Mix 2 1/2 cups sugar, water, juice from lemons and red hots. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer til light syrup forms,stirring constantly til red hots are melted. Add apples and cook til soft, but do not overcook.
Put apples in baking dish and cover with half of syrup. Mix remaining syrup with 1/2 cup lemon juice and remaining 1/2 cup sugar and cook til thick as molasses. Serve garnished with sprig of mint or if during holiday season, sprig of holly. serves 8