Serve this grown-up version of the classic county fair favorite as an appetizer, snack or dessert.
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons Red Hots, Cinnamon Buttons or similar hard red cinnamon candy
2 tablespoons red sugar sprinkles
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup sugar
½ cup heavy cream, heated
3 tablespoons Cabot Salted Butter
4 Granny Smith, Honey Crisp or favorite apples
16 ounces Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, sliced or crumbled
8 ounces pecan halves
To make candied sauce:
COMBINE water, cinnamon candy, sprinkles and sugar in small heavy saucepan over medium heat.
COOK stirring occasionally, until candy and sugars dissolve. Continue cooking, without stirring, for about 8 minutes until candy thermometer registers 300°F. Remove from heat and keep warm.
To make caramel sauce:
HEAT sugar in small heavy saucepan over medium-low heatstirring constantly with whisk or fork. When sugar is melted and light golden in color, stop stirring. Continue cooking, swirling pan if needed but not stirring, until syrup is dark golden amber.
REMOVE from heat immediately and slowly and carefully pour hot cream down side of saucepan into caramel (it will bubble and splatter, so oven mitt and long high-heat spatula or wooden spoon are good ideas).
STIR caramel until smooth using a spatula or spoon. Add butter and continue stirring over low heat until butter is blended into sauce. Keep warm.
To finish apples:
FINISH apples: Core apples with apple corer or melon baller; trim off and discard stem and bottom ends, then cut each crosswise into 6 to 8 slices. (Alternatively, slice apples first, then remove cores from each slice with paring knife.)
TOP each apple slice with some of cheese, then add several pecan halves.
Spoon a stripe or two of candied sauce over half of apple slices, then stripe remaining slices with caramel sauce. Serve immediately.
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