Carmel apples are my very favorite thing, If they are done right.  The time it takes to un-wrap the store bought caramels, you can make the real deal...and it's simple.  I've  made homemade carmel apples for "trunk r treat" now for the last 2 years.  This year I made 65.  They were gone pretty fast.  It's funny to see the adults put on their trick or treat swagger to get one.  Gourmet apples have been popular for awhile.  Williams and Sonoma started with the 3 lb. gourmet apple.  This carmel recipe is pretty easy, and has lots of flavor.  You will need a clip -on candy thermometer.   Try this recipe out, then use your imagination on the rest.     Bon Appetite , Peggy


1 lb. dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter room-temp
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk 
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. molasses
1/4 tsp. salt
About 12 apples (depending on size)
sticks (popsicles sticks .chopsticks or apple branches)
Toppings  (chocolate, nuts, candies, sprinkles )

In a medium heavy pan combine the the first 8 ingrediansts.   Start out slowly to combine and melt all ingredients. Making sure all the sugar has dissolved.  (you can feel this with rubbing the carmel between your two fingers)  Clip on your candy thermometer and turn up the heat to medium high.  Stir constantly and on occasions brushing down the sides of pan with a pastry brush dipped in warm water.  Doing this prevents any crystals from forming and falling into carmel, which would cause the carmel to crystalize.  Once the carmel reached 236 your ready to dip.  Have your apples cold, and toppings at hand.  I found that no matter how well you grease my wax paper or foil,  the carmel still seems to stick.  So once  I've  dipped them I immediately roll the bottom in nuts or sprinkles.  Then I add the chocolate on top.  You can experiment too, and find out the way you like to do it.  Good luck!  p.s. these make great christmas gifts 
The Lavender Apple