Gourmet Caramel Apples

Best tasted Caramel,
  adapted from Bon Appétit on epi  via Ourbestbitesby My daughter and friendsMom's verdict: two sticks of butter and one can of condensed milk.It's absolutely delicious

1 lb dark brown sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2/3 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1½ tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp dark molasses
1/4 tsp salt
12 chopsticks or wooden craft sticks
12 medium apples-Grand Smith or any variety apples.
Assorted  topping as chopped nuts, dried fruit, candy sprinkles, M&M
Melted dark, milk, or white chocolate
A good accurated thermometer:  registered 212 oF in boiling water.

Line a baking sheet with wax, parchment paper or silicon mat/liner.
Wash, dry, and stem removed apples. Insert a wooden stick to stem end of each apple.  If you buy apples from stores, they have a thin protective wax layer which should be removed by quickly dipping apples into boiling water briefly and drying them immediately with a clean kitchen towel or paper towels.
Chill apples on prepared baking sheet in fridge.

Combine first 8 ingredients in a  heavy bottom saucepan (at least 4 quart).  Clip the thermometer to the side of the pan.  Stir with a spatula (silicon works best) over medium low heat until sugar dissolved about 15 minutes.  Make sure all sugar melted  before turn the heat up to medium high, bring the caramel to a boil and adjust the heat to keep it gently boil.  Stir occasionally until reading temp  236 oF.  Remove from heat, pour caramel in a metal bowl without scrapping the bottom, cool to 220 oF without stirring.

 Dip one apple at a time to cover all except the very top around the wooden stick.  Allow the excess drip back to the pan .  Then turn the apple upside down, cont. turning slowly a few second to help caramel set evenly around apple.  Place it on silicon patch on a baking sheet with stick side up. Repeat with remain apples.  Place apples apart.  Caramel will pool around the apples' base.  Chill caramel apples about 15 min.  Then pick up apples, press and shape  pooled caramel back to apples base.  Roll caramel apples to topping or press topping on caramel. Drizzle with melt chocolate (optional).  Return apples to baking sheet.  Chill until decoration set about 1 hours or at least 15 minutes before serving.   Cover if store longer in the fridge but they are best eating fresh after being made.
* Note:  check out mom's  caramel apples for a less complicated ingredients.