I love everything about the Fall—the drop in temperatures, the packing away of shorts and t-shirts and the unpacking of sweaters and knee socks, the fireworks show put on by maple trees before they drop their leaves, even the greying of the skies and the inward turning of my thoughts. And of course, I love the Fall seasonal food items and flavors that make an appearance at every bakery, coffee, and sweets shop.
Back when I was working on my recipes to turn in for approval for my Cottage Food permit, I went through a number of ideas for my Fall seasonal chocolates. Pumpkin was number one on my list, but I just couldn’t seem to pull off an all-natural pumpkin confection that I liked. The pumpkin flavor was either too subtle or contained too much moisture to qualify as a shelf-stable item without refrigeration. I was a little crushed about not being able to join the ranks of those offering a pumpkin product of some sort. But then I cooked up my first test batch of apple caramels.
It was love at first bite. The apple caramel was sweet and tart all at once, with cinnamon gracing the stage but never loud enough to steal the show from the apple. As I tend to do with my caramels, I made them on the firm side.
Caramels can range all over the place in consistency. There are caramels as soft as a perfect avocado, and then there are mine. Chewy and firm. I prefer them this way because I like how it takes longer to eat them, letting you savor them for all they’re worth. And personally, I enjoy having to work at a blob of caramel off the sides of my teeth with my tongue. The best part is knowing that the sticky patch will surrender and dissolve away, unlike a bit of spinach.
Satisfied with my apple caramel, I then had to come up with a second seasonal item. I really had my heart set on a truffle. But which flavor? I took a stab at a maple truffle. My first test batch showed enough promise to venture a second test batch. With some tweaks and adjustments along the way and about five test batches later, I’d come up with my second Fall seasonal item—a Maple-Molasses Truffle, dipped in dark chocolate.
And with that, my pumpkin heartache had become just another entry in my ongoing diary of kitchen adventures.
Little Dipper Confections’ Maple-Molasses Truffles and Bobbin’ For Apple Caramels will be available from September 1 through November 30. I hope they put you in the Fall spirit.