Monday, September 28, 2009

Rant: Candy vs Caramel Apples

With the advent of fall, there are certain seasonal treats which become more readily available, especially items using apples. One of my favorites is fresh, cider donuts. You will also find, especially at local fairs and carnivals, candy and caramel apples, which might be covered with coconut, nuts, colored jimmies or other items.

Candy apples were invented first, around the turn of the century, though their exact origin is murky. Candy apples, with their distinctive red candy shell, are usually made with a flavored boiled sugar recipe. Caramel apples, made with melted caramel, were first developed by Kraft Foods in the 1950s. The popularity of each varies across the country, though I have been noticing, to my dismay, an increase in the ubiquity of caramel apples locally.

I love candy apples, especially covered with coconut. It is not always easy to take that first crunchy bit of a candy apple, breaking through the hard shell, but it is rewarding. With a fresh, crisp apple, the candy, coconut and fruit make for a very appealing treat.

For me, the caramel apple fails. I love caramel, from a nice sweet sauce atop ice cream to a salted, gooey center of a dark chocolate. But I don't like its soft gooey texture on a caramel apple. It is too soft, and just doesn't seem complementary to the crisp apple. Plus maybe it is a bit sentimental, as growing up I most often had and enjoyed red candy apples.

So I am dismayed that red candy apples are much less available lately. Where have they gone? Why aren't they more popular now? Why have caramel apples become much more popular? I don't have answers to these questions. But I want them to bring back my red candy apples. I want that candy crunch rather than the gooey chew.

Which one do you prefer?


ithacork said...

caramel all the way. with peanuts.

Anonymous said...

Being from the Midwest where the caramel apple is most prevalent, I prefer caramel apples. I actually don't understand why someone would ruin the apple flavor by covering it in an all-too-sweet candy coating. Eating a caramel apple takes me back to when I was little and dipping apple slices into a caramel fruit dip because it was the only way my mom could get me to eat them. Now, I look forward to fall when I can get a fresh caramel apple rolled in many peanuts. It's kind of a lazy way of going about dipping the apple into a caramel dipping sauce or some peanut butter (another favorite). I am pretty sure that which one you like better depends on where in the U.S. you are from.