Apple Tree Chocolate
Shadow: Scotty Jackson
Job: Founder of Apple Tree Chocolate
While in Norman, Oklahoma, I got to shadow the sweetest job in town! Scotty and wife, Ashley Jackson, opened up a candy store called Apple Tree Chocolate close to their Alma Mata, the University of Oklahoma. This is the place where they met, the place where they got engaged, and the place where she became the apple of his eye. It’s no wonder they decided to plant their roots here.
Scotty went from serving drinks at a bar to serving candy bars after graduating from college. While with Ashley, the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. Her family owns a few candy shops in Louisiana, Alabama and Texas. They were able to help give advice on how to start a candy business but one thing they did not give were their recipes!
“You’ve got to sometimes take a step even if you can’t see where you are walking, because things are going to change, ideas are going to change, peoples opinions are going to change.” ~ Scotty Jackson
All of the sweet treats in Apple Tree Chocolate are a specialty to their store. When Scotty and Ashley first opened their doors, the cases were not even half full. They barely had a menu together, but decided to roll it out anyway. Now they have come up with over 250 items that people can choose from daily. Ninety percent of their selection is set but often they will let customers try new creations and decide if the sweet treat should be added to their assortment.
Apple Tree Chocolate differentiates not only in quantity but also in quality. Most of their products are made completely from scratch. My favorites included their homemade Oreos, homemade caramel, and homemade Rice Crispi’s, which are made from their own… you guessed it, homemade marshmallows! By having control over the ingredients, they are able to ensure customers are getting the very best with no preservatives being added.
I was able to see this first hand as I helped make some of the stores treats. It was incredible to observe the attention to detail and thoughtfulness that goes into making each item. You can tell that at the core of Apple Tree Chocolate are people who deeply care about making people’s days more enjoyable.
I then got to see the fruition of our work when we served the customers their selected items. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a smile break across a persons face as we handed them their dessert. Their reactions perfectly depicted a kid in a candy shop, regardless of their actual age.
My time at the Apple Tree Chocolate was an absolute treat. If you find yourself in Oklahoma go visit the store under the Big Red Apple. There is no wonder it has won the title of Best Chocolate in Norman every year since it has been open. It’s an all around delightful experience!
How to Make Homemade Caramel Apples:
- 10 large green apples (Granny Smith’s)
- 12 wooden craft sticks
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 ¾ cups heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 3/4 cup light corn syrup
- Boil water and vinegar.
- Drop apples in for two seconds to get the wax off the apple.
- Let apples dry completely.
- Insert craft sticks into the stem side of each apple.
- Place a piece of parchment or wax paper on counter to set apples.
- Melt butter over low heat in a medium size sauce pan.
- Add and mix brown sugar, corn syrup and heavy cream.
- Cook and stir while scraping the side of the pan constantly.
- Leave on high heat until brought to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium with a moderate boil.
- Continue to stir constantly while scraping the sides of the pan.
- After 30 minutes, remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.
- Let the caramel sit for about 5 minutes.
- Dip each apple in the caramel until completely coated.
- Pull up out of the pan and let the excess caramel drip back into pan.
- Quickly set on the parchment paper.
- Continue with each apple.
- If you want to add additional toppings like nuts, chocolate chips, or graham cracker crumbs do that right after dipping in the caramel.
- Let the apples sit until completely cooled and hardened. About 45 minutes.
- Eat caramel apple either cut up or whole!
Tips of the Trade:
“Failures help to make sure you plan better.” ~ Scotty Jackson
“When you have a thought it’s just a thought. When you put it on paper it becomes a plan. Putting stuff in writing helped me alleviate a lot of stress.” ~ Scotty Jackson
“Giving yourself a time frame in order to get things done and prioritizing are a lot of things that helped me get through the really tough times. That and my lovely wife.” ~ Scotty Jackson
You can’t expect to have something perfect, you have to put yourself out there and be ok with having a bad review or having someone be critical of you. It doesn’t mean it’s always going to be like that.” ~ Scotty Jackson
“The more things that we can make that are our ingredients for our products, the more control we have and the higher quality we make them.” ~ Scotty Jackson