Friday, November 2, 2012

Caramel Apple Cookies

I spotted these cookies recently and it was mentioned that these would be a good Christmas cookie. I don’t disagree with that, but nothing says fall like caramel apples! I remember getting a caramel apple one time when I was out with Grandma. I’m sure I had others growing up, but that’s what I remember. I love caramel and stick on an apple and I’m in heaven.

As much as I love caramel apples, they are pretty messy to eat. I did buy a caramel apple at the store this fall (hey, it was only a dollar) and shared it with my husband. It was good but I cut it in to pieces so it was much easier to eat. I thought this cookie would be great with caramel bits and dried apples. These two things aren’t stocked everywhere, but they aren’t too rare. It seems like the caramel bits are easier to find in the stores this time of year. I think I will stock up as my normal source of caramel bits recently discontinued carrying them. Boo.

This recipe uses a very unusual mixing method, and I can’t really say that I know the reason behind it. It also seems like the ingredient quantities are strange, but I just rolled with it. The dough is very thick and sticky. This recipe made about 3-1/2 dozen, which to me is the perfectly sized batch of cookies. These cookies were good without the chocolate drizzle, but they looked a little plain so I decided to top them with semi-sweet chocolate. I wanted to top them with caramel, but I figured that would be a mess in the end. Messy cookies may be tasty, but they don’t travel very well!

Caramel Apple Cookies
1 3/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour
3/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
14 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 1/2 cups dried apples, chopped to bite sized pieces.
3/4 cup caramel bits
Melted chocolate for drizzling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat until golden brown and has nutty aroma, 3 to 5 minutes. Pour browned butter in to large mixer bowl and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.

To the mixer bowl with the browned butter, add the sugar, brown sugar and vanilla. Stir on medium until combined. Add the egg and yolk; stir until mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then stir for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and stirring 2 more times. The mixture will be thick and smooth. Stir in flour mixture on low until just combined. Stir in the dried apple and caramel bits.

Scoop the dough into 1 inch balls on the prepared baking sheets. Bake for about 8 minutes, until centers are set and the cookies are puffy. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 10 minutes and then cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle with melted chocolate if desired.

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