Here's a Halloween treat that will please people who love apples as well as those who love candy. Use the smallest apples you can find. Lady apples are great, but small (no bigger than a tangerine). McIntosh, Empire, and Granny Smith apples will also work. Coat the caramel with whatever candy you like. I like the candies listed here for the way they taste or look: Toffee bars are universally appealing; Reese's Pieces come in seasonal fall colors of orange, yellow, and brown; the cinnamon flavor of Red Hots complements the apples; and candy corn just says Halloween.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Place the candies in separate small bowls. Insert a craft stick into the stem end of each apple.
Put unwrapped caramels and heavy cream in a medium-size, heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until the caramels are melted and the mixture is smooth.
Hold an apple by its stick over the pot of caramel and spoon the caramel over the apple to coat, allowing the excess to drip back into the pot (if the caramel gets too stiff to spoon, reheat for a minute or two to loosen). Press the candy into the apple and place, stick side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining apples, coating two apples in each type of candy. Let stand until the caramel has cooled, about 10 minutes. The apples will keep, loosely covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Photo: Alexandra Grablewski