2 cups nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts (optional)
6 small Granny Smith or other firm apples (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 Cup sugar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
If the caramel becomes too stiff to coat the apples, rewarm it slightly over medium heat until it softens. In place of store bought dowels, you can gather twigs that are about six inches long to use for the handles.
1. If using nuts, preheat oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a bowl to cool. If using hazel nuts, rub them while warm in a clean kitchen towel to remove skins. Roughly chop the nuts, and set aside.
2. Carefully wash and dry twigs, if using. Insert a 6-inch twig or wooden dowel into the center of each apple. Transfer apples to an 11 by 17 inch rimmed baking sheet linked with a Silpat baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside. Fill a large bowl with ice and water; set aside.
3. Place sugar, corn syrup, heavy cream, and butter in a small saucepan; bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to combine. Clip on a candy thermometer, and boil the mixture until the temperature reaches 250°F (the hardball stage), about 20 minutes. Immediately plunge the saucepan into the ice bath to stop the cooking. Working quickly, dip apples one at a time into the caramel, and place them on the lined baking sheet. Roll the bottom of the apples in the toasted nuts, if using. Transfer to a serving platter as soon as set, and serve immediately.
© Martha Stewart Halloween