Apple Pie Cowboy Cookies
It's officially fall in the States and I am in Australia, happily so of course. The spring air might still hold a chill here but the sun is beaming down her warm promise, summer is just around the corner. I am ready for the beach, prepared to join the many Sydney folk in fully embracing their birthright of sand and cerulean wave. Yet, it is simply impossible for me to overlook an entire season of autumnal recipes just because I have sand in my shoes already! Heavens no, not a chance. It's hard not to have some foliage feelings as the thick sweaters and pumpkins start cheerily appearing on the news feeds of friends back home. That twinge of longing for the mountains of New England, draped in orange capes and veils of red, is bone deep. Autumn has always been my favorite season, and there is just something so right about apple pie that it transcends whole hemispheres of tradition. So here is all my nostalgia, longing, and celebration slapped together and filled with thick white frosting.
Guess what they don't have here? Candy Corn. My teeth rejoice while me heart grows faint. Really though, it is a great excuse to make my own, inventing a healthier and more corny-esque version of the corn syrup sculpted relics of the past. No offense Candy Corn, I will always have several soft spots and a tummy ache for you.
These Cowboy Cookies are my version of an old-fashioned oatmeal sandwich cookie. This "Little Debbie" is made with fresh ingredients and no-preservatives so it won't last for the entirety of your road trip to Portland, OR under a carseat. They are so tasty and comforting that they won't even last a day, infused with all the flavor of an autumn apple pie. You don't even need a pie dish. And if you play with this recipe you can make hundreds of variations. I made a popular version of these sandwich cookies for Roots Cafe in Brooklyn, and I ended up calling them Cowboy Cookies because 1) alliteration rocks, and 2) my dad is a cowboy ( yes, way!). The sandwich cookie is a staple folks, an honest to goodness institution. Take this simple recipe and have a ball. Maybe you could run through a corn maze for me while you're at it? Oh! and definitely go for that extra large pumpkin and that jug of fresh apple cider.
Apple Pie Cowboy Cookies Recipe adapted from cookie guru, Joy the Baker
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed 1 hunky large egg 1 teaspoons vanilla extract 1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats 1 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh nutmeg 1/2 cup toasted and chopped pecans 1 cup apple pie filling
Apple Pie Filing:
2 cups, about 2 1/2 apples chopped into small cubes 1/2 stick of butter 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed 2 Tablespoon orange or tangelo juice 2 teaspoons cinnamon pinch of salt dash of fresh nutmeg
Frosting: 1/2 stick unsalted butter 2 cups confectionary sugar 1 tsp orange, tangelo or lemon juice pinch of salt dash of milk or cream
1. Make apple pie filling pie placing the butter and chopped apples in a medium frying pan on medium heat. Add brown sugar, spices and juice. Sauté apples until soft and tender and the a little bit of the sauce starts to thicken and caramelize, 30-35 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl or kitchen aid, cream together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix thoroughly. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together into the wet mixture. Blend. Fold in oatmeal. Once the oatmeal is incorporated also fold in toasted and chopped pecans. Add a tablespoon of flour to your apple mixture before adding it into the batter. This will help incorporate the apples and prevent the batter from becoming too wet. Place in the refrigerator too set for at least 30 minutes.
3. Remove batter from the fridge and grease a small ice cream scoop or kitchen teaspoon. Wet hands to prevent dough from sticking and begin to take a heaping teaspoon of dough and form it into a small ball. Place cookies on prepared cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes until golden brown on the edges. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the pan before transferring to plate or cooling rack to cool completely. Try to get an even number of cookies so each cookie has a sandwich partner! There is usually one solo, no worries, there is usually a little extra frosting too...
4. While your cookies are cooling, make the frosting. With a hand mixer cream the butter until smooth and sift in the confectionary sugar, add juice and a dash of salt. Blend until smooth, adding a dash of milk if the mixture is difficult to mix and too thick. We want spreadable but still substantial filling. Set aside and when the cookies are completely cool, spread frosting on one side of a cookie and squish with a partner. Apple Pie and frosting will make your dreams come true.
Monday pro-tips: Fresh nutmeg and a microplane can make your baked goods and savory dishes rock n' roll.
See you soon dear feasters, feast on!