I have to admit I like the idea of candy apples much more than the apples themselves; the caramel variety is almost impossible to get a grip on, the caramel slipping across the smooth apple skin as you plow it with your teeth. And I’m never quite sure how to approach the hard red candy kind; there is no way to be delicate when sweet shards are shattering all over your face, sticking to your cheeks. That said, I can’t let Halloween go by without making them.
While we’re being honest, I may as well admit that I don’t generally make the caramel kind because those little square caramels and I have a history; namely I was completely and all-encompassingly addicted to them a few years back. It was right after W was born, when people kept saying to me “you’re breastfeeding – you can eat whatever you want and you’ll totally lose weight!” Bollocks. I of course wanted to believe this and so put it to the test, downing my own weight in caramels daily. Their little wrappers were everywhere, even though I grabbed them and stuck them in my pockets anytime I went from room to room. I got panicky whenever my stash ran low. When I got a batch that were on the hard side, I carried them in my pockets until they softened up. Two months and 25 pounds later (I’m not even exaggerating) I had to quit cold turkey.
Even if I made the caramel from scratch, which is easy enough, I don’t trust myself not to overdo the taste testing – I have been known to singe my tongue licking out the pot. (Yes, using a spatula.) Besides, I love the look of red candy apples. I can admire them, and let the kids go bonkers for them, and not feel like I’m missing out on actually eating them.
Apples that come pre-bagged tend to be smaller than those you pick from the display; the smaller ones are a better choice for candy apples. Make sure they are well washed and dried before you begin.