I’ve tried to be clear about my views on caramel apples. I don’t like them. They are good in concept, but fail in a practical world. Essentially, they are just a big, messy ball of sweet goodness hiding a crunchy piece of fruit that is perfectly fine all by itself. Apples are not meant to be eaten off of sticks especially when you cover them in caramel. To eat one, you have to contort your face in all kinds of weird ways just to get at it. Inevitably it falls off in your hand leaving you with a sticky face, messy hands and a deep dissatisfaction. I feel like Christy Brown when I’m trying to eat one and I probably look the same way (now there’s a topical reference for you). In any case, I just don’t get it. Sure, I know that they look cool. They look like you are about to eat the biggest piece of caramel you could ever imagine – it’s almost as big as your head. But then you find out the truth. It’s just an apple. It’s just an apple trying to be something it shouldn’t be.
I looked around the store to see if they had any actual caramel apples for sale. It was Halloween so it was actually the perfect timing to find a caramel apple in the store. I have vague memories of seeing them in the supermarket before so I went to Clements and wandered around the sections where I would imagine a caramel apple would be. Nothing. My back up plan was to hunt down the caramel apple making kits which meat buying apples, going home, melting the caramel, dipping the apples in, letting them set. This was also Halloween and Lola and I had four pumpkins to carve before nightfall which meant we only had about 45 minutes. Making my own caramel apples was not going to be easy given the time restraints. Then I looked at the area next to the caramel apple making kits and I saw a product called Marzetti Old Fashioned Caramel Dip. A whole cup of caramel waiting for fruit to be dipped in it. This was my answer. I picked it up, made my purchase and headed home. When I got home, I immediately cut an apple from our fridge into wedges and then started dunking them into the sweet, creamy sauce.
Compared to the typical caramel apple, this was an ideal solution. I could pick it up with my fingers and eat it civilly. I could control my caramel intake. It was less messy but all the same flavors. The caramel was nice and sweet. It was smooth and did not require any preparation. The apples were fresh and crisp. I used a Gala apple which seems to be our apple of choice in our house. They are a bit on the sweeter side so maybe a more tart apple would have worked better with the caramel, but it was still a good combo. I wouldn’t call it my favorite treat, but as a solution to my usual critique of a caramel apple, it was a good bite. It gave me the energy to carve those pumpkins.
We always end up saving our pumpkins for carving to the last minute. Maybe it’s bad planning or just tradition, but usually on any give Halloween late afternoon, Lola and I have knives and scoopers in hand and are gutting the pumpkins before us. I work a bit faster than Lola and because of that, I end up gutting all the pumpkins. I’m getting pretty quick at that. We didn’t do any fancy designs this year – just the traditional pumpkins with jagged smiles and triangle eyes. We got them out on our porch and lit just as dusk was falling into darkness. I usually decorate our house for Halloween and even though I didn’t go all out this year, we still had some fun little displays. We had the Barry Mellow hand-painted witch and Frankenstein cut-outs hanging on the house along with a few other cutesy pieces and some Halloween lights. For the more macabre decor, I had some creepy ghosts and ghouls scattered about that would move with the wind creating a creepy effect. We have one that hangs above our driveway that creeps Lola out every year especially because it essentially stares into our kitchen. Then I had a few dummies in strategic places made from old clothes stuffed with leaves and headed with some creepy masks. My favorite this year was making a little kid dummy right by the sewer drain on the street. It was dressed in a raincoat and I placed a creepy clown mask subtly hidden underneath the hood of the coat. Then I tied a big red balloon to the hand so it would look like the IT movie poster. I think I scare my neighbors sometimes.
As far as Halloweens go, this one seemed pretty low-keyed – not just at our house but just in general. Maybe it’s because it was a Tuesday or maybe because times are changing. Lola and I ordered pizza just to keep it simple. We had maybe five groups of people come to the door all night. The first group had a kid who took three or four monster handfuls of candy and almost wiped out half our supply all while the parents watched. The next group however was more fun (and respectful) and Lola chatted with them for about ten minutes. We like low key holidays in these parts, so I guess this made for a perfect Halloween. And a nice sweet one too, thanks in part to the sweet creamy taste of a caramel apple.
Next up: National Calzone Day