Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, bring the sugar, 1/2 cup water and corn syrup to a boil. Cook to 250 degrees F, or until the syrup spins a thread when poured from the edge of a cooking spoon. Pour in the candy pieces and continue cooking to 285 degrees F. Remove from the heat and add the food coloring to achieve the desired shade of red.
Put the chopped nuts, coconut and candies in shallow bowls. Set aside. Wash the apples thoroughly. Remove the stems from the apples and insert a popsicle stick into the center of the bottom of each apple.
Dip the apples quickly in the candy mixture, twisting as you dip to cover the entire apple. Roll the apples in the assorted toppings, coating the bottom half of each apple. Place on the greased cookie sheet and allow the coating to cool and harden. Remove the popsicle sticks and use an apple slicer or a sharp serrated knife to cut the apples into slices. Place a toothpick in each slice.
The syrup can be reheated if it cools too much during the dipping process.
Recipe adapted from Home Cooking with Trisha Yearwood (c) Clarkson Potter 2010