On dark, frosty Halloween nights in the 70's, trick-or-treating on a quiet country road with interminably long stretches between houses, candy apples were the Holy Grail of treats. Discovering, through the trick-or-treating grapevine, that a particular house was giving out candy apples meant abandoning pre-determined routes and immediately charting a new course toward the coveted candy apples. Desperately hoping that there would be some left.
I, however, never understood this eagerness. I always hated candy apples. That glassy red coating. If my teeth were able to penetrate it at all, it was then almost impossible to chew. And painfully sweet. Which isn't a phrase I use often.
Of course, I never shared these opinions with my fellow trick-or-treaters. To have done so would have been Halloween blasphemy. I simply went along, feigning excitement, and secretly hoping that the candy apples might have run out by the time we arrived and been replaced by chocolate bars. Or chips. Even rockets, suckers, or molasses kisses would have been preferable.
Then, in the midst of the hysteria surrounding poisoned homemade treats, candy apples disappeared from treat bags and faded into memory.
They were still around, of course. At country fairs. In candy shops. Traditional red candy apples and their cousin, the caramel apple. And it was here that my anti-candy apple resolve began to crumble. Because I like caramel. I like it a lot. Here might be a version of the candy apple that I could enjoy.
So last year, deciding to make a batch of caramel apples, I went in search of a recipe I had seen in a magazine. It had looked appealing and involved a combination of caramel and marshmallows. Unable to find it, I relied on memory.
Apparently the recipe did not call for equal amounts of caramels and marshmallows. The resulting caramel apples were . . . edible. But chewy. Extremely chewy. And stretchy. I filed the incident under L for learning experience and moved on. And then last week, while searching for a completely unrelated recipe, I found it.
I immediately realized my error. One cup of marshmallows. Not one bag of marshmallows. Accurate measurements in hand, I set to work. The resulting caramel apples were . . . edible. But chewy. And stretchy. I made four. And we ate four. And then used the remaining mixture as fruit dip.
And now, I give up. I readily acknowledge that candy apples and I, regardless of the type, are simply unable to establish a bond. Obviously the candy apple gods have frowned upon me and are punishing me for the years of candy apple hatred that I've carried in my heart. Perhaps someday, when enough time has passed, I might appease them with an offering. Maybe some caramel apple dip. Some chewy, stretchy dip.