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Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing

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These soft and delicious apple cookies are the perfect fall treat! The small batch of cookies are made with fresh apples, pumpkin pie spice, and topped with a rich and creamy caramel icing. You’ll love the combination of sweet and tart flavors in these tasty cookies!

A beautiful bite shot of a soft caramel apple cookie stacked on another cookie.

Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing

I love apple season.  I have great appreciation for the variety of apples during apple harvest, and it always gets my wheels turning on what I can bake next. 

Though, with the great variety, I tend to stick to one apple for baking – the Honeycrisp apple.  I like that they have a balance of sweet and tart flavor and they stay crips when baked.  You can find them featured in my apple spice bread, apple crisp, Hasselback apples, and apple spice cupcakes.

Everything To Love About These Cookies

  • Super Soft – These cookies are incredibly soft, and almost cake-like.  Perfect to hold tender apple chunks.
  • Easy – There are not a lot of steps or techniques required for this apple cookie recipe.  In fact, the cookies can be made using only one bowl.
  • Fresh Apple – Small chunks of fresh apple are suspended inside the cookies for a balance of soft and crisp texture.
  • Fall Spices – All the flavors you love for Fall are in this recipe:  cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice – aka – Pumpkin Pie Spice.  
  • Caramel Icing – To mimic the flavor of a Caramel Apple, the caramel icing on top of these cookies is a buttery and rich homemade caramel icing.
Close up of a soft apple cookie with caramel icing on a wire rack.

Small Batch Cookies For Fall

The total cookie yield in my small batch cookie recipes can vary.  There is a science to baking and sometimes the best batch comes out with a few more, or less, cookies than the last.  

However, the number of cookies you get from my recipes totally depends on how big – or small – you want to make your cookies.  For the soft apple cookies, I love the pop-in-your-mouth size.  And because of the abundance of flavor, one may be able to tide you over for a while!

Close up of a delicious caramel icing on a fall fruit cookie on a table.

What You Need To Make Soft Apple Cookies 

Key Ingredients

  • All Purpose Flour – You can try a cup4cup flour blend if you need gluten free.
  • Sour Cream – Sour cream will make the cookies, soft, moist, and give them their cakey texture.
  • Egg Yolk – A single egg yolk provides texture in the apple cookies, and helps to bind ingredients.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice – A little spice enhances the overall flavor of the soft apple cookies.
  • Unsalted Butter – Butter will make the cookies soft and tender, and give them flavor!
  • Granulated Sugar – I like to use organic cane sugar, but granulated white sugar works great.
  • Dark Brown Sugar – The brown sugar is used to make the caramel icing.
  • Powdered Sugar – Powdered sugar will give the icing its texture.
  • Milk – A little milk will help to loosen the icing to the desired texture.

Baking Equipment

  • Mixing Bowl
  • Hand Held Mixer
  • #40 Cookie Scoop 
  • Baking Sheet and Parchment Paper
  • Heavy Duty Small Saucepan 
Frosted soft apple cookies cooling on a wire rack.

How to make Soft Apple Cookies

  • Prepare your baking sheet and line with parchment paper.  Preheat the oven.
  • Dice your apples into small, bite size pieces, since these are small apple cookies!
  • Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the remaining wet ingredients and mix.
  • Sift or sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients and mix until no dry streaks remain.
  • Scoop 8 equal portions of dough with a #40 cookie scoop.  This is a medium size scoop and equivalent to about 2 tablespoons.  Place the cookies 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes to bake.  Because they are soft, cakey cookies, do not overbake.  Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack.
  • Make your icing while the apple cookies are cooling.
  • Ice the apple cookies with a simple drizzle of caramel icing.  Or, you can also dunk the cookies in the icing!
Close up of the soft inside of a fall cookie with caramel icing.

Caramel Icing 

These soft apple cookies aren’t complete without the caramel icing.  I believe caramel icing is somewhat iconic.  And I only say this because I remember it dressing many cakes when I was growing up.  So, it makes me feel warm and cozy knowing I’m paying baking respect to the pros before me.

How To Make Caramel Icing

  1. Melt the brown sugar and butter – The perfect ingredients for the beginning of rich caramel.
  2. Add the milk – To give us the creamy flavor in a good caramel.
  3. Cook to a boil – Use caution because hot sugar is very hot!
  4. Add the powdered sugar – The consistency will remind you of royal icing once the powdered sugar is added.  
  5. Drizzle it over the cookies – What is great about this icing is that it hardens as it cools – which results in more texture on the apple cookies.
Two super soft apple cookies with caramel icing on a small wood plate.

FAQ

What is the best kind of apple to use for the cookies?

My recommendation is to use an apple that you like to eat. I like to use Honeycrisp apples because they have a balance of sweet and tart. And they stay firm when baked.

Can I cut the apples into larger chunks?

If you want to! Just keep in mind you want a larger ratio of batter in each cookies. Otherwise, the apple cookies may just turn out like tiny baked apples!

My cookies came out dry. What did I do wrong?

Chances are, you over-baked them. The cookies are supposed to be soft and cakey. I recommend taking them out as soon as you see the bottom edges start to turn golden.

What can I do with the extra egg white?

You can make a batch of Marshmallow Meringue Frosting, Toasted Coconut Maple Macaroons, or Flourless Chocolate Cookies. Or, you can save it for your omelet the following morning!

Can I use store-bought caramel for the icing?

I have not tested this and I am not sure what would happen if you add powdered sugar to store-bought caramel. If you try it, let me know!

How should I store the cookies?

If you have leftovers, the apple cookies can be stored covered at room temperature. They will stay soft for about 3 days.

A cake stand full of soft caramel iced apple cookies.

Soft Apple Cookies with Caramel Icing

Yield: 8 Cookies
These soft and delicious apple cookies are the perfect fall treat! The small batch of cookies are made with fresh apples, pumpkin pie spice, and topped with a rich and creamy caramel icing. You’ll love the combination of sweet and tart flavors in these tasty cookies!
Prep15 minutes
Cook14 minutes
Total29 minutes

Ingredients
 

Apple Cookie

  • ½ cup apple, chopped in small cubes (about 1/2 an apple – I use Honeycrisp)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 4 tablespoons full fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Caramel Icing

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 ½ teaspoons whole milk
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

Apple Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  • Chop your apple into small 1/4-inch size cubes. It is your preference to peel the apple. I leave the skin on for a little more texture.
    ½ cup apple, chopped in small cubes
  • In a medium mixing bowl, add the butter and sugar. Use a hand held mixer on medium speed and cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolk, sour cream, and vanilla extra. Continue to beat until all of the ingredients are smooth and thoroughly mixed.
    3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, ⅓ cup granulated sugar, 4 tablespoons full fat sour cream, room temperature, 1 large egg yolk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Sprinkle or sift, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice over the top of the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed until no dry streaks remain. Add in the chopped apples and mix into the dough with a spatula or spoon. Tip – To sift the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, I set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl, add all of the dry ingredients into the strainer, then sift into the bowl.
    1 cup all-purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ⅛ teaspoon baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ½ cup apple, chopped in small cubes
  • Use a cookie scoop to scoop out 8 equally sized cookies, placing them at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. I use a 2 tablespoon (#40) cookie scoop.
  • Bake the cookies for 14 to 16 minutes, or until the bottom edges of the cookies start to turn light golden brown. Do not over bake. Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then transfer the cookies to the wire cooling rack to cool completely.

Caramel Icing

  • While the cookies are cooling, make the icing.
  • In a small saucepan, boil the butter and brown sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is foamy – about 2 to 3 minutes.
    3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
  • Carefully whisk in the milk and return to a brief boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir the icing with a wooden spoon until it is smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cookies, and Enjoy!
    4 ½ teaspoons whole milk, ¼ cup powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
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RECIPE NOTES

  • Serving Size – This is a small batch recipe.  I have not tested doubling the recipe to make a larger batch.
  • Yield – With a #40 cookie scoop, you will get 8 cookies.  However, the number of cookies will depend on how big you make the cookies.
  • Apple – Use an apple you like to eat.  I like Honeycrisp because they are sweet and slightly tart, and they stay firm when baked.
  • Extra Egg White – You can use the extra egg white to make Marshmallow Meringue Frosting, Toasted Coconut Maple Macaroons, or Flourless Chocolate Cookies.
  • Storing – The cookies can be stored covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.  Beyond that, and they may start to get crumbly.
  • Freeze Baked Cookies – Baked and iced cookies can be frozen for up to 3 months.  Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.  Thaw at room temperature.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Erin Cernich
Nutrition information is calculated by a third-party and should only be considered an estimate and not a guarantee.
About the author photo.

about the author ...

I'm Erin and I'm all about desserts - and a little bit of butter!

I've tested, written, and photographed hundreds of recipes on my website. Here you'll find the tastiest small batch gluten free and traditional desserts - all homemade, all simple, and all for you!

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comments & reviews

2 thoughts on “Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing”

  1. 5 stars
    These cookies turned out so well! I had despaired of ever making cookies from scratch again as all of my attempts failed since I moved to Colorado, but these turned out perfectly.

    1. Erin | Butter and Bliss

      Hi Jen – I’m so glad to hear that! I avoided baking for so long because of our altitude, but I’m finding the smaller batch bakes turn out great. Still working on perfecting bread with yeast … 🙂 Thank you for visiting the blog and trying the recipe!

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