Saturday, October 24, 2020

Candied Apples

When I was a child, making candied apples for Halloween was an indispensable Fall tradition.  We made both the red hard-candy-coated ones, or the chewy caramel ones, depending on our mood that year.  But I have to admit the caramel ones were always my favorite.

It was a big deal.  It was an absolute must, or it just didn't feel like Halloween at my house.  We would beg our mom to bring home a package of the red candy mix or a bag of caramel squares, and a big bag of apples.

We were terrible at it ... I was a perfectionist who wanted every apple perfectly draped in the sugar candy coating, and the dripping around the bottom to be absolutely minimal.  Most of the time, they didn't turn out that way.

Halloween party with the cousins.
In those days, we often threw Halloween parties with our cousins and school friends.  There was a lot of planning that went into them, even though we were innocently simplistic.  When I see some of the ideas in magazines or on Pinterest these days, I'm blown away at how creative and complex some Halloween decor and food are today.  Nothing at all like what we could come up with back in our day.

I don't know when candied apples got fancy.  When we were kids, we would see them often at our school carnivals and state fairs, and they were always just plain apples covered in the traditional red candy coating or sticky toffee caramel, wrapped beautifully and enticingly in cellophane.

We would beg our parents to buy one (if we hadn't already made some ourselves), but they almost never caved.  They knew we would eat only the candy outside, and leave the apple behind.  Or they'd stay in the refrigerator forever as we tired of them and only took an occasional bite.  Mostly they were just messy.

Somewhere along the way, candied apples became gourmet.  They were no longer just covered in a red candy coating ... the hard candy shell can now be any color, marbled, or even glittery.  Now they're no longer just covered in buttery caramel ... that's just the first coating, followed by a coating of white, dark or milk chocolate, and then rolled in various scrumptious toppings.  Candied apples are now scrumptious works of art.

Candied Apples best made with tart green apples.
I became thoroughly intimidated.  Nevertheless, many home cooks out there are stepping up to the challenge and creating absolute masterpieces.  From using beautifully gnarly twigs instead of popsicle sticks, to decorating their apples with chocolate filigree, candied apples have become an absolute artform.  Here's one of my favorite blog posts about them.

We indulge in these works of art occasionally, and they'll even cut them up for us now, so everyone can enjoy a slice of these deliciously dressed apples.

If that's still too much to get into, ingenious Moms set out a platter of sliced apples with caramel dip and bowls of various toppings for a do-it-yourself fall apple treat.  Muffin tins set out with the various dippers work just as well, especially for kids' parties.  Toppings could include:

  • Luscious Gourmet Caramel Apples
    Cinnamon sugar
  • Seasonal Fall sprinkles
  • Chocolate jimmies
  • Finely chopped nuts
  • Grated white, dark or milk chocolate or mini chips
  • Minced dried cranberries
  • Flaked, shredded or toasted coconut
  • Crushed candy or chopped candy bars
  • Crushed ready-to-eat cereal
  • Chopped trail mix
  • Crushed Oreos
  • Crushed pretzels
  • Sea salt

Candied Apples are a classic Fall treat that every child and inner child enjoys.  There are many ways to indulge, and they can be easily shared to avoid overdoing it.  It's a memory from my childhood that has gotten fancified and more special  ... and I'm loving every minute of it.  Plan on enjoying some candied apples this Halloween!

Enjoy previous seasonal blog posts:

Spine-Chilling Reads
Some good, scary books to curl up with on fright-night! 
Tea Superstitions
Double, double, toil and trouble ... Fire burn, and cauldron bubble ...
Happy Halloween 
Making the holiday fun.
Halloween Traditions
From pumpkin carving to hot apple cider, family traditions make holidays memorable!
Recipes for the Season
Update your repertoire with some new recipes for Fall!
Bucket List for Fall
Taking advantage of everything fall has to offer!
Back to the Farm
Fall is the time to head to the farm to pick pumpkins, visit the animals, go on a hayride, and sip hot cocoa by a bonfire.
October Planning
Time to make lists ... menus, recipes, family reunions, Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, parties, special events, carving time on the calendar.
Fall Has Arrived
And we've got apples!
Brandied Fruit 
Time to put up your Brandied Fruit to marinate and mellow in time for the Holidays.
Apple-Pickin' Time!
With so many apple varieties to choose from, what kind of apples are best for baking?
A 2-Page Spread for Thanksgiving
Some of our sweetest moments ...
Harvest Time
There's nothing quite as satisfying as growing your own food.
We're Jammin'
When the harvest is bountiful ...
Pumpkin Pie
Have you ever made a pie from fresh pumpkin instead of canned?  Do it!  It's not difficult and so worth it!
A Different Kind of Thanksgiving
Just can't stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving!
It's Baking Season!
On your marks,
get set ...
A Cabin in the Woods
Getting away from it all is a tradition worth keeping.
Counting our blessings ... may they always be plentiful and abundant.
Taking Care of Holiday Guests
Breakfast burritos can make you a winning host!
Our Latest Obsession:
Olive Oil ... once you find your favorite, nothing else will do!
Heirloom tomatoes ... the ugly ducklings / beautiful swans of tomatoes.
Wine Poached Pears
Perfect for fall, perfect for dessert, perfect on a cheese board, perfect in a gallette!
A Rustic Tart for Fall
A free-form tart or galette with layered wine-poached pears is a perfect dessert for fall.
Pear Tart, Part Deux 
There's a time for rustic, and a time for elegant.
Family Heritage Tour
A trip back to the old country in search of the abuelos.
A Difficult Anniversary
A few years ago we lost our Mom.  It feels like it was just yesterday.  The anniversary of a great loss is always hard
It's All About Family
Giving thanks and honoring those who came before.
My Boy
A tribute to Max.
Bless the Beasts
Spreading goodwill upon the creatures we share this earth with ...
15 Minutes of Fame
Just a mention is thrilling, but being included in this company is the real claim to fame!
Top Chef - Colorado
A celebrity in the family!
The Icing on the Cake
Does a bakery really need to make frosted layer cakes?
What's Your Favorite Cake?
If only I could pick just one!
In Honor of Veterans Day
The suicide rate among our Veterans is sky high.  We can do something about that.
Baking Cakes
Basic baking tips for beautiful layer cakes.
Of Natural Disasters and Charity
A humbling reminder that nature is in charge, despite our best-laid plans.
Healing Warriors Program, gives away a state-of-the-art electric wheelchair!
Congrats, HWP!
Healing Warriors Program received a huge honor, and we were invited to the Pentagon to see it!
Donate if you can!
Healing Warriors Program,
my sister's nonprofit, does very important work for our service members' complete health and wellbeing.

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