1Heat oven to 325°F. Place paper baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups. Make cake batter as directed on box; gently stir in applesauce and apple pie spice. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
2Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
3In small microwavable bowl, microwave caramels and half-and-half on High 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Let cool about 10 minutes to thicken slightly. Dip tops of cupcakes into caramel mixture, then sprinkle with peanuts.