Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing are a delicious way to celebrate Fall! This is a small batch recipe for soft and cakey cookies, filled with apple chunks and all of the cozy spices in pumpkin pie spice. The cookies are finished with a buttery caramel glaze. The perfect cookie with hot apple cider!
Can I tell you how happy I am it is Fall? Well, I’m going to anyway. The crisp air, pumpkins, apples, sweaters, and the best of all – the baking shows on Food Network.
Yes – I spend the countless hours waiting for Halloween Wars to start. And from there, it only gets better.
Soft Apple Spice Cookies
I never paid much attention to apple season. Prior to starting a baking blog. I always saw them at the grocery, regardless of the season. But I now I have an appreciation for the variety of apples when it is actually apple season.
However, don’t get too excited. I used Honeycrisp apples for this recipe. I like the flavor and I like how they bake.
Let’s talk about these Soft Apple Cookies …
As the name suggests, they are soft. Almost cake-like. Perfect to hold tender apple chunks and a caramel icing. And we are adding all the spices you can think of that evoke Fall:
a.k.a – Pumpkin Pie Spice. I mean, let’s get real. We can add all of the spices individually, or grab the little jar that has been in the pantry since last Thanksgiving and make our lives easier.
Small Batch Fall Cookies
My small batch cookie recipes seem to be all over the place when it comes to servings. But I am ok with that. After all, baking is a science and sometimes the best batch comes out with a few more or less cookies than the last.
This small batch recipe makes 8 small cookies. And like any other small batch cookie recipe, this provides built-in portion control. Especially with these Apple Cookies – because we topping them with caramel icing.
And like most of my small batch cookie recipes, they are pretty easy to make:
- Only one bowl – and this usually starts with the wet ingredients
- I sift the dry ingredients over the bowl – this is not a must, I just like the extra security that my flour is free of lumps.
- Hand held mixer vs. the stand mixer – because of the small batch, often times there are just not enough ingredients to make the big mixer work properly.
- One egg – usually … that way you don’t run out when you want to make a Frittata the next morning (I speak from experience).
- One baking sheet – I LOVE this. I am not a fan of having to use two baking sheets and having to rotate them while baking. That said – if more than one is needed – I still only bake one at a time.
And of course – a smaller batch means I can make a variety of cookies in one day, and not have thousands of leftovers!
For some of the reasons mentioned above, these cookies are easy. And I like easy. I think most baking bloggers will tell you their recipes are easy … seems like a must these days for baking.
Maybe there should be a standard for using the word ‘easy’ when it comes to a baking recipe. For my definition, I will say:
- Requires only one bowl
- Ready in 30 minutes or less – though chances are I may change this requirement to 1 hour … wink
- Only need a few ingredients – and not super fancy ones that can only be ordered online through a specialty store in France
- Easy with layers of flavor – this should really be true for any bake, but if the final result tastes more complex than just sugar, that should be our goal. hee hee
These Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing aren’t complete without, you guessed it, 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.
The reason I call it icing – because it is almost like making a royal icing. Similar ingredients (powdered sugar) and similar result (it hardens as it dries). And you may be asking, are we using and/or making caramel – and the answer is yes.
- We start with brown sugar and butter – the perfect ingredients for the beginning of rich caramel
- A little milk is added – to give us the creamy flavor in a good caramel
- It is cooked until it gets crazy hot – it does need to reach a boil. And if you are familiar with crazy hot sugar, it can be somewhat scary how hot it gets!
From there we add the powdered sugar and the consistency will be reminiscent of royal icing. And the lovely thing about this icing – when you drizzle it over the cookies, it will harden and create another layer of texture for the soft cookies. Yum.
Tips For Making Soft Apple Spice Cookies with Caramel Icing
The most important thing, that I have seemed to have forgotten to emphasize, is the apples.
- Choose any apple you like – I have no hard set rules on the proper apples for baking. I go by what apple tastes best to you. Honeycrisp are my go-to apples if I’m eating one plain, so that’s what I used here.
- Cut the apple into small cubes/chunks – Keeping in mind these are cookies, we want small bite-sized pieces
- Use a cookie scoop – to scoop/measure out the cookie dough in equal amounts. It’s just easier. I promise.
- Watch the bake time – oven vary, so what took me 14 minutes may take you more or less. And because these are supposed to be cakey cookies, we don’t want them to turn out dry.
- Let the cookies cool completely before icing – unless you want the icing to be a glaze 🙂
That’s it! First apple cookie of the season. And it is a gem if I do say so myself!
More Cookie Recipes
- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing
- Toasted Coconut Maple Macaroons
- Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
- Chocolate Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
- Small Batch Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Small Batch Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
Soft Apple Cookies with Caramel Icing
- 1/2 cup apples, chopped in small cubes (about 1/2 an apple – I used Honeycrisp)
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons sour cream, room temperature
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 4 and 1/2 teaspoons whole milk
- 1/2 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup confectioner's (powdered) sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F degrees and adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
- 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 thoroughly mixed.
- 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.
- 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 cookie scoop.
- Bake the cookies for 14-16 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies turn light golden brown. 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.
- 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 2-3 minutes.
- 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!