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Activity: Quarter Caramel Apples and Gourmet Popcorn

This Halloween (or heck, all of Autumn) activity is fun for all - just let a qualified adult do the skewering and the hot caramel parts! ASG wanted to try a little experiment to make caramel apples on a skewer - but use quarter cut apples and not whole ones - we were trying out sizes as eating an entire candied apple always felt a bit much. Get all of the colorful ingredients together before you start - this can go quite quickly. When done, expect it all to go equally quickly - because you are working with cut apples, we recommend eating them within a day or two (if not immediately after it cools down). This recipe recalls holiday street food - warm and candied nuts, popcorn and caramel apples...

PREP - Start that Halloween playlist - we were enjoying some old 1930s and 1940s Halloween music. There's something very atmospheric about the hum of static and stacato music that blends itself for goulish fun.

- Get all of the ingredients out and ready. If you have a bunch of helpers, have them put their respective topping in a bowl and ready to go. No snacking!

- Create an apple bath in a clean bowl, with about four cups of water, a tbsp of sugar, and two teaspoons of salt. We put in ice to bring the temperature down at the right point in the process.

- Clean the apples and all utensils in advance and well - as this dish goes straight into the mouth.

(- Those thick candied apple skewers are hard to find - we found ours at Walmart)

INGREDIENTS - serves 10-12 ghouls

- x4 large green, crispy apples - cleaned well, cut top-down into four equal parts - trim off the top and bottom and trim down the center to remove the hard core and seeds. Do not remove the skin otherwise!

- Apple bath - large bowl, 4 cups water, tbsp of granulated sugar, x2 tsp of salt - mix well, have ice at the ready

- Thick, pointed apple skewers

- x1 bag of meltable caramel (see photo above)

- Butter - at least a half of a stick of unsalted

- Pecans - sweated out in a low-heat pan, mix with unsalted butter, brown sugar, pinches of salt - stir until brown, do not allow to get dark (low heat)!

- A sixth of a bag of mini-marshmellows

- Halloween sprinkles - we found some that had dehydrated marshmellows (tiny), pumpkins, etc

- White chocolate - microwavable melt

- Gummy worms

- Microwaveable popcorn

- Cupcake paper cups


- After prepping apples, put them immediately in the prepated bath - when all is in the bath, throw in a few cubes of ice and we used a small plate to keep the apples submerged - this will treat them for browning and keep them ready for assembly later - refridgerate

- Put marshmellows, sprinkles, gummy worms in respective bowls

- Crush a few of your 1 cup of pecans - the smaller pieces will go on the carameled apples

- Prep the pecans - as described before, allow the unseasoned pecans to sweat in a low-heat frying pan

- After about 10 minutes of this, put in about a quarter stick of butter - mix well - at this point, you'll need to keep stirring, get the pecans well coated

- Put in about two tbsp of brown sugar and two pinches of salt - mix until well blended - about 10 minutes

- The nuts retain a lot of heat, so carefully remove and set aside on a wax paper baking pan to allow to cool

- Prep the caramel - they are low temperature - we start it off with a single pat of butter for some liquid, then start low and bring to medium-low - constant stirring will be needed for the remainder of the process

- As this is prepping, have that strong adult strain the apples, and dry them with a paper towel as you carefully skewer each one down its thickest - this should not take much effort, but be careful!

- After apples are prepped, create an assembly line - skewered apple to caramel wrangler, a nice full coating on the skin side (only), then put in a cupcake cup - quickyl add the pecans, sprinkles, marshmellows - creativity is desired!

- Arrange the apples on a wax paper prepared baking dish, leaving room for popcorn - save some caramel warming in a small bowl for the popcorn

- When satisfied and complete - microwave that popcorn

- Give the little ones the (cooled down) caramel spoons to lick for helping

- Don't allow the popcorn to burn! Once its done, we like to put in a little pat of butter and shake it up.

- Arrange the popcorn on the wax paper, around the apples

- Use the leftover caramel to top the popcorn

- Then add sprinkles, marshmellows, pecans and gummy worms to coat it all - oh, you wish we were done, right...?

- Now use a quarter of a cup of white chocolate melts - carefully drizzle across your caramel apples and popcorn

- Take some photos

- Now, cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war!

We had a lot of fun putting these together - because the pulp is treated in its solution of lemon, salt and sugar, we figure they will keep in the fridge for a time - but we recommend eating either immediately (thus the activity), or it can sit in the fridge in a bag for a day or two and will be fine.

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