Thursday, February 4, 2010

Apple Pie Cookies

Apple pie is a baked good for which husband constantly clamors. Alas! For peeling, coring, and slicing apples are among my most-dreaded kitchen tasks. He doesn’t get pie often, yet it seems cruel of me to remain deaf to such oft-repeated pleas.

I thought he might be placated if I devised a simple cookie that had all of the lovely flavors of apple pie but took half – nay, a quarter, if that – of the effort to prepare. And I came up with these. If you’re looking for an approximation of apple pie in cookie form, then look no further.

I used dried apples in place of fresh, because seriously: fresh apples would have made these nearly as much a chore as pie. I waffled on whether to throw in a bag of white chocolate chips and ultimately decided not to, as I was going for unadulterated apple pie taste. However, they would be really good in these. You know, if you’re not such a purist.

Apple Pie Oatmeal Cookies
Based very loosely on an oatmeal raisin cookie recipe from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, Heavy-Duty Revised Edition
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups oatmeal
½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon salt

2 ½ cups dried apples
1 cup golden raisins
1 ½ cups pecan pieces, preferably toasted
¼ cup amaretto, whiskey, or blend (I used a blend)

Preheat oven to 350.  Chop apples into small pieces.  I used a food processor, and it did the job very well:
Cream together butter and sugars in a large bowl. Add vanilla and eggs. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, oatmeal, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and add to wet ingredients. Stir well.

In a medium microwave-safe bowl, place apple pieces and raisins. Douse with amaretto and/or whiskey, cover, and microwave for 30 seconds to a minute, until the apples and raisins have absorbed most of the liquid. Stir into batter along with pecans.
Shape into tablespoon-sized balls and flatten slightly on cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-14 minutes, until very lightly brown at edges. Makes about 4 dozen.

These really do taste like apple pies in compact form. I can’t think of a more exciting way to describe them. This is a good thing vis-√†-vis baking verisimilitude, but not such a good thing for the prose liveliness of this blog. The texture is soft and chewy, and the raisins and pecans add depth to the apple flavor. As noted above, these would be great with white chocolate chips, though I don’t miss their absence. The flavors actually get better the longer these cookies sit, too – they were delightful fresh out of the oven, but now that they’ve been in a Ziploc bag on the counter for several days, the dried apple flavor has really permeated every cranny of the cookies.

And the husband also gives them two thumbs up, though I don’t think they’ve made him forget he hasn’t gotten an actual apple pie in something like a year now. I am a cruel, cruel woman, depriving him of quality baked goods like that.

Printable recipe here.