zest from half a lemon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 – 2 cinnamon sticks
3 whole cloves
Peel apples and use a melon baller to scoop out round-ish balls. Then use the tip of an old-fashioned potato peeler to carve a small divet out of each apple ball. Set aside. The apples will turn slightly brown as they oxidize, which won't be a problem because they're going into the mulled wine.
Pour the liquid ingredients and sugar into a large pot or a slow cooker and add the orange and lemon zest, the pumpkin pie spice and the cinnamon sticks (to taste). As these warm, insert one whole clove into individual apple balls (be sure to remove the cloves from the apples before serving – the cloves should not be eaten). Add the rest of the “apple eyes” to the pot.
Gently heat the ingredients over a low flame (do not boil), for 25-30 minutes or until hot. Stir occasionally to ensure that the sugar has completely dissolved and that the apples are coated in the wine mixture. As they cook, the apples will become darker and the divet will become particularly noticeable and eerily similar to an iris. When the wine begins steaming, serve and enjoy!
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ICKY APPLE EYES
1 medium-large apple, peeled (sweet or tart, depending on personal taste)
1 small box of raisins
1/4 C. brown sugar, packed
Grated zest from half a lemon (add juice to taste)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp water
Red food coloring or red sanding sugar, as desired
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Scoop the apples, as directed above. To divet the apples for this recipe, insert the tip of the peeler about half-way through the apple ball. Remove the peeler and flip over, inserting into the apple again – above the first puncture – to form a small oval hole. After removing the divet, press a raisin into the apple, to look like an iris.
Place apples in a small baking dish and sprinkle with the brown sugar, lemon zest and pie spice. Dust with cinnamon. Break butter into small pieces and dot over the apples. Any remaining butter can go into the baking dish. Add water.
Cover tightly with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Uncover and baste with the syrup at the bottom of the pan. Bake for approximately 5-10 minutes more, or until apples are brown but not mushy.
Add a drop of food coloring or a light dusting of the sanding sugar to give the brown syrup a slightly red tint. The syrup will be very viscous, so you don't need much color to get a really creepy effect. Serve the apples alone or with vanilla ice cream.
Have a safe, delicious and devilishly decadent holiday!