What's so wonderful about this sweet dessert? It's the bittersweet chocolate and caramel coating on a juicy fall apple.
Wash and dry apples. Remove stems. Insert one wooden stick into the stem end of each apple. Set aside.
In a heavy 3-quart saucepan, melt butter and unsweetened chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. Add sugar, corn syrup and honey. Stir in sweetened condensed milk; mix well. Heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly (this will take 6 to 8 minutes).
Clip a candy thermometer onto side of pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, till thermometer registers 245 degree F (firm-ball stage) (this will take 12 to 15 minutes). Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in vanilla.
Dip each apple into the hot caramel mixture, and use a spoon to spread the mixture evenly over apple. Allow excess caramel mixture to drip off. Immediately dip bottoms of apples into nuts, sprinkling some nuts onto sides of apples. Place apples, nut side down, on waxed paper and let stand about 25 minutes or till set.
If desired, melt white or bittersweet chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. Drizzle apples with melted chocolate as desired. Let stand till firm. Makes 12 to 16 servings.