Cinnamon Candy Apples
Yesterday as I was thinking about the joys of playing in the leaves I was also reminded of other fall childhood memories. One of the first of these was of cinnamon candy apples. I grew up in a small town in upstate New York (and I do mean "upstate" because my home town was over two hundred miles north of the city). While we did have several large grocery chain stores in town, there was for many years a little old style grocery, too, that was a bit of a time warp even in those days as it had the butcher area in the back complete with sawdust on the floor; there were barrels of things like dry beans, huge wheels of cheese, penny candy, and shelves behind the check out counter from which the store keeper would pull down other items that the customer needed, like boxes of laundry soap. My family seldom shopped there, but I remember each fall waiting with great anticipation when they would start selling their homemade cinnamon candy apples. These MacIntosh apples were covered with a bright red cinnamon candy coating that was absolutely amazing. They were displayed on a large tray covered with waxed paper and were not individually wrapped, something that certainly could not or would not happen today. I think they cost about 50 cents apiece, which because I only received twenty-five cents a week for an allowance, was almost an exorbitant price. But I didn't care. They were worth every penny...and every bite. I could make one last for a good part of the day, as each apple was pretty large. I think that the store only made up one large batch a year, so their availability was limited and I was usually able to only buy one cinnamon candy apple a year. Sometimes the candy coating would crack off the apple in pieces, but those shards of candy were never wasted, unless, sadly, they fell on the ground. One year I remember being able to buy my coveted candy apple shortly after they were put on display in the store window and the coating was still a little warm, even though it was brittle. It was impossible to eat one and not have the corners of your mouth and a few fingers get sticky. A few times over the years I have found and bought cinnamon candy apples elsewhere, but they weren't very "cinnamony" and the apples themselves were not as good as the sweet and juicy New York State Macintosh ones. Such happy memories of a time when things seemed less complicated.