Requiem for the taffy apple/The taffy apple manifesto

Okay, I get it. I get that my generation and the ones we spawned are populated by spoiled, egotistical idiots who made a lot of money way too easily and would spend any amount of that easy money to indulge themselves in ever-bigger and more lavish nonsense. But y’know what? There’s got to be a line in the sand, and for me that’s the taffy apple.

Quit fucking with the taffy apple!

I’m serious here.  It’s bad enough that when I find a good taffy apple for $10 or less I feel like I’ve found some kind of ginormous bargain.  What is up with these prices?  What can an apple cost?  Or sugar, assuming you’re not cutting corners and using high fructose corn syrup? Or those little wooden sticks?  And even if they’re dipped/drizzled/drywalled in chocolate, what can that cost?  Right, that’s what I mean.  What justifies a median price of about $11 an apple?  I’m eating an organic honeycrisp right now that is over a pound and I only paid $2 for it.  I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that if I’d bought them by the bushel instead the pair, I’d have gotten a substantially better per apple price.  And honestly, I don’t need a 1 lb+ taffy apple, folks.  Five or six ounces would be sufficient.  I know, I know… I’m a traitor to Americans everywhere and the credo that if something is good, a bigger something will be better.  Especially if it costs more.  And if it’s covered with sugary fribble.  Because even the price isn’t as bad as the fact that I cannot seem to find a caramel dipped apple rolled in walnuts, pecans or even peanuts without it being covered in chocolate, chocolate chips, hunks of toffee, marshmallows, white icing, coconut, Snickers bars,  and M&Ms.  I don’t even know why they’re bothering with the apple at this point except maybe so that some people can convince themselves that it’s healthy.   Jeez, even Affy Tapple — a Chicagoland-based taffy apple producer, btw — has succumbed and started selling apples with (ugh) candy sprinkles.  n.b.,  I actually applaud Affy Tapple for staying reasonably sized and priced, and would buy them more often if it wasn’t for the fact that their apples are often bruised and occasionally mealy.

No, the real problem is the fact that plain old taffy apples are Just Not Good Enough these days.  They have to be mutant apples, the size of  basketballs and loaded with a whole candy store’s worth of sugary fribble.  And I hate that.  I just hate it.  See, taffy apples were part of fall for me.  It starts getting cold, the leaves start turning, and I think of things like apples and pumpkins and Halloween, and oooh, taffy apples which you get sometimes in your trick or treat bag if you’re lucky enough to hit up some cool person who knows that candy corn and those peanut-butter-flavored hunks of road goo in the black and orange wax paper wrappers just don’t cut it.  Real, honest-to-god crisp, juicy taffy apples, coated with a not-too-sweet caramel, and maybe rolled in salted nuts.  An apple that’s not so big that you feel like you really should share it with fifteen of your closest friends.

Those days are pretty much gone, I fear.  I just googled on taffy/caramel apples and the results were disheartening.  Amy’s apples, once so reliable, if rather pricey, seems to offer nothing but apples with troweled-on candy bars at an average price of $12 each.  And Mrs. Prindable sticks a blue ribbon on their apples and charges almost double that.  (They stick a tiny, cheap stuffed toy on top of the ribbon and charge $30 for it.  Is there freakin’ gold under that chocolate layer??)

I am declaring my independence from the commercial taffy apple.  I will buy apples and sticks and nuts and caramel and make my own.  I will make reasonably sized apples.  I will not glue whole York peppermint patties to them with melted chocolate.  And if I ever buy a taffy apple in a store, it’ll be because 1) It’s reasonably priced and 2) It’s exactly the kind I want.

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5 thoughts on “Requiem for the taffy apple/The taffy apple manifesto

  1. Homemade is the way to go – the ones they sell are RIDICULOUS!

    (though I had to check myself an make sure you were referring to the caramel ones – when I think of taffy apples, I think of the ones with the red coating, which I cannot do. we want to take n to an orchard this fall; I suspect I will insist that we make at least a couple of candied (in whatever) apples. Mmm.

    (and more applesauce, which we did with vanilla bean and cinnamon last time, and is DELICIOUS.)

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    1. I should stock up on apples and make some applesauce.

      I don’t do the red-coated ones either. I want caramel. Here in the midwest that’s virtually the only sort of candy apple we ever have.

      Okay, going off to order taffy apple fixins…

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  2. For me, caramel apples are county fair food, more late summer than fall. There they seem to still only sell plain and peanut caramel apples of normal sizes, and they run around $3 or $4. I know the Fudge place at the mall sells the big giant loaded scary ones, but they sell plainer ones too.

    I think the price of the loaded scary ones probably reflects the fact that there’s not a machine to make them, they’re pretty labor intensive. And the fact that there are, frighteningly, people who will pay $12 for an apple dipped in so much stuff as to be the size of your head. (Hey, at least the Fudge place will slice it up for you… *heh*)

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    1. Oh man, I love good fudge, too.

      Yeah, I get labor intensive, but so are a lot of other things where the cost per unit doesn’t seem so outrageous. Still, I guess it’s what the market will bear. And what people will eat, too. It reminds me of how everyone seems to be competing to make the hottest food or the most ‘loaded’ whatever. Glinda and I just watched Man vs Food which is amusing because Adam Richmond doesn’t take it too seriously. But some of those challenges are just ridiculous.

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  3. When I lived in Rogers Park, we used to go to the Affy Tapple factory on Clark St. and buy seconds for about 25 cents each, with or without nuts. On their fundraising page, I see that they now sell (presumably first quality) a case of 24 taffy apples for $16.95. The Affy Tapple factory and factory store are now in Niles. Maybe worth a trip someday.

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