Apple Pie Cookies

I know this is a contentious thing to say on a baking blog, but it needs to be said: I really don’t like pie.

I don’t know what to tell you. The heavy crust and frequently-too-sweet fillings just don’t do it for me. I’ll take a fruit-filled crisp or cake over pie, any day of the week.

But cookies inspired by pie? Yes please, gimme, sign me up.

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These Apple Pie Cookies caught my eye a long time ago and I finally got around to making them this week. What a winner! The base cookie is similar to a snickerdoodle with a cinnamon sugar topping. And then you cook down some spiced apples, and stuff them right inside the cookie. In every bite, you get a bit of crisp cookie shell, a bit of spiced apple and a chewy hit of cookie. As my coworker put it: “It’s like pie, but with a better ratio of crust to filling.”

They’re also more portable than pie, though you’ll want to make sure to carry these babies right-side-up in a sturdy container. Since they have fruit in the middle, they don’t hold their shape as well as some other cookies, and might fall apart in transit if you put them on their sides.

These do take a fair amount of time since you need to prep apples, let your filling cool and go through assembly. I promise they’re worth it!

Apple Pie Cookies

Original recipe: Cookie Dough and Oven Mitt. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~20 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~2 hours

Cook Time: ~16 minutes

Ingredients

Apple pie filling 

  • 1 3/4 cups apples—peeled, cored and diced. This takes about 2 medium apples.
  • 3 tbsp light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 1/2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter

Cookies

  • 1/2 cup butter, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Coating 

  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Instructions

Make your filling

  1. Add all your filling ingredients to a medium saucepan (apples, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter). Stir to combine.
  2. Crank the heat up to medium, and let your pan come to a simmer. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously. You’re good to go when your apples are soft, with a thick syrup around them.
  3. Take your pan off the heat and let your filling cool for a while. You don’t want to stuff hot filling into cookies since the heat could affect your cookie dough. My filling took about 20 minutes to cool, but definitely keep an eye on yours to make sure it’s right before you move onto the next step.

Make your dough

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F
  2. Use your mixer to cream the butter and shortening together. On medium speed, mix until the two are combined.
  3. Add granulated sugar and brown sugar, then mix on medium until it’s light and fluffy.
  4. Add the vanilla and one of your eggs. Mix the egg in completely, then add your second egg and mix it all again.
  5. Put your flour, baking powder and salt into the mixer bowl. Mix it on low until the flour starts to get incorporated into your wet ingredients. Then, turn up the speed to medium and make sure everything is completely combined.

Fill, roll and bake 

  1. First, make your cinnamon sugar topping. In a shallow bowl, stir the sugar and cinnamon until they’re completely combined.
  2. Scoop some dough from your mixer bowl—I used a couple tablespoons of dough per cookie. Smush the dough a bit so it’s easier to stuff.
  3. Put about 1/4 a teaspoon of filling in the center of your dough, and roll the dough back into a circle. You might want to play around with your filling ratio until it feels right, since it depends a bit on how big you make your cookies.
  4. Roll the dough ball in your cinnamon sugar so it’s completely covered in the topping.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Leave at least an inch between your dough balls so they have space to spread—these will spread quite a bit during baking!
  6. Bake your cookies 12-16 minutes. Mine took the full 16 minutes. Your edges should look set, but the centers will still look a little soft and will firm up as the cookies cool.
  7. Let the cookies cool on a wire rack, then move them into an airtight container for storage.

 

 

Caramel Apple Butter Snickerdoodles

I first made apple butter snickerdoodles in the fall of 2014. I liked them so much, I made them again a couple weeks later for a fall-themed potluck. And then…they fell victim to my tendency to try new recipes. I thought about them every fall, but always ended up making something new instead.

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This year, I decided it was time to change that. But I also had a new idea: what if I mixed caramel bits into the batter? Caramel apple is such a classic flavor, after all. I’d never mixed caramel and apple butter together before, but I had a feeling it’d be great.

It turns out caramel bits were a really good idea. They add another layer of flavor to an already great cookie, taking it up just one more notch. The base of this apple butter snickerdoodle is pure delight. It’s a cakey cookie, with a subtle apple flavor. You mix apple butter right into the dough, then mix in the caramel bits, and roll the cookies in a cinnamon sugar mix before you bake them. That adds up to a delicious pillows of apple butter goodness, with a hint of cinnamon and a bit of chewy caramel.

Make sure to allow time to chill this dough so it doesn’t spread during baking. These cookies stay fresh for a few days in an airtight container, and freeze nicely too.

Caramel Apple Butter Snickerdoodles

Original recipe: Crazy for Crust. I modified it and rewrote things a bit. 

Yield: 36 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~4.5 hours (including chill time)

Cook Time: 14 minutes

Ingredients

For your dough 

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup apple butter (any brand will do!)

For your cinnamon sugar

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Directions

Make your dough 

  1. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
  2. Using your mixer, cream butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until fluffy
  3. Mix in your eggs, vanilla, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and the apple butter. Beat until it’s just mixed
  4. Add in your flour mixture, and mix the whole thing until it’s blended together
  5. Throw your dough in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours. This keeps your cookies from spreading, so you don’t want to skip this step!

Bake your cookies 

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F and line cookie sheets
  2. Mix 1/3 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon in a small bowl so it’s fully combined
  3. Scoop a ball of dough, roll it in the cinnamon sugar and place it on your baking sheet. Repeat until you’re out of dough!
  4. Bake your cookies 12-14 minutes. Mine were perfect at 14 minutes, but make a call depending on how you like your cookies
  5. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheets, then move them to a wire rack to cool completely
  6. Store the cookies in an airtight container at room temp, or freeze for later

 

 

Web-hopping vol. 24

It’s been a while since I wrote a Web-hopping post, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped adding to my recipe lists! I’m always scheming about baking experiments and I save new recipes pretty much daily. So many recipes, never enough time!

To reintroduce Web-hopping, let’s talk about my favorite baking season: fall. The apples! The pumpkins! The squash! It’s enough to get this baker giddy. In fact, I’ve already started amassing tons of recipes on a dedicated Pinterest board.

As a kid growing up in southern California, “fall” was more of a concept than a reality. It wasn’t until I moved to the Midwest that I truly understood the crisp feel of a fall day, the comfort of warm cider, the seasonal menus. Now that I’m back in California, fall is the season I miss most. Any time we have a crisp San Francisco morning, I flash back to my years in the Midwest and wish I could head down to the farmer’s market for some fresh pumpkin butter, hot cider and apples galore.

Even if I can’t have fall weather, I can certainly have fall flavors. Here are some of the frontrunners for my fall baking season:

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Apple Cinnamon Streusel Pull-Apart Bread from Girl Versus Dough

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Pull-Apart Bread: I love cinnamon streusel and I love soft, pillowy breads – so this recipe looks like a winner! I think I’ll bring this to work on a Monday, to make Monday morning just a little sweeter.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel Icing: These make me nostalgic for the brunch potlucks I used to host when I lived in Chicago. Sadly I don’t have the space to host friends for brunch anymore, but maybe I can convince a friend to host and bring all the goodies! I love this combo of pumpkin and caramel, and think the salted icing will add a special touch.

Roasted Butternut Squash Cornbread: Butternut squash adds a really unique flavor to baked goods. I’ve made butternut squash cupcakes in the past that were a huge hit. This year I want to incorporate squash into more types of treats, and this cornbread looks like a good place to start.

Apple Blondies: I’m digging the idea of apple chunks in a blondie. These look delightful, and they’re on my radar for fall party treats.

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Pumpkin Brookies from Crazy for Crust

Pumpkin Brookies: I adore a good combo dessert, and I’m really excited about this one! The bottom layer is a pumpkin blondie and the top layer is a brownie. TBD when I make these, but they’re definitely popping up in my kitchen at some point this fall!

Baked Apple Cake with Cinnamon Frosting: This recipe is written in German – but Google Translate can come to our rescue! I’ve made some apple cakes in the past and love how chunks of apple nestle into soft cake layers. This recipe looks especially delicious thanks to its cinnamon frosting.

Bonus round! Here are a few of my favorite fall-tinged recipes from previous years: