Wednesday, May 24, 2006

A Caramel Apple Life

I’m thinking that I should go into the caramel apple business. For years I have salivated every time I pass a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and see their decadent caramel apples in the window that have defied the traditions of the original caramel apple and transcended into the exquisitely gourmet. Caramel apples are no longer just about caramel and apples. They are about chocolate, coconut, toffee, nuts and any number of assorted toppings making them every dentist’s nightmare. Rocky Mountain should supply every purchaser of one of these treats with a complimentary package of floss. Maybe they should team up with Oral B or some other floss manufacturer. I realized last night that this is a very lucrative business and with a few practice rounds, I, too, could be selling my creations for $20 a piece. Goodbye day job. Hello kitchen play time.

About a month ago I got a craving for a caramel apple, and since I generally prefer to make things from scratch rather than buy them, I decided this was a perfect opportunity to get some of my favorite girlfriends together and have an experimental baking experience. Besides, why spend $20 for one caramel apple when I can spend $20 and make a dozen. My first attempt was not so bad. And I had a dental hygienist on hand just in case we loosened any teeth or needed flossing advice.

We had all the right toppings: toffee, peanuts, almonds, coconut, chocolate… and a whole pot of caramel. Since none of us had ever done this before, we just dove right in and made it work. After a few fumbled and messy attempts, we finally had a pretty good system worked out. By the end we had quite a few ooey-gooey creations that had all our mouths watering, so we took a couple of pictures to prove we had been successful and then began slicing them up for our eating enjoyment. They were amazingly wonderful and somehow by the sheer fact that there was an apple underneath all that sugary goodness, it made it seem like they were a semi-healthy snack. Fortunately for my waistline, I sent most of the remaining apples home with my friends.

I contemplated the process of making these apples, what worked, what could have been more efficient, and I realized that with a few more practice sessions I could almost perfect caramel apple making as yet another Nikki artform. And then I could start selling them for $20. I saw a website this morning that made gourmet caramel apples and the different combinations and flavors they had created. That’s when I thought to myself that I could do that. Because, really, given the time to perfect my skills, I guarantee that those apples would be no better than mine, and I can come up with some pretty fun, funky and mouth-watering creations. But then I thought about how half of the enjoyment of this experimental kitchen session was doing it with good friends who provided laughter, assistance and just all around good company. So unless all of my friends are willing to quit their day jobs to assist in this endeavor, I’m not sure it will be worth all the effort.

Perhaps it is best kept to the comforts of my kitchen amongst friends on a random occasion such as a Tuesday night at the end of May out of apple season. It is moments like these that I realize that I have been blessed with so many good friends with whom I enjoy life’s simple pleasures and experiences. And I see that so many of my fond memories are of experiences made out of curiosity and the desire to try something new. Apples are good all by themselves and often make my taste buds happy. Apples with caramel are better. And apples with caramel, chocolate and nuts are superior. Life makes me happy all by itself, but life with good friends is better. And life with good friends who laugh, entertain and help me make things happen is superior.

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