Strangely enough, I hated candy as a child. Chocolate, cakes, cookies... let me at 'em. But gummi anything, jelly beans, suckers, taffy, hard drops... I'd pass. The only exceptions I'd make were for honey-filled candy made by one of my mom's co-workers (who ran an apiary as a hobby!) and mellowcremes at Halloween. The texture and one-note sweetness of most candy available back then was boring, and if I was going to blow my allowance money (this was before calorie budgets became known to my young mind), it was going to be on a creamy, rich piece of chocolate.
I still don't love commercial candy (artisan or homemade caramels are delicious though), but I do love fruit roll-ups. Real fruit roll-ups, though, made of dehydrated fruit puree, maybe a spice or two and a drizzle of sweetening... nothing else. This version is probably the simplest of my batches this year, needing only apples, cinnamon, maple syrup and a pinch of smoked (or regular) salt. Homemade fruit roll-ups are a delicious, easy portable snack for everyone's lunchbox, and are doubly easy if you have a dehydrator and an offset palette knife. Of course, if you don't have a dehydrator and aren't in the market (granted, mine cost me $10 on Kijiji) a low oven is a viable substitute! I've given both sets of directions below so everyone can play with Nature's candy, adding a healthy, sweet treat to your family's routine.
Maple-Sweetened Apple Fruit Leather
Makes 1 cookie sheet, 10 rolls
8 medium apples (any kind, I used Wealthy and MacIntosh), peels left on, chopped roughly
3 tbsp maple syrup (I use Grade B for all my cooking (and most of my eating), since I like it's stronger flavour)
1 tbsp cinnamon
pinch smoked (or fine sea) salt