This is an amazing cookie!
It tastes of autumn: apples, cider donuts, fresh apple cider and cinnamon.
It reminds me of hayrides, bonfires, dry leaves crackling under foot, and evenings cool enough for a sweatshirt.
This little delight captures the tastes and scents of fall in each bite.
Continue on for an easy to put together recipe and my commentary.
CARAMEL STUFFED APPLE CIDER COOKIES
Borrowed from Scrambled Henfruit who adapted the recipe very slightly from The Cooking Photographer. Thanks to both of you for this wonderful taste of Fall.
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)
A note about the quanitity of the ingredients: Having not made these before and wanting to do a test batch, plus having only purchased 6.8 ounces of caramels, and trying desperately not to keep such an abundance of baked goods on hand at one time because I eat them, I made a half batch. The recipe halved beautifully.
A note about the caramels: I couldn't find Kraft caramels (sadly). They're may favorite brand, but I didn't find them in our local HEB. I used the Brach's caramels and they worked just fine. Because the size of the Brach's caramel is larger than the Kraft one, the piece of dough I used for each one was slightly larger than a walnut.
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.
Mine looked like little hockey pucks on the pan. Sorry that I didn't take a photo because they looked adorable (in a pre-baked cookie sort of way.)
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.)
The twisting maneuver confused me at first until I encountered the first cookie where the caramel had oozed a little from the bottom. Trying to pick the cookie straight up off the parchment was difficult and the first time I ended up with the cookie coming apart. But the next time I felt the little ooze stick, I gave a quick twist and voila, no stickiness.
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.
The unsuspecting cookie lover might see just a simple sugar cookie … but alas the deception would be short lived because one bite tells a richer story.
These were wonderful. Very rich and nice and gooey. I will be making these again!
Finally … I like these best when they’re slightly warm. A few seconds in the microwave brings back the fresh out of the oven warmth.