and with it brings the sting of fresh air through your nostrils, both bright and subdued oranges, reds and greens, and one of my very favorite autumn treats, Candied Apples!
When I was in Elementary school in the 1960′s, my Mother belonged to the Booster Club. She and several other parents would come up with fun and unique ways to earn money to help pay for school activities, sports equipment and field trips for their kids.
When the football season began, our kitchen was like Santa’s workshop; except the only elf there was my mother. Every surface of our kitchen was covered with buttered wax paper, and every burner was bubbling away with molten pots of glistening red candy apple sugar syrup.
The smell was intoxicating and you could practically feel the humidity from the vapor escaping from the tops of the syrup. My Mom used a simple boxed mix
which she added water and sugar to, but her secret to their incredible flavor was cinnamon…and lots of it. I helped her place the sticks in the apples (which she got from a local cider mill called Hollenbecks). She must have had several bushels of apples.
We washed all of the apples and dried them by hand, making sure they were really shiny and free of any smudges or dust. Each box of candied apple mix came with a dozen or so wooden popsicle sticks. I remember that after a while my hands hurt from pushing the sticks into the apples.
One by one she would dip the apples into the molten sugar, gently twisting the stick to create a ribbon of sugar that would fall back on itself,
and then she placed them on the buttered wax paper. I was always impressed with the perfect candy “foot” they had on the bottom of each and every one. Each pool beneath each apple was exactly the same.
Sometimes in anticipation I would ask her when we were making them, and sometimes she would tell me it was far too humid and we would have to postpone some apple-dipping days until the air was crisp. High humidity in the air makes very sticky apples and the syrup never really comes to the hard crack stage.
We were a family of five so we all pitched in when it came time to load up the car. My Mother would find several shallow box tops, line them with the buttered wax paper, and then place all of the apples inside of the boxes. Every space was filled with the apples, including the front and back seats and the floors.
I honestly can’t remember what she charged for them but I was always amazed at the line of people who would gather at the back of our car to snag those apples. We ran out quickly and they were all the rage. She made Caramel apples too,
but not as many…they had to be chilled http://www.amazon.com/425-Dubble-Bubble-Cinnamon-Balls/dp/B002AQX6JE dipping and I remember we had a rather small refrigerator.
When reminiscing about them recently, I wondered how I could create them in a tiny version…the smallest apples I could find were lady apples, but they still seemed to large for my Vintage Bakeshop!
So one day while in my Bakeshop I noticed a glass jar that was filled with gumballs…and there they were! Two sizes or multicolored gumballs
that I used for a centerpiece for an event that I had recently hosted. And they just so happened to be green apple flavored gumballs. I was so excited that I couldn’t WAIT to do this post!
I went online and found some red cinnamon flavored gumballs
and went straight to work on them.
For these Miniature Candied apples, I used some small wooden craft sticks
which I measured, marked with a pencil and then cut with a Exacto knife to the correct length.
Then I used one of those corn-cob holders to make a hole in each gumball. I inserted the wooden sticks
, and placed the green gumballs in the refrigerator to use for the caramel apples. The cinnamon ones were left at room temperature while I mixed together the rest of the ingredients.
Although my mother used ground cinnamon in her mixture, I tired it and realized the oils from the cinnamon made it more difficult to achieve a bright red and also added gumminess to the candy apples. So I would recommend using a few drops or Loran cinnamon oil in place of the ground cinnamon. It’s very strong so you only need a little.
I don’t suggest doing this with small children. I will never forget that the first time I saw my mother make these, she told me NOT to touch the syrup..well…I could not resist the allure of that bright red syrup, bubbling away. When she turned her head, I stuck my finger in the pot ( I KNOW!). My poor finger was circumscised from the syrup. the skin blistered and rubbed off like melted saran wrap and the pain was excrutiating !
Even though I am older and wiser, I am still drawn to the syrup…I just know better than to touch it until it’s set on the apple.
This experience is right up there with licking the metal monkey bars at school, or the freezer door ( both of which I also tried). Why twice? WHO knows, I guess I thought it wouldn’t happen a second time. And again there was the allure of the glistening frost. Now I just stick my tongue in a snowbank, of course…. I DO check for yellow snow first.
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