Where Did Candy Apples & Caramel Apples Come From?

For some, October 31st is Halloween. However, it’s also National Caramel Apple Day. The history of an apple covered in something delicious is a storied and far-reaching one.

Far and abroad, candied fruits date back to the middle of the 19th century. The Arabians would candy apples and other fruit in an effort to preserve them. Here in America, Gourmet Apples have a history that dates back to the early 1900s. Both were born of chance and a bit of luck. Though Candy Apples and Caramel Apples are similar in their looks, they each have a very distinct history between the two of them.

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About the Candy Apple

Candy apples were first mentioned in the Christmas 1917 issue of the BEF Times, but they were there long before that. Back then, they called them “toffee” apples. As we know them, Red Candy Apples were first cooked up by a candy maker that was trying something new. New Jersey resident William Kolb wanted to try something new for the Christmas season of 1908. He was trying to think of things to do with a red cinnamon candy that he was selling for the holidays. The idea to dip an apple into the red candy mixture is where the very first Candy Apple as we know it came from. Mr. Kolb wasn’t even trying to sell the apple. He was only trying to promote the cinnamon flavored candy it was coated in.

That Christmas, Red Candy Apples were sold in Mr. Kolb’s store for five cents apiece. Not long after that, the Candy Apple soared in popularity and he found himself selling thousands per year. After that holiday season, Candy Apples were sold up and down the east coast. They found their way from New Jersey, all the way down to Florida within less than a year. It wasn’t long before Candy Apples found their way into circuses and candy shops nationwide.

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Then Came the Caramel Apple…

The Caramel Apple came much later. Sometime in the 1950’s, a Kraft Foods employee discovered the recipe. That man went on to take credit for one of the most storied gourmet snacks the world has known since. His name was Dan Walker, and much like William Kolb, his discovery of the caramel apple recipe came by way of fluke accident. One holiday season, Mr. Walker was playing around with caramels that were left over from Halloween sales that same year. By just melting down the caramels he had to coat some apples, the caramel apple was born. The trend caught on much more quickly than with Candy Apples; the very first caramel apple machine was developed and patented in Illinois in 1960, and the rest is history.

Today, caramel apples and candy apples alike are enjoyed throughout the country, as well as the rest of the world. They’ve become a timelessly traditional treat, enjoyed on any given holiday or special occasion, and sometimes on days in-between. They can be enjoyed year-round, with family and friends, at parties, and as gifts to those you cherish.

…And So, the Gourmet Apple Was Born

Next time you’re enjoying one of our succulent, savory apples, perhaps a snippet of this story will pop into your head. Share the tale of the decorated apple with the woman or man that you love, or maybe even tell the kids about where it came from as you’re dicing up and dishing out slices for them. It’s a wonderful way to share a moment, as well as one of our delicious treats, with the ones you love.

Might we recommend the Snickerdoodle?