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A caramel apple, called a toffee apple in the United Kingdom and Canada, is a sugary treat created by rolling or dipping a fresh apple in caramel. Impaled on sticks, caramel apples are often rolled in nuts or confections as well. Once the apples are sufficiently coated, they are allowed to cool before consumption.
Caramel apples are popular treats at festivals and fairs, and they are commonly found in boardwalk stores in popular beach-vacation towns. They enjoy the highest level of popularity during the fall months, as this time coincides with yearly apple harvesting.
In the past, caramel apples were commonly given out to trick-or-treaters at Halloween. Candy apples were given to trick-or-treaters as well. Unfortunately, issues of candy tampering gradually led to the discontinuation of this practice. However, the caramel apple is still widely loved. In fact, many supermarkets carry caramel apples during the fall, and some people choose to make their own at home.
A sales representative for Kraft Foods, named Dan Walker, is credited with inventing the caramel apple in the 1950s. It is worth noting that while Dan Walker is usually credited with inventing the caramel apple, some sources suggest that he did not invent it, but instead contributed to its marketing. The candy apple, on the other hand, may have been invented in the early 1900s. However, no one knows for sure when it was invented and by whom. Caramel has been around since the early 18th century.
A caramel apple is typically served with a stick through its middle, making it easier to hold onto and eat. Though any type of apple can be used in creating this tasty treat, most people use Macintosh or Granny Smith apples. With Granny Smith apples, the tartness is said to create a desirable contrast with the sweet caramel coating. Some people have used other apples and found them to be too sweet when combined with caramel.
Making your own caramel apples at home is typically very easy, as it only requires warming the caramel and dipping your apples in. The most difficult part of this process may be getting the apples to stay on their sticks. Caramel apple kits can typically be found in most grocery stores, making it possible to make this treat at home with little preparation in advance. These kits usually contain the sticks and caramel required. All you need to add is the apples.
I like to use a good, tart apple, like a Granny Smith, for my caramel apples. The tartness of the apple cuts through the rich sweetness of the caramel and also, the Granny Smith is crisp and has a great "bite." A Jonathan might also be a good choice, since they have a tartness and crispness, as well. But they are sweeter than the Granny Smith, if a slightly sweeter apple is preferred.
The folks at Harry and David have a caramel apple flavored Moose Munch which is absolutely delicious, and as satisfying as the original treat. Someone sent me some for Christmas. It was wonderful.
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