I really miss the old Halloweens I had as a child, when it was a big deal to get a Hershey bar and not so out of the ordinary to get a homemade treat.
This year for Halloween we are giving out glow sticks, but the first 12 (OK 10 - my kids are going to get one each) lucky trick or treaters are going to get a delicious homemade caramel apple to boot. We live on a small, cobblestone alley where everyone knows everyone - I always say it's like living on Sesame Street. Most of the kids that will be stopping by are on a first name basis with us, and they will be with their folks who are also our friends and neighbors. They know us to be fairly respectable, and so hopefully that will mitigate any crazy daisy razor fears that have fueled the wrapped candy rage since the eighties.
I have gone through many a caramel apple recipe, unwrapped countless cellophane caramel wrappers, and made myself crazy searching for the popsicle sticks. and this is by far the best approach. The recipe itself is fairly straightforward but does have a few tricks. You can purchase the wooden sticks at any craft store. The caramel cooks nicely in a Le Creuset or other heavy pan, and you will need an instant read thermometer. I special ordered an infrared one just for giggles, and because that is MY treat for this holiday. Super cool.
Finally, there is wrapping. You can purchase a bubble apple, 12 x 12 cellophane squares, or boxes. Personally, I like the boxes and the bubbles because they are no muss no fuss, but if you are doing big quantities and have time to wrap and tie on your hands, it makes sense to buy the cellophane. All of this can be purchased online at various candy supply stores.
This year I will be managing the process with my co-hosts, SpongeBob and Super Why. Both are very excited to make and eat these apples, and especially to share them. I will take lots of pics and post shortly. Until then, happy Halloween and enjoy every bite.
Old Fashioned Caramel Apples
from Jane Sharrock's Who Wants Candy
12 medium apples
2 cups sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter
1 cup half and half or evaporated milk
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups chopped nuts (I used honey roasted peanuts) - optional
- Wash and dry apples. Remove stems. Insert wooden skewer into each, using a twist-like motion so the apple will not split.
- Cover a large area with wax paper (counter top will do nicely).
- In a large, heavy pot combine all the ingredients except the extract and nuts. Bring to a boil and cook until 246 degrees. Add vanilla.
- Remove from heat and cool slightly until thickened.
- Double dip the apples and then roll bottoms in chopped nuts. Place on wax paper. Cool until firm and serve.