October 15, 2013

Caramel-Stuffed Apple Cider Spice Cookies

A slight chill in the air, leaves changing color, pumpkin patch visits and trips to pick apples - these are all signs that Fall has arrived.  These are all signs that I never see.  Palm fronds do not change color and the only chill I feel in the morning is when one of my girls decides to turn on the hot water tap when I am in the shower.  Such is life, and although I miss these things each Fall, living in a tropical paradise is pretty darn nice too.

It was exciting to find out that this month's theme for the Creative Cookie Exchange was apples, the versatile fruit that works equally well in both sweet and savory dishes.  There are just so many great cookies that feature apple that it was hard to narrow it down to one.  I finally decided on a recipe that included a little caramel, a little cider, and a little spice.

The recipe for caramel-stuffed cookies has been around for quite some time, but after a little research I settled on one and then started making some changes. The recipe called for regular Alpine Apple Cider Instant drink mix, but I decided to use the Caramel Apple version. Since the drink mix is very sweet I cut the sugar down to ½ a cup. A little extra spice never hurts in a cookie so I added a little apple pie spice -which is a wonderful blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, cloves and cardamom.  I thought that apples pieces in the cookie would be nice too. Granny Smith are my usual apple of choice when baking because they hold up well and are a little tart, and I decided to grate them so the pieces were not too big.  With these changes I found that I also had to add a little more flour so that the cookie mix was not too wet to work with when placing the caramels in the middle.

The addition of eggs to this recipe definitely produces "cakey"cookies, that are puffy rather than thin and crispy, and this was further enhanced when I decided to make bigger cookies than the recipe originally called for.  I also decided that they needed an iced top, but this does add to the sweetness so feel free to drizzle the icing rather than dipping the cookies into it if you want to tone this down.

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Caramel-Stuffed Apple Cider Spice Cookies

Ingredients ~
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons apple pie spice
  • 1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine Spiced Caramel Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix (10 packets)
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 3½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, coarsely grated
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag Kraft Caramels
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Caramel Macchiato creamer or 2 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon caramel extract (optional)
  • apple pie spice for dusting (optional)

Preparation ~
  1. Preheat oven to 350℉. 
  2. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  3. In a stand mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice and all 10 packets of apple cider mix until smooth and fluffy. 
  4. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract, then mix in the baking soda and baking powder.
  5. Add the flour and mix until just combined.
  6. Add apples and gently mix in.
  7. Refrigerate mixture for at least 1 hour.
  8. With a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough scrapping off the excess as you go up the bowl.
  9. Flatten the dough slightly in your hand and place a caramel in the center. Work the dough around the caramel sealing well. Place the cookies two inches apart on the sheets.
  10. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. After baking, carefully slide the parchment with the cookies onto the counter. 
  11. Let cool until they are no longer soft but still slightly warm. Twist gently to remove, and cool upside down on the parchment or on a cooling rack. If they are not upside down while they cool they caramel may leak out of the bottom.
  1. Combine confectioners' sugar, creamer (or milk), extract, and vanilla adding milk as needed, to achieve icing consistency.
  2. Place a piece of parchment on your counter top, then place a wire rack on top of the paper. 
  3. Dunk the top of each cookie into the icing and place the cookie onto the wire rack allowing the glaze to drizzle down the sides of the cookie. 
  4. Allow glaze to harden, and then dust the top of the cookie with apple pie spice.

Makes 30 large cookies.
Recipe adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything


  1. Oh, yes, please Felice. I'll take a dozen! And thank you for introducing me to this yummy recipe...P.s. As I'm living in Santa Monica I can relate to the lack of autumn...But on sunny days biking along the ocean - it's a very nice situation, indeed =)

  2. I would never have thought to use a hot cider mix in cookies, Felice, but I can imagine the flavors. I love that you tucked a whole caramel inside each one!

  3. Magnificent!! What a cookie, I will have a dozen please, okay two!! Love the idea of the caramel hidden inside!!

  4. I spent the morning blowing leaves and now reading how you don't see signs of fall where you live. It must be different not to have season changes. Then again, you don't have to spend time blowing leaves either. The good thing though is that it builds up an appetite and your cookies sure would be a nice treat after all the work.

  5. I'm going to make these little morsels right away! I love caramel, can't wait to bite into one! Thank you for co-hosting the Creative Cookie Exchange and sharing your delicious cookie recipe!

  6. yum they sound really good, I love anything with caramel in it. Mine are just in the oven now.

  7. My challenge with those caramels is to bake with them (and share the goodies) BEFORE I eat all of the caramels. I am losing that battle with my current bag of caramels in the pantry. Your recipe sounds great!
    I remember missing seasons, too, when we lived in Hawaii. I did not miss shoveling, driving in snow, or wearing 5 layers of clothes to stay warm while sledding! Enjoy your paradise!

  8. Caramel and apples! They were meant to be friends! :) These cookies look so good!

  9. That sounds good. I have never heard of that drink mix but it sounds like a perfect addition.

  10. Ohhh my goodness. Look at that big ol' piece of caramel going into the center of these cookies. These have to be out of this world delish.

  11. Felice, these cookies are fantastic and I applaud your notion to ice the tops. Nice work!

  12. These look amazing. I've never heard of the drink mix but am always open something new. I'm a sucker for caramel, apple and icing. I have such a sweet tooth, I think I would like these!

  13. These are gorgeous! I have never heard of this drink mix--do you know if it is available everywhere?

    1. Hi Laura, I'm pretty sure that it is readily available. I got mine at Walmart, but I've seen it at Safeway too. Here is a link to check out where to buy it near you - http://www.alpinecider.com/wheretobuy.aspx

  14. I love the idea of stuffing a caramel into the middle of a cookie like this. Such a great autumn treat!

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