Caramel Apples dipped in Chocolate
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes hands on + 1 hour freezing/refrigeration

Yield: 12 Caramel Apples
Recipe adapted from The Yummy Life
12 small apples
12 craft sticks
2  14 oz bags wrapped caramel candies
4 T water
1 t vanilla
3  12 oz bags chocolate chips (I used milk, semi-sweet, and white.You want a variety.)
3 t shortening
1 C pecans, chopped and toasted
1. Wash your apples, and wash them well. Rub your fingers roughly all over the tops to get any of the waxy coating off.
2. Push your sticks into the center of your apples and put them in the freezer. Yes. The freezer. Leave them there, cold and lonely, for 40 minutes.
3. Unwrap your caramels. Put them in a medium sized sauce pan with the water and vanilla. Turn the heat to medium and let the caramels melt. Stir them often. You don't want them burning to the bottom of your pan.
4. Dip each apple into the caramel. It will begin to set up pretty quickly. Turn them upside down for just a bit so the bottom part can start to set. Just 20 seconds or so will do fine. Place the apple on a piece of tin foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Wax paper, is not your friend here. The caramel will stick all over it.
5. If you want to dip some of your caramel apples in nuts instead of chocolate, this would be the time to do so. Just roll them around a bit to cover the bottom of your apple. Or, if are totally nuts about nuts.... roll them all over your apple. You are the creator of your destiny here. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing.
6. Place the caramel apples in the refrigerator to continue setting up, while you work on melting the chocolate.
7. Put each bag of chocolate in a glass measuring cup. The 2 C size works really well. Melt the chips in the microwave for 30 seconds at a time stirring after each cooking interval. Don't get the chocolate too hot, here. See the picture above. Some of the chips will still look like chips, but will melt easily by stirring. Add 1 t shortening to each of your chocolate mixtures and stir to incorporate.
8.  Grab your apples out of the fridge. Take each apple and mold the bottom of it with your hand. Dip the apples into the chocolate. Hold the apple above the chocolate container to allow excess chocolate to drip off. After the apple has been dipped you can also take a butter knife and spread the chocolate around the apple, allowing the excess to drip off into your chocolate container. 
9. Set the dipped apple back on the sprayed tin foil to set up.
10. Take the chocolate left over from dipping and place it in Ziploc bags. Clip the end of the bag and and drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the apples. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.
11. Place them back in the fridge to finish setting up. It should only take about 20 minutes for the chocolate to be totally set up. 
Enjoy! These will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days....if they last that long! I can't wait to make them again. They would make a great gift.
Check out Monica's post, for ideas far beyond just dipping the caramel apples in chocolate. She's got clever Caramel Apples over there.