Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

7 Nov

I made these the week before my big birthday cupcake fest, after I made that pumpkin blondie cake for the second time. I needed something to do with the leftover frosting from that, and I felt that these cookies would be a very suitable match for it. They were fun to make, and actually a little difficult. I couldn’t find the cider mix that the original recipe called for, so I had to improvise a little bit. All I could find was CARAMEL flavored apple cider mix in a big container, so I bought that. Although the mix did smell very apple-y, I was worried that there would end up being too much caramel flavor, since the mix wasn’t supposed to even BE flavored. So I didn’t really measure out the mix, I just kept pouring it into the batter until it tasted good enough to me. I regret not adding more flavor than I did, though. The batter tasted SO much like apples that I was getting worried, but the flavor actually mellowed a lot during the baking process, and I was left wanting more of the apple flavor that had disappeared. To fix it, I actually sprinkled some of the cider mix on top of the icing, which fixed it quite nicely!

Caramel Apple Cider Cookies with Cinnamon-Vanilla Frosting
(From HERE – makes about 4 dozen)

What you need:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (7.4 ounce) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix (*not sugar free*)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 (14 ounce) bag Kraft Caramels, unwrapped

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, and spray with cooking spray. The melted caramel WILL stick to it.

2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.  With an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar, salt and all 10 packages of apple cider drink mix powder, until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.  Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.

3. Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut (about 2 tablespoons).  Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely. Shape the dough into a ball, and place on parchment covered cookie sheets about 3 inches apart. Cookies will be on the larger side.

4. Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Once the cookies are done, carefully slide the parchment or silpat off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter.  Allow cookies to cool on the parchment paper until they are only slightly warm, but cool enough to handle and not fall apart. I used a spatula to separate my cookies from the foil I used (because I was out of parchment paper), since the caramel was so sticky.

5. While cookies cool, prepare the frosting.

6. Allow cookies to finish cooling upside down, either on the parchment paper, a rack, or wherever else you’d like. When cookies are completely cool and the caramel in the bottom no longer gooey or sticky, turn them over and ice them!

We took these to our Ultimate game that night and shared them with both teams. Everyone loved them. My biggest complaint, though, is the caramel in the middle. While it DOES melt a bit during the baking process, once the cookies cooled, it hardened back up. If I make these again I will need to figure out how to keep it from hardening again. I felt especially bad, because we’d left them sitting in the cold while we played our 2 hour game, so when we handed them out, the caramel was kind of like a giant rock right in the center, and very hard to chew through. We took the leftovers home, and after sitting in our warm apartment, the caramel had loosened again to be edible, at least. So if you plan on taking these to an event, I suggest keeping them as warm as possible for as long as possible!

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