Halloween Cocktail Party: Vegan Caramel Apples & Coconut Oil Kettle Corn

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Today I'm talking about parties. And not just any party...

Halloween parties! 

This month, my talented friends & bloggers Alex and Amanda and I got together again to make some October eats & sweets to celebrate Halloween in style.  

The menu was simple with apps and desserts - heavy on the sweets in the spirit of the holiday.

But, we strayed from the traditional orange and black. Amanda beautifully decorated her large wooden table with neutral tones, pastels and gold accents. Think light-colored pumpkins, fresh eucalyptus, white hydrangeas and gold silverware.

It was a classy, slightly girly touch to the usual darkness of the holiday. 

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Just like we did for our fall cocktail party a few weeks ago, we each brought a few dishes.  

Here is our plant-based menu to inspire your own Halloween bash... 

- Halloween Cocktail Party Menu - 

Vampire Kiss Cocktail - By Delish Knowledge

Vegetarian Crostini - by Delish Knowledge

White Bean Sage Soup - by Feed Me With Amanda

Garlic & Parsley Baked Wedge Fries - by Urban.Apron. (recipe below)

Coconut Oil Kettle Corn - by Urban.Apron. (recipe below)

Vegan Caramel Apples - by Urban.Apron. (recipe below)

Pumpkin Cake - By Feed Me With Amanda

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups -- by Urban. Apron (click here for recipe!)

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Now, let me tell you about these vegan caramel apples. Because I don't know about you, but this time of year screams fall apples. 

This is a caramel without the dairy - which iiiis possible! I've found that by using canned coconut cream (I buy the heavy coconut cream at Trader Joe's), I can substitute it 1-for-1 for heavy cream in many recipes, including a caramel sauce. 

This is a quick caramel, no candy thermometer needed. But, the trick is to let it cook until it turns a dark golden brown. If you don't, it wont be thick enough. But, if you cook it too long, it will be too hard. (Ahh the frustration I tell you!) Well, long story short, I've found about 10 minutes does the trick. 

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 Photo by  Amanda Wilens

Photo by Amanda Wilens

You can top these apples with a drizzle of dark chocolate, white chocolate, chopped nuts, sea salt... the variations are endless! For the party, I kept these simple with just a sprinkle of sea salt. 

 Vegan Caramel Apples

  • 8-9 small assorted small apples, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups organic sugar

  • 1/2 cup organic light corn syrup (vegan)

  • 1/2 cup canned coconut cream, room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Flaked sea salt, for topping

Directions: 

  1. Insert a twig into the stem side of each apple.

  2. Make the caramel: Stir together the sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Cover, and cook over medium-high heat until the sugar is melted. Then, uncover and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the mixture is dark golden color. This will take about 10 minutes.

  3. After its darn golden, slowly drizzle in the coconut cream and remove from the heat. It may bubble a lot, don't worry, just keep stirring until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract as well.

  4. Transfer the caramel to a small metal bowl. Let stand 1-3 minutes to let caramel thicken slightly.

  5. Next, dip the apples. Holding the steam, dip an apple into the caramel to coat. Lift up and let extra caramel drip off. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with all other apples.

  6. Press the sea salt around the top of each apple.

  7. You can also melt chocolate and drizzle over the apples, if you prefer. Or press chopped peanuts or cashews into the caramel.

  8. Let the apples set about 30 minutes then enjoy! Or store in the refrigerator until ready to eat (up to 2 days).

 Photo by    Amanda Wilens
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I also made kettle corn. One, because it may be one of my top 3 favorite foods. And two, the sweet & salty snack gives a laid back vibe to a cocktail party.

This recipe is a bit healthier than most - with coconut oil and organic cane sugar. If you don't like the slightly coconut flavor, feel free to use another flavorless oil. 

I served the kettle corn in small paper bags. Perfect for individual servings. 

Coconut Oil Kettle Corn  

  • 1/2 cup popcorn kernels

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

  • 1/4 cup organic cane sugar

  • sea salt to taste

Directions

  1. Heat a large pot with a lid, over medium heat and add in the coconut oil.

  2. Cook the oil until almost melted and then quickly stir in the sugar and add the popcorn kernels.

  3. Place the lid on top of the pot and gently slide the pot back and forth over the burner - while holding the lid (use potholders to hold the lid shut). Or store the kernels with a wooden spoon.

  4. It will take 1-2 minutes for the kernels to begin to pop. So continue moving the pot or stiring the kernels occasionally. Keep moving it around until the popcorn starts popping. Then continue to move the pot around until the popping slows down.

  5. Remove the pot from the heat and toss with a little sea salt.

  6. You can store this popcorn in a plastic bag for a few days at room temperature. I serve the popcorn in small paper bags.

 

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I also made Garlic & Parsley Wedge Fries, which was basically roasted potato wedges tossed in a mixture of garlic and parsley.  

I cut two large russet potatoes into wedges, rinsed and dried them with a towel. Then, I tossed the wedges with olive oil and salt and baked at 450 degree for about 35 minutes, flipping halfway through, until crisp. Then, I tossed the roasted wedges in the herb & garlic mixture. The herb mixture is 1/2 cup fresh parsley, 3 garlic cloves and 1/4 tsp sea salt all chopped together until minced.

These are a bit salty and garlicky... and just perfect.

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Well, I don't know about you, but I'm celebrating Halloween just like this every year!