Caramel apples are one of the sweetest treats of fall. Messy, chewy, crisp, delicious…I love them. I’ve had caramel apples on the brain lately, but haven’t gotten around to making any yet this year. I’ll get to it before apple season ends. I’ve promised my kids!
I needed to bake something for a bake sale today, so I started searching for recipes earlier in the week. My caramel apple brain led me to a search for caramel apple cupcakes and then, to caramel apple cookies. Could there be such a thing? There is, and I decided to bake some up for the bake sale. There are a ton of different recipes out there, but I chose to try this one, from Midwest Living, because it was made with simple, fresh ingredients, and it looked easy enough to put together. Plus, with the creamy caramel icing on top and toasted pecans, they just looked a little decadent.
I started by getting my dry ingredients together. The recipe calls for two types of flour, all-purpose and whole wheat. If you don’t have whole wheat on hand, just use all-purpose. The recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour. I had some on hand, so I threw it in.
Into my stand mixer bowl went some butter, brown sugar, apple pie spice, salt, an egg, and some apple juice. As it was mixing, I peeled and then grated a large Granny Smith apple.
The flour mixture mixed in with the butter and spices, and once it was blended together, I added in the shredded apple.
I scooped the dough out onto the cookie sheets and popped them in the oven!
I figured that since the dough was a little thinner than usual cookie dough, that it may bake up more like a muffin top. I was right. These baked up light and fluffy, like sweet little apple spice cakes. They aren’t a chewy, dense cookie at all.
Once the cookies had cooled, I got to work on the icing.
The icing comes together very quickly. Just about a minute on the stove with some butter, brown sugar and apple juice.
Once the sugar had dissolved into the melted butter and juice, I whisked in some powdered sugar until it was nice and smooth.
This frosting stiffens up rather quickly, though, so as soon as I spread some on top of the cookie, I sprinkled the cookie with toasted pecan pieces. Had I waited until they were all iced, the pecans probably wouldn’t have stayed put! (If the frosting hardens up too much to spread, just thin it out with a little more apple juice.)
Now came the moment of truth…the taste test. If I’m being honest, I didn’t taste a thing. Not because they weren’t full of flavor, but because I have a crazy head cold this week! Such a bummer. I passed cookies along to four taste testers, though, to see if they were worth sharing with you. Recruited taste testers included my husband, my friend, and my daughters. All four of them agreed that they cookies are delicious. In fact, my husband told me that he was really sorry I couldn’t taste them, because they were really worth tasting. I hope the bake sale shoppers agree!
I’ll just have to make another batch once I get my taste buds back!
CARAMEL APPLE COOKIES
Adapted from Midwest Living
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup apple juice or milk
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and coarsely shredded (about 1 cup)
- For the icing:
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons apple juice
- 2 2/3 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted
- Preheat the oven to 350*. Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the 1/2 cup butter until smooth. Add in the brown sugar, baking soda, apple pie spice. Beat until combined. Add in the egg, and beat until combined. Pour in the apple juice and mix until combined. The mixture may look curdled.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the all purpose flour and whole wheat flour. Once combined, stir in the shredded apple.
- Scoop out slightly rounded teaspoons onto your cookie sheet, making sure they are 2 inches apart. (The cookies will spread considerably.)
- Bake for 10-12 minutes at 350* until cookies are set and starting to brown.
- Cool completely on a baking rack before icing.
- For the icing, melt together the butter, brown sugar, and apple juice in a small saucepan. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the mixture from the heat.
- Using a whisk, stir in the powdered sugar until you have a thick, smooth icing.
- Spoon the icing onto the cookies and spread quickly. Immediately top with the toasted pecans.
- If the icing hardens up too much as you’re working, just whisk in a bit more apple juice to the mixture to thin it out a bit.
- Makes almost 3 dozen.