Tis the season for Pumpkin Spice Everything, but personally I don't get it. Pumpkin is fine, but for me fall is all about apples. Apples are sweet, sometimes tart, crisp, and full of flavor. They are delicious on their own, as juice or cider, mashed up as applesauce, baked with savory dishes (like pork), and excellent in desserts of all sorts. I like squash (though pumpkin is not even one of the best squashes), but there's no comparison. Virtually everyone agrees that Apple > Pumpkin. Spices definitely improve pumpkin, but I firmly believe Apple Spice > Pumpkin Spice. Don't even try to argue.
If you're tempted to argue, make some cinnamon spice caramel apple popcorn first. Then get back to me and tell me that pumpkin spice is better than apple spice. Affiliate links below.
Cinnamon Spice Caramel Apple Popcorn
There is no right or wrong when making your own flavored popcorns. It's not like baking a cake where chemical reactions mean that quantities matter. You can add more or less of any ingredient. I was hesitant to even put quantities above, as I didn't measure when I was making mine. Those are my best guesses.
Start by crushing some crisp dried apples until about half of the apples are powder and the rest is pea-sized bits. Stir in some brown sugar and cinnamon, then add a dash of nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
Pop and generously butter approximately 10 cups of popcorn. Immediately pour the apple mixture over the popcorn and stir well. Some of the apple mixture will remain at the bottom of the bowl instead of stuck to the popcorn, but that's not a problem.
Follow the directions to melt the Salted Caramel Candy Melts. Drizzle half of the melted candy over the popcorn and immediately stir well. Repeat with the remaining candy. Most of the apple mixture should now be stuck to the popcorn.
If you eat the popcorn immediately, the tiny apple bits are still crispy. If you let the popcorn sit for a while, or bag it up, the apple bits will soften, but remain equally delicious.
I made a cute felt apple tag to label my bagged popcorn. It's a quick and easy project.
Felt Apple Tag
Cut out an apple from the red felt, using pinking sheers. Cut the leaves and stem from green felt with regular scissors. Apply green Stickles to the leaves and set them aside to dry.
Use two strands of black embroidery floss to backstitch a smile and two eyebrows.
Cut a piece of red cardstock that is slightly smaller than the felt apple. Glue it to the back of the apple, covering the knots from your stitching. Write a message to your recipient.
Glue the googly eyes and the leaves to the front of the apple.