Caramel apples don't seem to be as easy to improvise as I thought. A couple of years ago, I tried to whip up caramel apples late at night when my sweet tooth called. I remember making the caramel w/ sugar and water and then adding some cream or half and half at the end. I think I added butter once. One time the caramel set really hard and became brittle; another time it was a bit too runny.
I don't think this is anything complicated, but I want a good basic recipe for caramel that will be ideal for coating pippin apples. Something that will set nicely and have a little sheen, but be soft enough to sink your teeth into. Kind of like the caramel apples you buy at Disneyland.
Any tips for dipping and coating w/ other toppings are appreciated. I would use a chopstick to skewer if just for me, but where do I buy the right wooden dowels to give away as gifts? Thanks!