Every Halloween, I make a big crockpot of Spiced Tea so that the kids have something hot to drink when they come in from the cold after trick-or-treating around the neighborhood. I’ve been making it for years. I used to make it from scratch with tea bags, fresh orange juice, fresh lemon juice, and some other ingredients. Then I learned how to make spiced tea using orange drink mix and powdered instant tea. Super quick and easy! The kids loved it so I started doing it that way ever since because it made it one less thing on the Halloween menu to worry about. You could actually make the spiced tea mix way ahead of time and just stir it with water in your crockpot on the day you’re serving it. It’ll keep forever stored in an airtight container.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago I stumbled on a post on marthastewart.com on how to make shrunken apple heads and thought how perfect would it be to float shrunken heads in my spiced tea this Halloween? I asked my daughter, Bashful, to carve the spooky faces for me and she did an awesome job, don’t you think? I was in a bit of a hurry so I skipped the part where you bake the heads and I also left out the clove eyes. Did I say I was in a hurry? We just floated the heads in the tea directly after carving and I think they looked great!
(Makes a little over 2 cups mix)
- 1⅓ cups orange drink mix (like Tang)
- ⅓ cup instant tea (like Lipton or Nestea)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- Combine orange drink mix, instant tea, sugar, and spices together.
- Store in tightly covered jar.
- Stir desired amount into boiling water and serve hot. I put it in a crockpot so it stays warm.
- Use ½ cup mix for every quart of boiling water. Add more or less mix till it tastes to your liking.
- For a single serving, measure 1 tsp. of mix into a cup of hot water, adding more or less to your taste.
To Make Shrunken Apple Heads:
- 4 large Granny Smith apples
- 1 cup lemon juice
- ½ tbsp. coarse salt
- 16 whole cloves, optional
- Preheat oven to 250ºF.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together lemon juice and salt; set aside.
- Peel and core apples; then cut each in half.
- With a sharp paring knife, carve a face on the rounded side of each apple half.
- Place apples in lemon mixture for one minute; transfer to paper towels to drain.
- Arrange apples face-side up on prepared baking sheet.
- Bake until apples are dry and begin to brown around the edges, about 90 minutes.
- Remove apples from baking sheet and, if desired, press cloves into the “eye sockets.”
NOTE: If you’re putting the shrunken heads in spiced tea, you can skip soaking them in the lemon-salt mixture and baking them. Just float them in your pot of spiced tea right after carving. Put them face down for the first half hour or so, then flip them face up.