When I went on my apple picking adventure to Indiana back in October I had a feeling once I was hauling my apples back to the car that I had over picked. But it didn’t really hit home until I loaded my apples in the refrigerator and they completely filled both my crisper bins. For the next couple of months almost every meal I made included an apples as an ingredient. But since most recipes only call for one or two apples it became clear that if I wanted to eat threw all of them before they spoiled, I’d have to be a bit more aggressive in my efforts.
I started preserving them in every way I knew how. Some of the apples were turned into juice that went in the freezer. Some were dried in my food dehydrator. And the rest were turned into caramel colored apple butter flecked with seeds of vanilla bean and lightly spiced apple jelly. And the results were worth it because months later I was able to turn the dried apples and apple jelly into these soft, cakey cookies.
Some fresh apple (though this time from the grocery store) also went into the mix. Layering the flavors of three different kinds of apples, combined with cinnamon and nutmeg, is what give these cookies their pronounced apple pie-like flavor. It’s a trick I plan to try in other apple baked goods like muffins and scones because it really did a fantastic job of bringing out the flavor without adding too much moisture.
The cookies are then topped off with a very simple vanilla drizzle, though I’m already thinking about making these again with a caramel or cream cheese frosting. I’ve also thought these would be delicious with peaches or pears instead and plan to try those swaps once fruits are in season again, which given our warm Chicago weather I’m hoping will not be far off.
Adapted from The All-American Cookie Book
Makes about 36 cookies
-1 1/2 cups peeled and finely chopped baking apple, I like Gala (about 1 large)
-1/4 cup finely chopped dried apple
-1/4 cup apple jelly
-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
-2 cups all-purpose white flour
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1?8 teaspoon salt
-1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
-3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
-1 large egg yolk
-2/3 cup powdered sugar
-1/2 tsp light corn syrup
-2 drops vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper, or grease or coat with nonstick spray.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the fresh and dried apples, apple jelly, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring frequentlym until the jelly melts and the fresh apples are softened, about 5 minutes, be careful not to burn. Let stand or refrigerate until cooled to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
In a large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat together the butter and brown sugar until well blended and fluffy. Add the egg yolk and beat until incorporated. Gently beat in half of the flour mixture. Add the cooled apple mixture and beat until well blended. Stir in the remaining flour mixture until evenly incorporated.
Let the dough stand for 5 minutes or until firmed up slightly. Using an 1/8 cup measure or coffee scoop, drop dough onto the baking sheets, spacing about 3″ apart. With a greased hand, pat down the cookie tops until flat.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, in the middle of the oven for 9-12 minutes or lightly tinged with brown all over and barefly firm when pressed in the centers. Reverse the sheet from back to front halfway through baking, to ensure even browning. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack and let cookies stand until the cookies firm up slightly 1-2 minutes.
Using a spatula, transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
For the icing, in a small bowl, stir together the powdered sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and enough drops of warm water to a thin icing.
Spoon the icing into a paper cone or small pastry bag fitted with a fine writing tip.Set the wire racks with cookies over wax paper to catch drips.
Drizzle the icing back and forth over the cookies to form thin, decorative lines. Let stand until the icing completely sets, about 30 minutes.
Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 2 months.