Who can be credited with the invention of the caramel apple? Some say it was a sales representative for the Kraft corporation in the 1950's. However, there is evidence to suggest that the roots of this delicious treat date much further back. From basic home made examples to expensive gourmet indulgences, the caramel apple is a tasty and perennial favorite.
Exactly who can take credit for originally coming up with the idea of combining tart apples with sweet and chewy caramel is unclear. Recipes for caramel candy date all the way back to the early 1700s. Caramels were first mass produced and marketed to the public in the late 1800s. Dipping apples in melted caramel is believed to have become popular at around the same time.
Dan Walker, a 1950s sales representative for Kraft, came up with the bright idea of printing caramel apple recipes on bags of Kraft individually wrapped caramels. Thanks to Walker's ingenious marketing ploy, sales of Kraft caramels exploded, and homemade caramel apples started popping up in kitchens all across the country. Families would insert a wooden stick, often supplied in bags of caramels, into the center of the apple. This stick could then be used to dip the apple into the melted caramel.
Caramel apples have become a traditional autumn favorite and are particularly popular at Halloween parties. At one time caramel apples--along with candy apples and popcorn balls--were highly coveted by trick-or-treaters. Unfortunately, rumors were circulated in the 1960s of sadistic individuals placing pins, razor blades and other sharp objects into these homemade goodies. Some allegedly attempted to hand them out to innocent children. Real or rumor, children were urged by their parents to refuse any homemade Halloween treats.
Today's caramel apple recipes will often call for ingredients beyond just apples and caramel. Chocolate drizzle, sea salt, marshmallows, pecans, peanut butter, trail mix, and even bourbon are featured variations from the traditional apple and caramel combination. Regardless of the recipe, tart apples such as Granny Smith or McIntosh are believed to be the best choice for creating delicious caramel apples.
Gourmet caramel apples that weigh in at a pound and a half each--and sell for upwards of $15 per apple--have taken this homespun dessert decidedly upscale. Variations of the gourmet caramel apple include the Reese's Pieces, Butter Pecan, Oreo, Cashew Turtle, Macadamia Coconut, Peanut Butter Chip, and White Chocolate caramel apple.
In 1995, the Tootsie Roll company began marketing the caramel apple sucker. Made of two layers, the inside of the sucker consists of a tasty green apple flavored candy. This is covered with a layer of soft caramel creating a yummy approximation of the popular seasonal treat.
The History of Caramel Candy
Caramel candies are light brown sweets made from sugar, milk, corn syrup and fat. Caramels are made by adding milk and fat...
How to Make Homemade Gourmet Caramel Apples
Simple step-by-step instructions for making caramel apples. Includes ideas for decorating apples, too.
How to Make Caramel Apples
One of the easiest ways to make caramel apples is to simply dip apples in melted caramels. Follow these simple steps to...
Preserving Caramel Apples
Caramel apples are a Halloween staple. These treats combine healthy apples with the sugary goodness of caramel, some with nuts and chocolate...