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Kris is a contributing editor at How Did You Make This?, where she walks her readers through recreating her craft projects. She has also been recognized on Instructables for numerous Holiday crafts and recipes, including Second Prize in the 2007 DIY Halloween Food Contest.

This cute paper pumpkin is wrapped full of all sorts of tricks and treats. It’s a great way to occupy bored kids (or adults.) The recipient starts by pulling the ribbon tab and as they unroll the pumpkin bits of candy and creepy crawlies fall out!

– 1 (81 foot) roll orange crepe paper streamers
– part of 1 (81 foot) roll green crepe paper streamers
– rubber cement
– decorative ribbon
– lollipop or other object to form a stem
– assortment of tricks and treats – candy, erasers, plastic bugs, etc

Check dollar stores for the streamers and fun little prizes to wrap into your favors. Each pumpkin will use 1 roll of orange crepe paper (more if you have lots of stuff) but you can probably make 6 or more stems from one roll of green.

Start by wrapping the lollipop with green crepe paper. You can use a dot of rubber cement to hold it in place at the start.

Then start wrapping it with the orange crepe paper. As you wrap, tuck in the tricks and treats.

When you get everything wrapped up make a little pull tab from the decorative ribbon and glue it and the end of the streamer down with a bit more rubber cement. When the recipient is ready to unroll it the rubber cement will easily pull loose and they can start unwrapping from there.

Mulled Apple Cider
Mulled apple cider is the perfect way to warm up on a crisp fall day. It has a ‘choose your own adventure’ quality to it because there are a variety of spices you can use to make your own custom favoring.

If you can’t get your hands on apple cider for whatever reason this works almost as well with apple juice.

If you find yourself with leftovers (unlikely but possible) refrigerate them to reheat or drink cold later – it’s delicious either way.

To 1 Gallon of Apple Cider Add:
– 2 citrus fruits – lemons and/or oranges, sliced thin
– at least 1 cinnamon stick
And any combination of the following:
– up to ½ cup maple syrup or brown sugar
– 5-6 whole allspice berries
– 5-6 whole cloves
– up to ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
– a pinch of cayenne pepper (not for everyone, proceed with caution!)
– a few splashes of rum, whiskey or bourbon if it’s an adults only situation

Mulling Spices

If using whole spices place them into a muslin infusing bag like this or tie them into a packet with cheesecloth. My blend of choice is a cinnamon stick, a few allspice berries, a few cloves, an orange and a lemon. I leave out the extra sugars entirely.

Pour the cider, citrus slices, sugar, syrup and/or spices into a large saucepan or stockpot. Heat over low heat until it comes to a simmer. At this point start to serve it or keep it warm – I find that simmering or boiling it tends to break down the flavors after a while so keeping it just warm enough is my first choice. Add a cinnamon stick or citrus slice as a garnish if you like!

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

Caramel Apple Cheesecake

This rich and creamy cheesecake is flecked with cinnamon, topped with apples and full of melty caramel. It’s the perfect dessert for a farmer’s market or apple picking day – you can make the cheesecake ahead of time and add the apple topping with time to set before serving or top the chilled cheesecake with warm apples. The cinnamon in the cheesecake adds a warm fall flavor, and the glossy apples are just a tiny bit buttery tasting. It’s a perfect autumnal desert, especially for those sunny days before the real chill sets in.

Cheesecake Recipe:
– 9” graham cracker crust
– 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
– 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
– 1 egg
– ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
– 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
– half a bag of caramel bits (from the baking aisle) or 22 wrapped caramels, unwrapped and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Whip up the cream cheese in the mixer until it’s fluffy.
Add the sweetened condensed milk. It’s easiest to blend it with the cream cheese if you drizzle it in while the mixer is running.
Mix in the egg until completely blended.
Add the cinnamon and lemon juice, mix in completely.
Fold in the caramel pieces.
Set the crust on a baking sheet (you don’t want to move a filled pie crust.)
Pour the filling into the crust.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges are set and the center is still a little wobbly.
Let cool before topping. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before eating.

Apple Topping Recipe:
– 1 large apple – a tart apple is best, but any apple will be delicious
– 1 tbsp butter or margarine
– 2 tbsp brown sugar
– ½ tsp cornstarch (optional)
– ¼ cup water (optional)Peel and core the apple, then slice it thin.

Place the apple slices in a small saucepan. Add the butter and brown sugar.
Heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until the apples are flexible.

If you’re serving the cheesecake now, you can slice the chilled cake and pour this over the top.
To thicken the syrup dissolve the cornstarch in cold water. If you don’t have cornstarch use 1 tsp of flour.
Pour the cornstarch and water into the saucepan with the apples and boil until it thickens, this will only take a few minutes.
Pour this over the top of the cheesecake and serve immediately or refrigerate to set.