History Of Caramel And Candy Apples

History of Caramel and Candy Apples

There’s nothing like a delicious candy or caramel apple in the fall! These sweet and fruity treats have become a staple of autumn cuisine, and are a popular fair and circus food. Have you ever wondered how they came about? Read on to find out!


Some say that candy apples can be traced back to Arabian markets, where a hard coating was placed on apples to help preserve them. But the widely-held theory is that candy apples were first created in 1908, purely by accident. A candy-maker named William Kolb, who lived in Newark, New Jersey, was experimenting with a red cinnamon candy for Christmas. He had melted it down, and tried dipping some apples into the mixture. He put them in his shop window and sold them for 5 cents each. Soon they were a big hit, being sold at fairs, circuses and other candy shops.


Caramel apples were created a number of years later, in the 1950s. A Kraft Foods employee named Dan Walker was also experimenting with candy around the holiday season. He melted down extra caramels leftover from Halloween, then added apples. They too became a popular sweet treat, being sold around the fall/Halloween season.

Though they were originally dipped by hand, a candy maker named Vito Raimondi made the first “caramel apple dipping machine” in Chicago, Illinois, in 1960. This greatly revolutionized the caramel apple world, since it made the process automated and much more efficient.

While candy and caramel apples are similar, they aren’t the same thing. Here’s a handy cheat sheet:


• “Candy apples” are covered in a hard, cinnamon-flavored sugar or toffee coating. As such, they are often called “toffee apples” in countries outside of North America.
• “Caramel apples” are only covered in caramel—once you add nuts or sprinkles or another treat to the layer of caramel, it’s technically called a “taffy apple.”
• “Chocolate apples” can refer to either apples dipped in plain chocolate or chocolate-covered caramel apples
• “Jelly apples” are covered in a softer, cherry-flavored candy coating, and are primarily sold at Coney Island in New York City.

Did you know?

The most common type of apple used for candy and caramel apples are Granny Smith or Fuji apples, because they are tart and crisp. Softer, sweeter apples are sometimes used, but not preferred, since the apple will have an already-sweet coating.


The bright red color of candy apples has earned it its own color title, “Candy Apple Red,” with a Hex code of #FF0800. The color is very popular and is used in everything from nail polish to hair color to cars. When it comes to automobiles, “candy apple red” not only refers to the color, but also the specific paint process that is used to achieve the color—a highly reflective metallic paint is applied first, to reflect as much light as possible, with a transparent candy apple red color painted on top of the metallic paint. Many layers are required to get the depth of color, but the end result is stunning.

One of the reasons why candy and caramel apples are popular in the fall is purely out of necessity—the cooler autumn air makes it easier for the coating to set, as the humid air of the summer leaves the coating too sticky. Plus, most apples are at the peak of their season in the fall.

In the United States, National Caramel Apple Day and National Candy Apple Day are both celebrated on October 31st.

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