1. Place a large piece of parchment paper on your work surface and divide the nuts into 10 mounds. Insert the skewers 1⁄2 inch into the apples at the stem end.
2. In a heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil over low heat. Let the sugar cook until it reaches a deep brown color, about 320°F on a candy thermometer (don’t go any higher than this; a little lower is fine). Add the cream and butter (it may sputter, just keep stirring and it will become smooth) and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring frequently, until you get a golden, thick caramel. Remove from heat.
3. Dip the apples in the caramel and then roll them in the nuts. Allow 45 minutes for the caramel to harden and cool.
4. Chop the chocolate into pieces. Melt in a bowl or double boiler over boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl or double boiler does not touch the water. Remove the skewers from the apples. Spoon chocolate over the apples. (Alternatively, keep skewers on and dip into the chocolate.) Sprinkle with coarse salt flakes and let the chocolate harden and cool, about 15 minutes.
398 calories, 21g fat, 6g saturated fat, 29mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate, 7g fiber, 45g sugar, 3g protein