Sunday, October 5, 2008

Caramel Apple Love

One of my favorite fall traditions is making caramel apples for the people I love. My sweet Grandma Wirthlin used to make them for everyone in the family--her children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. I am sure she was making over a hundred in her later years. She would put the apples in a cupcake paper and inevitably the caramel would stick to the paper. That wouldn't deter us from licking the papers until every bit of goodness was gone and we'd have sticky caramel all over our chins and noses.

This is me with my Grandma and Mom at a Relief Society Enrichment activity in 2001.

My grandma passed away a little over two years ago and we miss her so much. She was an amazing woman--I don't think I ever heard her say an unkind thing about anyone. When she met someone new she'd always say, "I'm glad to know you" and she meant it. She had class and grace and style and her testimony of the gospel was unshakable. She stayed active all of her life, walking and playing tennis. She was inspired often and always acted on her inspiration, blessing the lives of everyone around her. She just seemed to know when people needed something. I remember her telling me when I was home from my mission and didn't have any marriage prospects (or dates for that matter!) that she had put my name on the temple roll in the Philippines because the people there had the most faith of anyone in the world. She was sure someone would come into my life, and she was right. Shortly after, Ryan and I met again. When she died I didn't know how the world could possibly keep functioning without Grandma Wirthlin--but I feel like when I make caramel apples I am close to her again and I can bring back some of the warm feelings of love that she shared with so many.
This year I got to teach the Beehives (the 12 and 13 year old young women from our church) how to make caramel apples. It was such a fun activity and I loved sharing with these cute girls something that brings so many warm memories for me.

The recipe I use for caramel apples is my standard caramel recipe (for caramels at Christmas time, caramel popcorn, caramel and chocolate dipped pretzels, turtles, etc.). Here it is:

Caramel Apples

1/2 cup butter (1 cube)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup light corn syrup
2 cups brown sugar
12-15 large or 24 small apples--washed and dried, with wooden sticks in the center

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add sweetened condensed milk and corn syrup and stir. Stir in brown sugar and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to medium-low. Boil until caramel reaches a soft ball stage (holds its shape when drizzled into a half-cup of cold water). Remove from heat and let cool for one to two minutes, then dip apples one by one in the caramel, using a spoon to make sure apples are covered. Let the extra drip back into the pan. Place on a cookie sheet or in a foil cupcake tin, sprayed with Pam. Let cool thoroughly before eating or putting in a cellophane bag.

**What are your favorite fall traditions?


Sally said...

I LOVE CARAMEL APPLES! I always buy them at fairs, and circuses, and fall festivals and such. I don't want them cut for me, even though that would be a more civilized way of eating them. I don't even like other things on them, like chocolate. I just like tons and tons of caramel. Just the other day I was looking for a recipe for ones made with REAL caramel, not the wrapped ones, and I couldn't find one. (Didn't look incredibly hard, I guess.) I will be sure to use yours. Your grandma sounds precious. What a cute face she has!

Nicole said...

yum!!! I will have to try that recipe. I should probably spring for a candy thermometer guestimating never seems to have good results! :)

Amanda D said...

What a great post! Very well written. Cute recipe cards. I don't know if my kids have ever had a caramel apple so I am going to have to try this recipe. Thanks!

Daniel, Lyndsie and Makai said...

Oh Man, I love caramel apples! They are the best. I'm going to have to try that recipe. That was a sweet little post about your grandma. I too get to teach the Beehives. Aren't they fun? So much energy!

the harpers said...

We too love caramel apples. We just made a batch a couple of weeks ago. Here is a little tip: If the apples sit a day or two (keep in the fridge to keep the apples crisp) when you are ready to enjoy again...microwave them for about 45 seconds and they are yummy!! I loved the post about your Grandma. You serve her well.

Kristy said...

I remember getting one of those tastey carmel apples! Thanks for sharing a little bit of your grandma with us!

RyanH said...

I know I've certainly been the beneficiary in this tradition... Mmm mMmmMmMmmm

gab said...

Mmmmm. I will definitely try this recipe. My kids have a day off tomorrow. Maybe we'll do it! Thanks for the suggestion.