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

 

 

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Rosemary Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

First things first: isn’t “snickerdoodle” a wonderful word? Try ordering a snickerdoodle without giggling. Hard, right? It’s so much more fun to say than the boring, descriptive phrase “chocolate chip cookie.”  You may know exactly what you’re getting when you order a chocolate chip cookie, but there’s just no joy in saying the words.

I actually looked into the linguistic origins of “snickerdoodle” the last time I posted a snickerdoodle recipe. Some believe the word is derived from a German word for pastries. Others believe the “snicker” is specifically there to inspire laughter. And some believe the name was invented by bakers who tended to give their treats fun monikers like “jumble” or “doodle.” I’m guessing it’s some combo of theory 1 and 3: it probably does have linguistic roots in an older food, with a “doodle” flourish added in for a smile.

I remember the first time I encountered a snickerdoodle, back in my high school cafeteria. I fell in love with the crackly, cinnamon sugar spiked, pillowy cookies. I rediscovered that love a few years ago when I tried a recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodles. Pumpkin in the batter made the cookies even more moist, and pumpkin pie spice added flavor complexity to the dough. Fast forward a few years and I’ve tried many new variations, from an apple pie version to snickerdoodles with caramels baked right into the middle.

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Little bits of rosemary baked right in

When I saw this recipe for rosemary snickerdoodles, I had to try it out. As regular readers know, I have a thing for baking with herbs. So the idea of combining my love of snickerdoodles with my love of “intriguing” flavors made this recipe a “must do.” I added these to a “Web-Hopping” roundup back in April and I’m glad they finally came to fruition!

This is a brown sugar cookie base with little bits of rosemary mixed into the batter. I wasn’t sure how it would turn out to have herbs mixed right into the batter instead of infusing them into the butter or sugar, like I did for those lemon basil cookies I shared a bit ago. Turns out, bits of rosemary in your snickerdoodle is a fine idea, indeed. Snickerdoodles don’t usually have a brown sugar base, so these have more of a molasses taste than you might be used to. The rosemary enhances the dough’s flavor profile, but it doesn’t make the cookie savory by any means. If you didn’t know I put rosemary in there, you might not even be able to figure out what’s happening – you’d just notice there’s a deeper flavor, and a nice contrast between the chewy cookie middles and the crackly cinnamon sugar mix on top.

This dough freezes really well, so you can make it when you have extra fresh rosemary and then freeze the dough until you actually want to bake it. I froze mine for a month or so, then popped the frozen balls right into the oven. You may need a minute or so more in the oven if your dough was frozen, so just keep an eye on how they’re looking.

Rosemary Brown Sugar Snickerdoodles

Original recipe: Baker Bettie. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary. 

Yield: ~25 cookies

Suggested equipment: Mixer

Total Time: ~70 minutes assuming the minimum of 30 minutes chill-time

Cook Time: 12 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (preferably dark brown to really enhance the molasses flavor)
  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped rosemary. Really, chop it finely; otherwise you’ll only taste rosemary in your finished cookie!
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar and 1/2 tsp baking soda, OR 1 tsp baking powder*
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsbp additional cinnamon

*If you don’t have cream of tartar, you can swap in 1 tsp baking powder – but then remember to nix the baking soda! Otherwise you’ll have a few too many chemical reactions happening in your dough.

Step by Step Directions

Make your dough 

  1. Chop your rosemary. As mentioned above, I suggest chopping it quite finely so you don’t bite into big bits of rosemary when the cookies are done
  2. Cream your butter, brown sugar and rosemary together until they are light and fluffy. If you’re using a mixer, you should be using the paddle attachment. This will take about 2 minutes, but always check to make sure it looks right before moving on
  3. Add in the egg and vanilla, and mix until incorporated
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together your flour, salt, 1 tsp of cinnamon, cream of tartar, and baking soda (remember to omit the baking soda if you’re using baking powder!)
  5. Switch your mixer on to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed
  6. Cover your bowl, and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, or up to 24 hours. As I mentioned, you can also scoop the dough into balls at this point and freeze it until you want to bake the cookies

Bake your cookies 

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 375F
  2. Mix together 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tbsp cinnamon to make your cinnamon sugar
  3. Scoop about 1.5 tbsp of dough to make each cookie ball
  4. Roll each cookie ball around in your cinnamon sugar mix
  5. Place your dough onto lined baking sheets, and bake for about 10-12 minutes. The cookies are done when they’re puffy with set edges, even if the middle still looks a bit underbaked

Let the cookies cool completely on a baking sheet, then store them in an airtight container. Or, skip the cooling step and just start eating your cookies… why wait?!

 

Caramel Doodles

 

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Fresh from the oven

It’s incredible what sugar and butter can do together. This recipe takes advantage of the dynamic duo in so many delicious ways. The cookie dough itself has butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar. Then you fold a caramel square into the middle of the dough, creating a gooey, decadent center. And then you sprinkle a cinnamon sugar mixture on the top. If this sounds intense to you, you’re in good company. I wasn’t sure if these would turn out too sweet for my tastes, or not. Ultimately, I did find them pretty sugary and rich- but in a good way.

I’ve dubbed these Caramel Doodles because they’re basically snickerdoodles- but the caramel center and brown sugar in the dough takes them to a different level entirely. I usually like my cookies cooled a bit but I loved these warm when the caramel centers were warm and gooey. Once they cool the caramel center becomes more like a core, regaining the standard caramel candy consistency.

This recipe is very easy to make but does require some extra steps so make sure you read all the way through before you start.

Caramel Doodles

Source: Two Peas and Their PodI’ve added more instructions to their base recipe. 

Yield: 2 dozen cookies 

Suggested equipment: Mixer makes it easier 

Total Time: ~1 hour, 15 minutes (3o minutes comes from chilling the dough) 

Cook Time: ~10 minutes  

Ingredients

Batter

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, sliced
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose Gold Medal flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (this activates the baking soda, so don’t leave it out!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt (you could use regular salt instead for the dough, but don’t use regular salt for the topping!)
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon plain Greek yogurt

Fillings and Toppings

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup caramel squares, cut into quarters (the original recipe calls for 1 cup but I didn’t use all of mine) 
  • Fine sea salt, for sprinkling on top of cookies

Step by Step Directions

Brown the butter

  1. Heat a thick-bottomed skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add the sliced butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook the butter until melted
  3. The butter will start to foam and browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan. The butter should have a nutty aroma.
  4. Watch the butter carefully because it can go from brown to burnt quickly (take this instruction seriously, readers- I’ve burnt mine before simply because I looked away for a few seconds at that critical point where it shifts from “browning nicely” to “whoops it’s blackened).
  5. Remove butter from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Make your cookie dough 

  1. While the butter cools, get the dry ingredients ready. In a medium bowl, Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  2. Once the butter is cool, use your mixer to combine the melted butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar
  3. Beat in the egg, yolk, vanilla, and yogurt and mix until combined
  4. Slowly add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  5. Form the dough in a ball and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. You can chill the dough overnight. Mine actually got too cold to scoop, so you probably want to take it out when it’s firm, but not too hard to scoop into

Add fillings/toppings and bake your dough 

  1. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
  2. Mix your cinnamon-sugar mixture in a small bowl
  3. Measure about 2 tablespoons of dough and roll into balls
  4. Once you see how many cookies you need to fill, cut your caramel candies into quarters. I suggest doing it this way so you don’t prep too many upfront and waste them. I had prepped many more than I needed and immediately wished I’d done it in a different order since it’s a bit annoying to open/cut the candies
  5. Flatten each ball of dough with the palm of your hand and place a piece of caramel in the center of the dough. Wrap the cookie dough around the caramel, making sure the caramel is completely covered with dough. Then, roll the ball of dough in the cinnamon-sugar mixture and place it on your baking sheet. Make sure your cookies are about 2 inches apart
  6. Sprinkle the cookie tops with sea salt
  7. Bake the cookies 8-10 minutes or until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. The centers will still be soft
  8. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes, or until set. Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.