Yield: 10 apples.

10 medium tart apples, washed and dried
10 Popsicle or craft sticks (found at craft stores)
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup salted peanuts, chopped
1 teaspoon coarse salt (optional)
Special tools: Candy thermometer

Remove stems from apples. Insert sticks into apples. Place apples in freezer while the caramel is being made.

In a large, heavy saucepan, melt butter; add the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil, about 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in milk. Cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 248°. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla.

Dip each apple into hot caramel mixture; turn to coat. Dip bottom of apples into peanuts. Sprinkle apples with coarse salt (optional). Place on parchment paper until set. Keep caramel apples in refrigerator until ready to serve.

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Lynn Wells is a personal chef with more than 20 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and a degree in Nutrition Management from UNCG.

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