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!
Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing
I never paid much attention to apple season, prior to starting a baking blog. I always saw them in abundance at the grocery, regardless of the season. Fast forward to now, and I have great appreciation for the variety of apples when it is actually apple season.
However, don’t get too excited or nervous. We aren’t using an exotic or fancy variety of apple for this cookie recipe. I like to use Honeycrisp apples for baking. I like that they have a balance of sweet and tart flavor. Additionally, they are crisp and stay firm when baked.
Features of the Soft Apple Cookies
- Soft – These cookies are incredibly soft, and almost cake-like. Perfect to hold tender apple chunks.
- Small Batch – This Soft Apple Cookie recipe makes 8 small cookies.
- Easy – There is 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. I make my own Pumpkin Pie Spice (maybe I’ll post my recipe someday?), however make your holiday baking easy and just use the pre-made variety!
- 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.
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. Plus, smaller batches mean more cookie varieties you can make in a day!
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 top them with caramel icing which can quickly become indulgent!
What You Need To Make Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing
- All Purpose Flour
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda – We use both to provide lift, texture, color, and balance the sour cream acidity.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Unsalted Butter
- Granulated Sugar
- Dark Brown Sugar – For the caramel icing.
- Powdered Sugar – For the caramel icing.
- Sour Cream – Make the cookies soft, tender, and cakey.
- Whole Milk – For the caramel icing.
- Egg Yolk
- Vanilla Extract
- Mixing Bowl
- Hand Held Mixer
- #40 Cookie Scoop – This is my go-to #40 cookie scoop.
- Baking Sheet and Parchment Paper
- Heavy Duty Small Saucepan – Heavy duty saucepans cook and distribute heat evenly. This is especially important when making caramel.
How to make Soft Apple Cookies
- Prepare your baking sheet – This small batch cookie recipe only requires one baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Which means, no need to rotate two different pans half-way through baking!
- Dice your apples – Keep in mind the apple cookies are small, so you want your apple chunks to be proportional for the size of cookie.
- Cream the butter and sugar – This starts in the one and only mixing bowl your need for this recipe.
- Add the remaining yet ingredients – And mix all of the wet ingredients until they are smooth.
- Sift the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients – This is one of my shortcuts when making small batch recipes. Rather than getting out another mixing bowl, I set a sifter on top of the wet ingredient bowl, add all of the dry ingredients to the sifter, and sift into the bowl. Easy. Plus, it makes sure you don’t have any unnecessary dry lumps in the batter.
- Scoop 8 equal portions of dough – I use a #40 cookie scoop for most of my cookie recipes. This is a medium size scoop and is equivalent to about 2 tablespoons. Place the cookie dough balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.
- Bake and cool – These apple cookies will take about 14 – 16 minutes to bake. Because they are soft, cakey cookies, do not overbake. Take the cookies out once the edges start to turn light golden brown. Cool the cookies completely on a wire rack.
- Make your icing – While the cookies are cooling, now is a good time to make your icing.
- Ice and enjoy – Icing the apple cookies is a simple drizzle of caramel icing over the cookies. Or if you are a little more daring, dunk the cookies in the icing!
Caramel Icing For Soft Apple Cookies
These Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing 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.
The reason I call it icing is because it is very similar to royal icing. Similar ingredients (powdered sugar) and similar result (it hardens as it dries). And you may be asking, do you have to make caramel to make caramel icing? The answer is yes.
How To Make Caramel Icing
- Melt the brown sugar and butter – The perfect ingredients for the beginning of rich caramel
- Add the milk – To give us the creamy flavor in a good caramel
- Cook to a boil – II you are familiar with making caramel and making very hot sugar, use caution. It is almost scary how hot it gets, and trust me, it does not feel good if it hits your skin!
- Add the powdered sugar – The consistency will remind you of royal icing once the powdered sugar is added.
- Drizzle it over the cookies – What is great about this icing – aside from the flavor! – is that it hardens as it cools. Which results in another layer of texture for the soft cookies.
Common Questions For Making Soft Apple Cookies With Caramel Icing
I have not tested a larger batch. Since we use a single egg yolk for this recipe, I can’t say for certain if using 2 egg yolks vs. 1 whole egg in a larger batch would work. If you try it, let me know! Any time I am unsure of the outcome of doubling a batch, I recommend just making two batches.
My recommendation is to use an apple that you like to eat. My preference for baking are often Honeycrisp apples because they have a balance of sweet and tart. And they stay firm when baked.
If you want to! Just keep in mind you want a larger ratio of batter in each cookies. Otherwise, they may just turn out like tiny baked apples!
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.
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!
If you have leftovers, the cookies can be stored covered at room temperature. They will stay soft for about 3 days.
More Small Batch Cookie Recipes For Fall
- Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips
- Almond Flour and Maple Cookies
- Toasted Coconut Maple Macaroons
- Pumpkin Spice Sugar Cookies with Maple Icing
- Small Batch Caramel Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Sugar Cookie Sandwiches
Soft Apple Cookies with Caramel Icing
- 1/2 cup apple, 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 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 smooth and 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. 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.
- 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 14-16 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.
- 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!