Wednesday, October 6, 2010


My memories are always heavily tied with my senses. Especially with Halloween:
The early dark evenings, the cold snap in the CT air, golden and red leaves littering the streets and our back yard at home. I can recall the sharp smell of freshly turned dirt and the strange but comforting smell of burning leaves (my mom had a thing for backyard bonfires in the winter )
And of course FOOD : thick hearty stews, grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup, fresh baked bread, warm hot cocoa after school and a few weeks before Halloween ? CANDY APPLES
I can still clearly see my mother in my mind's eye. Standing in our large kitchen, gently washing and picking the best apples from the large bowlful. Carefully drying them, checking for bruises and then gently removing the stems. We always used the same kit: it came with a dozen Popsicle sticks and a strange red glittering packet that we mixed with water and sugar. I would watch as my mother would deftly line a cookie sheet with foil and gently cover the foil with a thin layer of Crisco oil. She wold then place the sticks straight and firm through  the apples.
                      Then the waiting began. My mother would slowly stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, I loved watching her and watching the mixture change color til it was a deep blood red. once it began to bubble slightly my most important job of the process began. I would run to the fridge and get my mom a glass of cold water. This was my mothers method instead of a candy thermometer. She would dip half a spoon full into the cold water: it would make a squiggly line shape and sink to the bottom. Then I would stick my fingers in the water(very hygienic I know!) and pull the candy out. We would both take a bite. If it was chewy like taffy it wasn't ready. More stirring, the water back to the fridge. Time would past, the water would be retrieved and then the process would be repeated. When the candy from the water was hard and cracked firmly between our teeth it was ready! My mother's slim graceful hands would quickly dip the dozen apples and place them on the cookie sheet before the candy cooled to much.

This was a tradition my mother carried on through my childhood and even my teen years when I was much to "old" for childish things. Since her death I've carried on the candy apple tradition. My apples have never been as perfect as hers =) Their often crooked, the sticks misplaced, or lacking a full coat of sugary glaze, but they always taste sweet and bring me even sweeter memories of my mother and Halloween.

Now here are some fun facts about Candy Apples!
Candy Apple

Candy apples (United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa: Toffee apples) are a common treat at Halloween because the holiday comes in the wake of the annual apple harvest. They are made by rolling whole apples in a sticky candy coating, and sometimes then rolling them in nuts or other small savories or confections, and allowing them to cool.

The most common "candy" is a hard coating of cooled sugar syrup, usually tinted red and sometimes flavored with cinnamon. Other variations include caramel apples, taffy apples and chocolate apples. The topping varies from place to place but almost always is served with a stick of sorts in the middle making them easier to eat.

Candy apple red inspired Joe Bailon to create an automobile paint of that color.



Jo Ann said...

Interesting review. I like caramel apples but my mom sometimes made them with the cinnamom red hots too.


mbreakfield said...

Great Halloween tradition. Wish I had one, now.

vvb32 reads said...

fun post! now i'm peckish for a candied apple - the caramel kind;-D


thanks for the comments :) i'm craving a candy apple too! Ill be making some soon