Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory makes up batches of delicious treats

Published 10:47 am Friday, November 9, 2018

It has been said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.  So what better way to ward off illness than with the taste of a buttery sweet caramel apple? 

Caramel apples are favorites all year long at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory

However, when the leaves begin to drop and the first signs of fall can be felt in the air, TyAnn Ellis knows this is the season when their apple sales peak.

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“We sell a ton of apples all year long,” Ellis said, “But the fall season is actually considered ‘apple season,’ which means they are more crisp and juicy.”

Ellis and her husband, Brady, are the owners of the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, which is located at the Outlets at Vicksburg.

During the fall season, Ellis said she uses more than 400 apples weekly. And with a variety of 18 different caramel apples to choose from in addition to candy apples, it is no surprise the couple’s apple sales account for a third of their business.

“Our personal customer favorites are Snickers, Pecan Bear, Tiger Butter, Cheesecake and Strawberry Cheesecake, Ellis said.

Customized caramel apples are also offered by the locally owned franchise.

“We do a lot of custom apples as well, especially around holidays, and if someone is having a themed birthday party.”

Ellis said she has created Disney characters on the caramel apples, as well as Sponge Bob and Spider-man.

“We have also done a red cross for Nurses’ Appreciation Week, bride and groom caramel apples, and we have made a mummy apple and a spider apple,” she said.

Themed caramel apples are specialties provided by each franchise, Ellis said, since each owner has to come up with their own design. 

Green Granny Smith apples are used for both the caramel and candy apples made at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, but because the business is a franchise, Ellis said, recipes are top secret.

However, Ellis did say that from start to finish it takes two to three hours to make the caramel apples.

And once the caramel is ready for dipping, a helper is required.

“We have to hurry up and hand dip, because every second counts,” Ellis said, adding that her hands usually get tired after making 180 to 250 caramel apples at one time.

“Red candy apples are not as long of a process, she said, “But it does require cooking at a higher cooking temperature, which can cause some serious burns. We like to call them our battle wounds.”

The results, however, are well worth the effort for both kinds of apple treats.

“All said and done, I do have to say it is a rewarding seeing the same people come in for the weekly snack or hearing how amazing they are when they bite into them,” Ellis said.

Ellis revealed her personal favorites are the Snickers, Smore’s and apple pie caramel apples.

“I just can’t have one,” she said.

Ellis described the franchise’s secret caramel recipe used on the apples as unique.

“Our caramel apples have a soft caramel on them. It is not chewy or considered as a hard caramel,” she said.

So for those wearing braces, indulging in one of the treats might not cause alarm for orthodontists.

“We have many customers who come in and enjoy these treats with braces,” Ellis said.

The shelf life of a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory caramel apple, Ellis said, is anywhere from five to seven days.

“The Red Candy apples will last five days, she said, that is if they are not sliced.

“Once you cut them they will start to turn due to it being a fruit,” she said.

For more than a century, folks have been enjoying candied apples, while caramel apples came along less than 50 years later.

Ironically, both treats were invented after experiments were conducted using holiday candies.

In 1908, Newark, New Jersey candy maker William W. Kolb invented the red candy apple after experimenting with red cinnamon candy he was selling for Christmas.

And in 1950, Kraft Foods employee Dan Walker came up with the recipe for caramel apples by using excess caramels from Halloween sales.

According to, in 1960, Vito Raimondi is credited for inventing and patenting the first automated caramel apple-dipping machine with the help of his uncle. “Vito worked making caramel apples in his uncle William Raimondi’s candy shop,” the website stated, “Because hand-dipping caramel apples was tiring work.”

Ellis said they do not use any type of machinery in making their caramel apples.

“Everything is made from scratch, and we hand dip,” she said.

Ellis said the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory caramel and candy apples make great gifts, offering them in cello bags with a ribbon.

And to make sharing easier, Ellis said they will slice the apples into eight pieces.

“That is only if you want to share,” she said.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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