Shrunken Heads in Cider

Turn warm apple cider into a terrifying treat with halved apples carved to resemble shrunken heads.


  • For the shrunken heads:
  • 6 apples, peeled, halved and cored
  • 3 cups lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt
  • For the apple cider:
  • 3 quarts apple cider
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups dark spiced rum
  • 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 4 cinnamon sticks


  1. For the shrunken heads: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
  2. With a paring knife, carve faces into the prepared apple halves. In a medium bowl, mix the lemon juice and salt. Dip each apple half into the lemon juice mixture, then place the apple face onto the prepared sheet pan.
  3. When all apples are carved, bake for about 2 hours, until heads shrink a bit and are dehydrated.
  4. For the apple cider: In a large Dutch oven, mix the cider, brown sugar, allspice, nutmeg and rum. Warm over medium heat and mix well, making sure sugar is well dissolved. Add the ginger, orange and cinnamon sticks. Simmer the mixture over low heat for about 5 minutes. Add shrunken apple heads, and serve warm with a cinnamon stick and a shrunken head in each mug.