Editor’s Note: The recipe printed on Page 13 of this week’s Renton Reporter inadvertently left “2 cups of half-and-half” off of the recipe’s ingredients list. The full, corrected recipe is below. We apologize for the error.
I was bantering the other day with my husband, Paul, about the idea of offering out homemade candy to trick-or-treaters, specifically, caramel apples.
He thought I was being ridiculous. I thought I was kind of being ridiculous.
So many things have changed the way we parent, but it seems like Halloween candy has stayed exactly the same since the urban legend of razor blades and pins in candy apples. Which is ironic because there has never been one documented case of razor blades in Halloween candy, ever.
For me, Halloween ain’t Halloween without that caramel apple, (not the weird looking bright red one, it’s all about the creamy, dreamy camel-brown soft one).
The caramel apples were invented many years after the bright red, cinnamon candy apple, by Kraft Foods employee Dan Walker in the 1950s when experimenting with excess caramels from Halloween sales; he simply melted them down, and added apples.
Which, admittedly, is kind of a boring origin story for one of my favorite childhood treats.
A caramel apple was a special treat because unlike a Snickers or a KitKat walking around with it was something special. It meant that you were either at the Puyallup Fair or a mom or a Nana had to make it for you.
Eating a caramel apple (preferably around a gang of kids without a caramel apple) was an event. It was something you sat down and put your whole body into it. It makes me smile when I think of how I would turn my head to the side for the initial bite that got everything started, digging my eye teeth into that sweet, camel-colored gooey, softness and continuing through to the crisp crunchy Granny Smith apple. Of course, there was that sticky string that traced across your cheek, maybe you’d wipe it away with your sleeve, maybe you wouldn’t. Chomping the mixture of tart apple with salty caramel that cut the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
These days, however, I don’t want to eat an apple on a stick.
That probably sounds a little snooty, but really, how many adults, outside of a circus, do you see taking gigantic bites from a caramel apple?
Last year around this time of year, I splurged and bought a “gourmet” caramel apple the size of Jupiter on a stick in downtown Seattle. It looked nothing like the golden goody of my childhood, but it was gourmet, it had to be the best, right?
It was coated to the max with layers and layers of chocolate, white chocolate, marshmallows, and peanut toppings.
The first bite felt more like chomping into a jaw breaker instead of the dreamy caramely softness. How could that monstrosity possibly deliver on the childhood memory I was craving?
Which is why I love making caramel apple pops; It’s the same concept without all the work.
Well, there’s still work making the homemade caramel sauce, but it’s a family fun thing and the kids love to scoop out the little apple balls and dip them into homemade caramel with little sticks. Or, dip the whole apple and dump on toppings.
Either way, celebrate Halloween in style this year with my caramel apple recipe this year!
Pippimama’s Caramel Apple Pops
• 1 cup butter (no substitutes)
• 2 cups half-and-half
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 ½ cups light corn syrup
• 1 ½ cups white sugar
• 1 Tablespoon vanilla
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 8 -10 wooden sticks
• 8 -10 medium tart apples (either organic or wash off apple wax)
• Insert 1 wooden stick into each apple or using a melon baller spoon out flesh into balls and stick with toothpick or wooden stick.
• In a heavy saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, cream, salt; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
• Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 248 degrees (firm ball stage) about 30-40 minutes and for a softer caramel cook just a few less degrees.
• Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
• Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture; turn to coat.
• Holding by the stick, sprinkle with nuts or whatever you desire while the caramel is still warm (work quickly the caramel sets up fast).
• Set on generously buttered wax paper to cool (make certain to generously butter the paper).
• With extra caramel pour on popcorn for popcorn balls or pour into a brownie pan covered with Saranwrap for extra candy bites.