Fresh Apple Cookies with Vanilla Icing

fresh apple cookies

Fresh apples are finally here! I normally stop eating apples by June or July. By then, they’ve been in cold storage for months and can become mealy in texture and severely lack in flavor. I’m always really excited to move on to berry season. I try to enjoy it to it’s fullest while it lasts then, always, I’m ready for crunchy, juicy apples again.

I’m no expert on all the varieties but I know that Fuji and Honeycrisp apples are my favorites to snack on, as they are quite sweet, and Granny Smith apples are my favorite to bake and cook with (never to snack on), as they are quite tart. I’m a simple gal.

My mom used to make these cake-like apple cookies when my Uncle Dave and Aunt Wese visited us in Eugene from Bend. I think she was particularly proud that Uncle Dave liked them so much because my Aunt Wese was a phenomenal baker and cook. Almost everyone on Dad’s side of the family was and she never made a secret of how intimidated she was to cook for them. Not that she would ever admit it outright, her body language and tone spoke louder than words on most subjects. Frankly, it was beyond me why anyone would ever make a cookie that had no chocolate component whatsoever, but I remember being pleasantly surprised and enjoying them if they were all that was available. The vanilla icing was key.

When I made these last week, my children, who apparently aren’t as hard up for sweets as I was, were not impressed. The apples (pardon the expression) don’t fall far from the tree and they have inherited the “it’s not dessert if it’s not chocolate” gene from me. My husband, however, was very impressed and accused me, once again, of intentionally holding out on him since I had never made these particular cookies before. He’s such a drama queen. I loved them as well, far more than I did as a child, and I highly recommend this recipe as an excellent use of those darling green apples.

Fresh Apple Cookies with Vanilla Icing 
(makes about 30 cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
1/2 cup butter, softened to room temp
1 1/3 cup brown sugar or *coconut sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup walnuts or pecans (optional)
1 cup apple, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple juice or milk

Icing
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 TB butter, softened to room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt
2 – 3 TB milk

*Coconut sugar can be found in specialty food markets or on Amazon.com where I purchased mine. I like to use it in place of brown sugar. It’s similar in texture and flavor with a deeper caramel flavor, it tastes nothing like coconut, and is said to have a low glycemic index and won’t lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels. It also contains essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, zinc and iron as well as B vitamins. It’s definitely a more expensive option but it’s worth considering if you have a sweet tooth. It’s got to be cheaper than diabetes :).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat 2 cookie sheets with cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until combined. Blend in egg and vanilla.

Meanwhile, chop your apple, nuts and raisins or dried cranberries (which I used). I omitted the nuts because of Ella’s allergy which seems silly now since she refused to try a single bite. (She did lick the icing off the top of one)

Mix in half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture then add apple, nuts, and dried fruit. Add apple juice or milk and mix well, then add remaining flour mixture, mix well.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on prepared pan, leaving @ 2 inches space between each drop of batter.

Bake 12 – 14 minutes then transfer to cooling rack.

To make the icing, combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, salt and 2 TB milk.

Whisk together until smooth. Add more milk if necessary. It should be a nice, spreadable consistency, not too stiff.

Ice the cookies while they’re still slightly warm, if possible.

Enjoy a little taste of fall…

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”

Shel Silverstein

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