Dear Caramel Apples: You are dead to me.
This story is to share my humiliation with the world over my big failure in the kitchen last weekend (lest it thinks I am all good ideas and smooth successes - 'cause that's just not true!).
Making Caramel Apples seems easy.
Remember a few years ago I made GIANT sized ones for CC's baby shower as favors, carefully making the caramel from scratch in huge quantities, dipping the caramel apples in dark chocolate and rolling them in nuts too? They were heavenly. (Were we friends yet back then?) And though I documented every detail of that process, I've been trying to recreate that success ever since. See how I even wrote the process out on graph paper? That's because it was a science to me and I sorta think I'm a scientist. Sometimes.
I've tried - Lord knows! - to make my own caramel probably three other times since then, and all attempts have resulted in caramel that's either too thin and slides right off the apples (not boiled long enough), or too thick, which won't cover properly at all, and yields like 3 total because it's so gummy (boiled too much). It's so frustrating, and makes me want to break the candy thermometer over my knee.
We even picked our own apples this year. I purposefully chose smallish ones, so the caramel would cover lots of them (and I could eat more than one a day). Look, aren't they so pretty already?
They look like delicious treats, right?
Wrong. Disaster. Crappy sucky disaster that wasted my good hand-picked apples.
Problem #1. Wax paper stuck to all the bottoms. I had to rip them off. Why didn't I just put them directly on the dang tray?! So I took a knife and sawed off the bottoms of a few, which were then dipped in chocolate to hide the apple disfiguration. But I didn't have much chocolate.
Problem #2. Re-melting caramels makes the substance as edible as if I were to wrap an apple with a piece of leather. No kidding. Since I've made caramel before, I know how heat sensitive it is, and heating that sugary delight past it's point of caramely goodness leads to leathery disaster. Even if we just cut slices off the sides of the apples to avoid the paper bottoms, which we did, none of us could eat the caramel, it was so tough! It was the same consistency as Abba-Zabba. Like it wants to pull out my teeth if I'm not careful. So basically, what I had to show for my time was this:
Problem #3. Wiener dogs who get up in the middle of the night, sneak into the kitchen, and tug on the tablecloth with their teeth until all the apples come crashing down to the floor so he can eat one. Caramel stickiness everywhere.
In summary, Caramel Apples, you are dead to me.
$8 for a giant, beautiful one at the candy store suddenly doesn't sound so ridiculous.
Labels: our creations