Caramelized Apple Oatmeal Cookies #CreativeCookieExchange

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Way back in the early 70s, my parents' friends invited the whole lot of us to spend a long weekend skiing at their house in Vermont. We were novice skiers (How novice you ask? I-broke-my-wrist-during-a-lesson kind of novice.) but we had a blast. So my parents did what any parents would do when the family has fun at a brand new pursuit. They bought a house in Vermont so we could ski our little hearts out. A house. After skiing one time. Now I'll admit it was a great house (and dirt cheap, I might add). 100 years old on two acres in a quintessential New England town (they still had actual live, human telephone operators when we first moved there and a cemetery dating back pre-Revolutionary War), in the southwestern part of the state, near Killington and a bunch of other ski resorts…but then the year following the purchase, we all went skiing in Colorado, got spoiled (it's just DIFFERENT, people)… and never skied in Vermont again. The house didn't go to waste though. We just did different stuff. We gardened (my mother actually thought that zucchini was SUPPOSED to be as big as your arm), we hiked and biked, we went boating on Lake St. Catherine (have I got stories…) and we spent a ridiculous amount of time sitting on the front porch watching the goings-on at the firehouse hall, which was the happening place in town. And in the fall, when we got to experience leafing season in all its glory, we went apple picking at the orchard down the road.

We always came home with enough apples to feed an army and almost no idea what to do with them all besides make applesauce. Lots and LOTS of applesauce. And an occasional pie. Ah, if only we'd known about these cookies. Okay, it would only have made a small dent in the apple surplus, but still…

It doesn't get much better than this caramelized apple oatmeal cookie. Dense, hearty and chewy. Subtly spiced. Studded with bits of tangy apple that have been caramelized in butter and sugar. Drizzled with just the right amount of sugary glaze. The Ultimate Fall Cookie. It's the kind of cookie that would have had us working together in the Vermont kitchen, then curling up before the wood-burning stove, wrapped in our blankies after a hard day of not skiing, hands wrapped around mugs of hot cider, miffling down cookie after cookie… If only we'd known. The house is gone, sold years ago when the long drive got to be too much for all us, but cookies like this are forever. At least until you eat them all.

This trip down memory lane has been brought to you by the fine bakers at #CreativeCookieExchange, who are Celebrating Autumn this month. Don't forget to check out the links below for more of fall's bounty!

Caramelized Apple Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients

Apples

  • 2 cups Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 tsp unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp light brown sugar

Dough

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

Glaze

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tbsp apple cider

Directions

  1.  To caramelize the apples, place the butter, brown sugar and diced apples in a medium skillet and cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally. Continue cooking and stirring until the apples are golden and somewhat softened. Transfer to paper towels and let cool.
  2. To make the dough, add the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  3. The the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and sugars and beat on medium-high for about 3 minutes. The mixture will be pale and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs separately, mixing until each is fully blended. Mix for an additional minute, then add the vanilla.
  5. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and blend until just combined then add the oats and mix.
  6. Fold in the caramelized apples.
  7. Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.
  8. Towards the end of the chilling time, preheat oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  9. Using a medium cookie scoop, place the dough on the baking sheets about 2" apart.
  10. Bake for 12–15 minutes until edges are slightly browned. Cookies should still be soft in the middle. Remove from oven, cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  11. To make the glaze, place the sugar in a medium size bowl, add the cider and whisk to combine thoroughly. Add more cider if needed to make a drizzling consistency and drizzle over cookies.
  12. Allow glaze to harden. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe source: Liv for Cake

Notes

I used Granny Smiths but you could also use any good baking apple.

The apples will release a lot of moisture, but once it's cooked out, they'll start to caramelize.

I used apple cider in the glaze but water is fine if you don't have any cider on hand.

I'm a very bad drizzler—big globs here, nothing there—so instead of winging it, I like to use a piping bag for better control.

#CreativeCookieExchange for October: Celebrate Autumn

One of the best things about fall—in addition to crisp, cool weather and gorgeous foliage (still waiting…)—is all of the delightful seasonal themes that come to mind for baking. Pumpkin, apples, late summer and early fall harvest, Halloween, Thanksgiving… They are all fun and delicious to play around with, so check out what we have for you this month!

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! Also, if you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made: