A Spiced Apple Cookie is an apple pie in cookie form. Being that I am in the apple-mood these days, I've been baking these a lot lately. Over the weekend I made two batches, one for a friend, and one to eat at home. As what is quickly becoming the norm in my house, I baked these with my daughter for a rainy-afternoon activity. It seems that these days we complete at least two baking projects together each week, a new tradition that I am both encouraging and enjoying. (Though, rest assured all you Naptime Chefs, I have also made these while she naps - which takes about half the time compared to baking with her - and this recipe works well with both scenarios.)
During our weekly trip to the farmer's market this fall I've started picking up bags of apples, instead of just the usual 3 or 4. Over the course of the last six weeks my whole family has become apple fanatics, each of us consuming at least one or two MacIntosh's each day, toddler included. Hopefully these means we won't be seeing the doctor for a while. I've also been cooking and baking with apples non-stop. As with most of my favorite ingredients, the more I experiment with apples in the kitchen, the more I discover their versatility. Over the years I've sauteed them with cinnamon and sugar, made homemade applesauce, and frequently served them with pork. And, of course, I've baked with them. A lot.
As I noted above, my favorite part about baking these cookies is that the sweet spices, chopped apple and brown sugar dough truly evoke the flavors of apple pie. When baked they puff up slightly and have a nice cakey texture that is studded with tiny bits of sweet fruit. I often leave nuts out of cookies when I bake, but in this case I really like the addition of walnuts. They lend a subtle crunch and provide a nice balance to the sweet apple flavor.
Whether baking these alone, or with children, I highly recommend you get started on your own batch of Spiced Apple Cookies straight-away. These are perfect for eating with the family, taking to friends or adding to a fall bake sale. After all, fall is here in full-force, and it is time to embrace all of it's wonderful flavors, in whatever form they may come.
Spiced Apple Cookies
a handwritten recipe from my old neighbor, Katie Sanford
1/2 c. shortening*
1 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
1/4 c. whole milk
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. salt
1 c. chopped walnuts
1 c. unpeeled apple, finely chopped (I use a juicy, sweet variety like McIntosh)
*Note: I use trans-fat free shortening only when baking
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat together shortening and brown sugar until full combined. Add egg and milk and mix ingredients well.
3. In a separate bowl combine flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add dry ingredients, scraping down the sides as necessary, until everything is fully combined.
4. Stir chopped apple and walnuts into the batter with a wooden spoon.
5. Drop cookies by rounded teaspoonfuls about 2-inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with Silpat or parchment paper. Press the tops of the cookie down with your top two fingers so they are slightly flattened.
6. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until cookies hold their shape and are slightly browned on the edges.
Naptime Recipe Props: If you want the flavors of apple pie all packaged up in a cookie this is the recipe for you. One of my friends added raisins to her batch and they were delicious. I encourage people to try that if they are interested.
Naptime Stopwatch: Like all good cookie recipes, this one merely requires assembling the batter and baking it - less than an hour from start to finish.
Naptime Reviews: My husband, always the cookie lover especially enjoyed these. I have only made one apple pie so far this season but once he ate these, he said he would happily forgo pie this season in favor of cookies.