I am not a bossy person by nature. I pretty much go with the flow- I'm a middle child for heaven's sake. But I'm going to tell you to do something. Now. Make these cookies. Make a cup of tea. Perch one of these puppies over your steaming hot tea for just a minute. Then take a bite, close your eyes and swoon over the gooey caramel apple deliciousness that is this cookie. I mean, it is fall. And what screams "Fall" more than caramel and apple cider?
This is another awesome recipe from Laura at The Cooking Photographer. (If you don't' know her blog, you really should make a visit- she has so many lovely recipes and photos!) All you'll need- in addition to what you probably already have in your pantry- is a bag of Kraft Caramels and a box of Alpine Instant Spiced Cider. (Yep, those little packets of powder that you mix with hot water.) These two magical ingredients take an ordinary sugar cookie base and transform it into this perfect tea-time treat.
These cookies are best enjoyed slightly warm, either from sitting atop your tea mug or microwaved for a few seconds. My favorite method? My tea mug of course. (I even used a pair of chopsticks this morning to suspend my cookie, since it was smaller than my big mug.) The warmth of the rising steam from the tea makes the caramel melt ever-so-slightly into a gooey center, surrounded by a crispy sweet-tart apple flavored cookie. Now tell me you can resist that!
Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)
- In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
- With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) 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.
- Refrigerate for about an hour. (If you're really impatient you don't have to do this, but it makes it so much easier to work with.)
- When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels.
- Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. (I used a rounded cookie scoop-full. My scoop holds about a Tablespoon.)
- 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. Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.
- Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.
- Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies (or how many caramels have been snitched out of your bag before you begin.) Store in an airtight container.