Sometime this summer, when my husband and I were visiting the local farmer’s market, we stopped by a vendor who was selling caramel. I really like caramel, and use it in quite a few recipes. We tried a couple of their flavors, and ended up buying the Bourbon Caramel Sauce. I looked for a recipe that would highlight the caramel sauce, I saw these and knew they were the perfect ones. Of course, you could also make your own caramel.
These have a bit of an unusual preparation. You don’t chill the dough, but you shape the cookies and then refrigerate those, to help lock in the shape. That’s really a great idea, as if you chill the dough all together, it has to warm up too much to shape the cookies, and you lose the reason that you chilled the dough in the first place. They’ll hold in the refrigerator for several days, just make sure they are covered so that they don’t dry out.
I warmed up my caramel before using it, as it was really thick. Of course, I then worried that it would set back up, but that’s just silly as I know that caramel is only liquid when it is warm. You don’t use that much caramel, so it cooled and set with no problem. My caramel was in a squeeze bottle, which made it so easy to fill the thumbprints. The bourbon flavor is obvious, but not too strong, and I think it pairs well with the flavors of the apple spice blend. These cookies remind me of snickerdoodles a little bit, but with some subtly different flavors. These are the perfect fall cookie!
Caramel Apple Spice Thumbprints
2-1/2 cups flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoons apple pie spice*
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice*
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, apple pie spice, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium until smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. With the mixer running on low, gradually add the flour mixture, mixing just until combined.
In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar and apple pie spice. Shape the dough into 1-1/4” balls and roll the balls in the apple pie spice sugar. Place on a baking sheet. Using the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in each cookie, making sure that the cookies don’t crack too much when making the indentation. Cover and refrigerate for at least three hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cookie.
Bake for 12 minutes. Remove the cookies from the oven, press the indentation in the cookies again, and spoon about ½ teaspoon of caramel in each cookie. Bake for an additional 2 minutes.
Allow the cookies to cool completely. The caramel will be liquid when the cookies first come out of the oven, but will set after about an hour.
*I made my own apple pie spice by combining 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ½ teaspoon nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice
Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction