Halloween treats: How to make caramel apples & caramel popcorn
Two ever-popular treats come to mind on Halloween: caramel apples and caramel corn. These favorites are far more nutritious than the candy bars and bubble gum typically dropped in little goblins’ bags of goodies, and the kids love to help make them.
Not too many years ago, making caramel apples from fruit picked in the family orchard was an annual ritual looked forward to by everyone — grandparents, parents, uncles and children. Although times have changed, today, family orchards are few and far between — many “pick-your-own” orchards still dot the countryside. Most places welcome children and are open on weekends. The less adventuresome will find apple varieties now at their prime at farm stands and grocery stores.
Apples are an oral detergent and provide an assortment of nutrients. Choose apples that are unbruised, firm, clean and of good color for the variety. Store them in a cool place.
Before you dunk right in with your apples, here are a few caramel apple making hints:
- To remove the natural waxy coating, wash apples in a mild soap solution, then rinse and dry thoroughly.
- Allow apples to stand at room temperature before dipping.
- Although it takes longer (about an hour) to melt caramels in a double boiler, this melting method makes apple dipping easier. The heat surface is smaller than in a saucepan and the caramel level is deeper for dunking!
- And finally: After the caramel apples have cooled, store them in a cool dry place, but it’s not necessary to refrigerate.
Halloween treats: Recipe for caramel apples
49 caramel candies
2 tablespoons water
4-5 medium-sized apples, washed and dried
wooden sticks, such as popsicle sticks
Melt caramels with water in a covered double boiler or in a saucepan over low heat. Stir occasionally until sauce is smooth. Insert a wooden stick into stem end of each apple. Dip into hot caramel sauce; turn until coated. Scrape off excess from bottom of apples. Decorate with candy corn or roll in shredded coconut or chopped peanuts if desired. Place on greased waxed paper; chill until firm. Keep in cool place.
Halloween treats: Baked caramel popcorn recipe
Baked caramel corn is fairly foolproof and there are myriads of possibilities for varying the basic recipe. After baking the popcorn and before it cools completely, the kids can shape it into pumpkins or other fun figures. Add a cherry nose, a cranberry mouth, raisin eyes… use your imagination!
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 cup corn syrup
1 teaspoon salt
a teaspoon baking soda
l teaspoon vanilla
6 quarts popcorn, popped
Melt butter in 2-quart saucepan. Stir in sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in soda and vanilla.
Gradually pour over popped corn, mixing well. Turn into 2 large shallow baking pans. Bake in 250 degree oven 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cool completely. Break apart. Store in tightly covered containers. Makes about 5 quarts.