1Insert skewer in stem end of each apple. Divide nuts into 6 mounds on waxed paper.
2Heat water and caramels over low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramels are melted and smooth. Keep caramel over very low heat. Dip each apple into caramel, spooning mixture over apple until completely coated. (If caramel hardens while coating apples, heat over low heat.) Roll side and bottom of each apple in nuts. Let stand on waxed paper.
3Heat chocolate chips and shortening over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted. Spoon chocolate over top of each apple, allowing some to drizzle down sides. Let stand until coating is firm. Store loosely covered at room temperature or in refrigerator up to 1 week. <BR> <BR> Microwave Directions: Prepare apples and nuts as directed. Place water and caramels in 4-cup microwavable measure. Microwave uncovered on High 3 to 4 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes, until caramels can be stirred smooth. Continue as directed. (If caramel thickens, microwave about 30 seconds.) Place chocolate chips and shortening in 1-cup microwavable measure. Microwave uncovered on Medium (50%) 2 to 3 minutes or until smooth.