Autumn's smallest apples are costumed for Christmas in a sinful caramel and peanut butter dip, and then secured with cinnamon sticks and ribbon.
Combine sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl; set aside.
Line a baking sheet with wax paper; lightly grease wax paper, and set aside.
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, 4 minutes. Immediately spread peanut mixture onto prepared baking sheet; let cool. Break peanut candy mixture into small pieces, and place in a pieplate or other shallow container.
Line baking sheet with wax paper again; lightly grease wax paper, and set aside.
Wash and dry apples. If desired, cut cinnamon sticks down to 6", or leave them their original length. Make a hole in stem end of an apple with kitchen shears. Insert a cinnamon stick at least 1" into opening left by shears. Repeat procedure with remaining apples and cinnamon sticks.
Combine caramels and water in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 3 minutes or until caramels melt, stirring once. Stir in peanut butter and peanut butter morsels, stirring until morsels melt.
Dip apples into caramel mixture, covering completely. (Use a spoon to help with coating, if necessary.) Sprinkle stem end of 8 apples with reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture. Roll bottom half of remaining 8 apples in reserved peanut candy mixture. Place apples on prepared baking sheet, allowing excess caramel to drip off; let cool. Chill apples 1 hour. Scrape off excess caramel with a knife, if desired.
Tie bows onto cinnamon sticks with ribbon. Place apples in lightly greased cellophane squares, and nestle into pine wreath.
Note: Your local craft store can supply you with the long cinnamon sticks, ribbon, cellophane, and wreath for this recipe. You can substitute small McIntosh or Jonathon apples for the lady apples.
Christmas with Southern Living 1997