Halloween is certainly filled with various treats – from bite-size chocolates to spooky gummy sweets – confectionary companies like Haribo love to spook up their normal product by shaping them into ghosts and ghouls. While those are the packets children love to find in their trick-or-treat bags, there are several tasty treats that have been associated with Halloween for many years now.
One of those is the toffee apple – but how was the original toffee apple popularised so much that it’s now a much-loved Halloween treat? Well, we’re taking a step back to look at the invention of the first dipped-apple delight.
You may be surprised to find out that the idea sparking the toffee apple came from the American-made candy apple. The candy apple actually began as a Christmas treat when a sweet maker named William Kolb decided to drip his seasonal apples into melted cinnamon flavoured sugar. This was in order to make festive decorations for his shop’s window display back in 1908. While his display did attract customers, it wasn’t for his original stock, but was rather for the apples he had displayed in the window. Realising the opportunity before him, he increased production of the red candy apples and soon saw thousands flying off the shelves.
As the treat started off representing the warm red, you’d associate with Christmas, the ‘berry red’ colour soon become associated with a ‘blood red’. That, and the fact that apples actually come into season during the autumn, meant that it was only natural that the sweet treats become more of a Halloween sugar snack.
Even before William’s discovery, the Chinese were way ahead of trend. By taking the small bright hawthorn berries, that are similar to crab-apples, and dipping them into the melted sugar, the traditional Bing Tanghulu was made.
The treats were originally made for those with extreme wealth as, just like in ancient Europe, sugar was once very rare and expensive. This was before it became more common and commercialised.
While the candy apple’s popularity had taken off very quickly, it became inspiration for competing candy companies. The exact origin of the caramel apple is largely disputed between being first created by Kraft Food or Affy Tapple.
Kraft Food tells the tale of a worker melting down their chocolate treats to make a golden gooey coating for the apple back in the 1950’s. Although Affy Tapple claims they first created the product in 1948, they didn’t create the national buzz that their competitor did to market their overall claim on the treat.
It was when these sweet delights spread across the pond that the UK were inspired by the coated apples, soon making their own and renaming them ‘toffee apples. They became largely popular in Britain almost instantly, thus sparking a new traditional Halloween tradition.
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