by Xani and Erin
So last year we did Haunted Gingerbread Houses. I bet you have been unable to sleep wondering what those crazy BCD girls had in mind to celebrate Halloween this year, right?? This year, we let others throw the parties (thanks Hayley, Kim, and Sarah!) and decided to focus on one of our other passions: crafts. And not just any crafts, edible crafts!
Not sure exactly where we got the idea, but sometime, oh, maybe July-ish, we started thinking about our Halloween crafts (doesn't everyone?). We both fondly remembered the grade-school treat of a Dum-Dum pop wrapped in a tissue with eyes drawn on to make a spooky ghost, so we decided to go with a more "sophisticated" (and infinitely more complicated) version: Caramel Lady Apple Ghosts.
We had it all planned out: on Sunday, not only were we going to create dozens of Caramel Apple Ghosts, we were ALSO going to cook BCD Dad's birthday dinner and dessert (post to come) AND carve jack-o-lanterns. An ambitious plan? Yes. An impossible plan?? Evidently, yes. These caramel apples were trouble from beginning to end, and took a lot longer than we thought! Eventually we got them all made, and had a delicious dinner, but sadly the jackos got the boot. There are only so many hours in a day!!
Our first step on the caramel apple project was to get the ingredients (Erin had already gotten all the necessary crafting supplies, or so we thought...). We wanted to use lady apples because they are smaller (and therefore cuter) and also because smaller apples means a higher surface to volume ratio, therefore a greater caramel to apple ratio, and therefore more delicious caramel per bite! BCD parents had dutifully checked for lady apples at the H-Mart a couple of weeks ago and even brought us back a few samples to make sure they were exactly what we wanted. So we were confident in our supplier. On the day we were to make our delicious crafts we confidently strutted into the produce section and quickly found... nothing. NO LADY APPLES ANYWHERE! Apparently they "ran out." We immediately panicked, we couldn't just use regular apples-- they aren't cute enough! So we called BCD Mom. If anyone knows where to find obscure grocery items, it's her! She let her fingers do the walking, and after calling a number of specialty and gourmet markets with no luck, tracked down the apples at Lotte market, a Korean market which happened to be on our way home. We rushed over there, grabbed the apples, then headed back to BCD headquarters to get started...
Before we got to cooking, we of course needed to create and apply adorable little labels to the Popsicle sticks which would go into each apple (our friends had to know who they were from, of course!). We have a habit of going a little clip-art crazy when it comes to this type of project, not to mention the fonts, format, phrasing, etc, etc. Finally we ended up with these:
Check out that spooky font! And the BATS!
Gellie wants to help
After stabbing each apple with its labeled Popsicle stick, and chopping the peanuts, it was time to make the caramel (also known as Disaster Sauce). We were using this recipe from Martha Stewart. Doesn't it look deceptively simple?? Yeah, well, it's NOT. Making caramel, or any candy-making, really, is hard. (We now appreciate so much more our Aunt Gloria's homemade candies from back in the day!) It's complicated, requiring exact measurements of ingredients and temperature, and it's hazardous, as the hot melted sugar is the same approximate temperature and consistency as napalm (but more delicious, I'm assuming).
Anyhow, we followed the recipe and managed to get all the apples dipped in caramel and peanuts despite 1) a boil-over scare which threatened to burn down the house AND horribly disfigure both of us for life, and 2) the caramel changing consistency once it reached its final cooking temperature, meaning it quickly went from a smooth sauce which easily coated the apples to a slimy, oily paste that slid directly off the apples and back into the pot-- what's up with that??
This is why caramel tastes so good... butter, sugar, cream, & corn syrup.
Disaster Sauce in the making
You can see how close we came to a boil-over...
With apples dipped and fires/burns avoided, it was time to get crafty. We had grossly underestimated the amount of cheesecloth we would need to turn our little ladies into spooky ghosts, so BCD Mom came to the rescue again-- she went to two different stores to track down more (THANKS MOM!). Then each apple needed to be wrapped in a cut-to-size piece of waxed paper, then in cheesecloth, and THEN tied with jute (also known as "spooky rope"). What a process! Finally we drew on eyes and a mouth, and they were ready to go! Here's the final product, what do you think?
This Halloween season flew by, but we got to indulge in our favorite things: costumes, parties, cooking, and crafting. Time to start thinking about next year!
Happy Halloween Everyone!
Xani and Erin
P.S. Please enjoy some Halloween pictures!! See Xani as WWII icon Rosie the Riveter, and Erin as a witch who's been burned at the stake!
We Can Do It!
I won't be burned!
Eyeing some delicious cupcakes at Kim's Halloween Party
Xani as Rosie and Hayley as a Jedi
Tannor hates being Yoda
Biggie makes a great Ewok!
The whole Jedi family
The punch was STRONG!
Trick or Treat!