Candy vs. Caramel: Which Halloween Apple Reigns Supreme? [DEBATE]

Which Halloween Apple Reigns Supreme? [DEBATE]

With folks drawing lines in the sand before the upcoming election this November, it's important to know where you stand on some of the most important issues: the economy, foreign affairs, domestic affairs, and apples—caramel or candy apples, that is.

Yeah, so one of these things is not like the others (although I'll fight you if you say it's less important). While the presidential candidates didn't address caramel vs. candy at the debates, I'm sure they—as well as anyone on the planet—have a strong opinion about which is better.

The answer is obviously caramel, though, am I right?

Image by Ariane Hunter/Flickr

Well, before you bash me over the head with one of your rock-hard candy apples, let's figure out how we got here in the first place.

So What's the Story?

If we were to crown a winner based on history alone, then the candy apple (which is coated in a heated sugar mixture) would win by about 40 years: invented in 1908 by a candymaker named William Kolb, candy apples were sold for 5 cents and quickly became a staple at circuses and boardwalks nationwide.

Image by Miwok/Flickr

But if we were looking at which Halloween apple reigns supreme, then the caramel apple would be the legit victor: it was created by a Kraft Foods employee named Dan Walker in the 1950s as an experiment with leftover Halloween caramel candy. (Candy apples, on the other hand, were made with Christmas shoppers in mind.)

Image by Abi Porter/Flickr

Pretenders to the Throne

In recent years, apples have been dunked in all kinds of sweets and passed off as candy or caramel apples. So let me be clear: chocolate apples are not candy apples. Not even these adorable, holiday-appropriate apples from Disneyland.

Image by Loren Javier/Flickr

(Ugh, it hurts my heart to diss on these, but c'mon Disneyland!)

Also, the amount of crap that people pile on caramel or candy (or yes, chocolate) apples is getting ridiculous. I mean, look at this:

Where is the apple?! It's not even possible to eat it on a stick!

No, the true battle is between the OG apples, the only two that matter: candy (cinnamon-flavored and fire truck red-colored) and caramel (no nuts or candy on top, if you please).

Ready... Fight!

Both caramel and candy apples are excellent at the following:

  • causing your teeth to stick together (and subsequently giving you cavities)
  • satisfying your sweet tooth while being sort-of healthy?
  • offsetting the tartness of green apples with glorious, glorious sugar
  • looking adorable in shop windows come fall season
Image by m01229/Flickr

Lest I be accused of glossing over the less-than-preferable parts of eating these treats, though, let me say that there are definitely downsides to both. Candy apples run the very real risk of breaking your front teeth for the very first bite. (After that, however, you're golden!) And caramel apples make the entire bottom of your face—and subsequently anything that touches it—sticky as hell. So I guess you can base your preference of one because you can't stand the downside of the other.

But for me, my love of caramel apples comes from the heart: caramel is milky, silky, decadent, and the perfect pairing to the sharp profile of an apple. The candy apple may be the grandpappy of the caramel apple, but I think of the latter as the newer, improved version. The perfect evolution, if you will.

And it looks like the trend is turning toward my taste buds, too—it's become increasingly hard to find candy apples in stores, but caramel apples are a dime a dozen around this time of year. (I wish they literally cost a dime, though! Or maybe not—at least, maybe not for the sake of my dental health and my waistline.) From caramel apple pops to caramel apple vodka (why), I can get my fix in so many ways. Candy apple fans, not so much.

Maybe candy apples will make a triumphant comeback in the future—I mean, old trends inevitably get picked up by ironic hipsters, become a fringe trend, then become an overused, overpriced trend, right? (Still waiting for the pumpkin spice trend to follow this eventual procession, by the way.) Don't worry, candy apple lovers, your day will come. But right now, it's a caramel apple world and you're just living in it.

Okay, it's your turn to weigh in on this age-old debate. Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

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1 Comment

Candy, definitely. I only dig milky caramel whenever it's drowned out by other flavors, and it's too prominent on a caramel apple. My beard also does not like caramel apples.

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