Remove the stems from the apples and scrub them under warm water and dry them. Insert a chopstick through the top of the apple all the way to the top and line a baking sheet with waxed paper, set aside.
Put the sugar, maple syrup, corn syrup, and cream in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, swirling the pan but not stirring, until the mixture reaches 250 degrees F (firm ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Pull pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Tilt the saucepan and dip and spin each apple into the caramel, covering about 3/4 of the apple. Place on the prepared baking sheet until set.
If using a topping spread the topping out on a sheet pan or wax paper and immediately roll the caramel coated apples in the topping. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet until set.Topping 1:
2 cups chocolate wafers, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers
Put the wafers or cracker of choice in a plastic storage bag and smash until coarse.
2 cups walnuts or pecans, toasted
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and brown, about 8 minutes. Pulse the nuts, cranberries, and ginger in a food processor until mixture resembles very coarse sand.
From Food Network Kitchens
Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse