A soft, deliciously spiced cookie that tastes just like a caramel apple? Yes please! If you like caramel apples then you will love these cookies! They are loaded with Granny Smith apples (the traditional apple of choice for the real deal) and I also tossed those apples with lemon to enhance the slight tartness (so it doesn’t just fade away entirely once baked into the cookies). They have the perfect amount of cinnamon and nutmeg, just enough to highlight the cookie without overpowering and they are laced with the delicious flavor of brown sugar (both in the frosting and the cookie) to mimic the rich, toffee-like flavor of caramel. And these are finished with pecans both to add a contrasting light crunch and because they are such a great topping choice on a real caramel apple.
It’s always fun to try new cookie recipes and you can never have enough, especially when it comes to one like this that is just pure deliciousness! Caramel apple + cookie, yes you really need them :). Enjoy!
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Caramel Apple Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup peeled and shredded Granny Smith apple (from about 2 small)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (scant) frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed but still cold (remove 1 Tbsp from 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 1/2 Tbsp apple juice concentrate
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
- Maldon salt for sprinkling (optional)
- For the cookies:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg for 20 seconds, set aside. In a separate bowl, toss shredded apple with lemon juice, set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, blend together butter and brown sugar until creamy (if not using a paddle attachment that constantly scrapes bowl, then occasionally stop mixer throughout entire mixing process and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl).
- For the frosting:
- Mix in egg and vanilla extract. Mix in half of the flour mixture, then with mixer running on low speed, slowly add in apple juice concentrate, then mix in remaining half of the flour mixture. Fold in shredded apples (and the juices with apples).
- Scoop dough out with a medium 1 1/2-inch cookie scoop and drop onto Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheets spacing cookies 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 11 - 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet several minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a small saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, apple juice concentrate and salt. Heat mixture over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar until smooth.
- Spread over cookies (I recommend a fairly thin layer as this frosting is very sweet), and immediately sprinkle with pecans and Maldon (if using. The frosting will set quickly so don't wait to add toppings).
- As frosting cools it will thicken, so add 1/2 tsp warm water at a time to thin as needed for a more spreadable consistency. Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.