Prepare apples by bring a large pot of water to a boil. Insert wooden sticks into the apple and dunk into the boiling water for 5 seconds. Remove and wipe with a paper towel to remove any wax.
In a heavy-bottomed pot combine the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and sweetened condensed milk over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Once at a boil reduce heat to medium and cook until mixture is 245ºF or until a teaspoon of the mixture forms a firm ball when dropped into a glass of cold water. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Dip each apple in the caramel and set on a piece of parchment paper. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts if desired. Let cool before serving.
You can also sprinkle with mini m&m’s, sprinkles, or even mini chocolate chips.
To make these caramel apples easier to eat, remove the stick and cut into wedges using an apple cutter.
Serve these Caramel Apples with these Apple Cider Doughnuts.