Next I tried the recipe in Martha Stewarts Magazine but the sugar burnt before it got to the right temperature eventhough I followed the directions exactly, I took it off the heat as soon as I noticed so it's still edible, it just it won't get hard since it never got to the right temperature and it's just falling off the apple (delicious none the less, but I couldn't wrap them and give them to people).
Hmmm- your sugar problem doesn't make sense. You want caramel apples and not the hard candy shell ones right? To make caramel you have to burn the sugar
, in a sense. Pop up a link to the recipe here and lets take a look at it.
Likely the recipe told you to take a sugar and water solution to a boil. It should have told you to watch carefully, and don't stir it (! very important with caramel) and to take it, not to a particular temperature, but to when the sugar solution starts to change color and darken. This can happen fast- that's why you'll have your cream and or butter to add to the darkening sugar waiting right next to the pan.
Helpful hint: use an enamel coated pan like a Creuset to do this cause they have nice white interiors that really help with checking the sugar color. I wouldn't recommend a dark interior colored pan.
Your point about not wanting to make these apples right before your wedding is spot on! It's good to double check in your testing how those apples will fare when a couple days old. You don't want sweaty caramel!
So yeah, when's your wedding? Is it really humid where you are?