Prep time: 25 minutes
Active Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 35 minutes
Yield: 8 caramel apples
8 small apples (about 6 ounces each)
Softened butter, for waxed paper
2 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup Smooth Operator peanut butter
2 cups chopped, salted and roasted peanuts
1. Shove wooden ice pop sticks into the stem end of each apple; set aside. Line a baking sheet with buttered waxed paper.
2. Make caramel: Bring sugar and water to a boil in a medium heavy bottomed saucepan. Boil, swirling the pan occasionally, until a light amber color, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a metal spoon to stir, carefully stir in heavy cream (it can spatter, so wear an oven mitt for safety). Stir in peanut butter. Simmer caramel 1 minute, dropping a bit of caramel into a heat-proof glass filled with cold water to test for a soft, chewy texture when cooled (the temperature on a candy thermometer should register 240˚ in the saucepan). Remove from heat and allow to cool 1 to 2 minutes (it will thicken slightly).
3. Dip apples: Dip and swirl apples in hot caramel, carefully allowing excess to drip off. Roll dipped apples into peanuts. Place dipped apples onto prepared baking sheet; repeat with remaining apples and caramel. Refrigerate up to 2 days; serve immediately once removed from refrigerator.