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Caramel Apple Cookies

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These soft, Caramel Apple Cookies are all flavor with warm apple pie spice, shredded fresh apple, sweet apple juice. And they’re topped with a thick, brown sugar frosting and roasted pecans for the ultimate fall indulgence.

We have been so excited to share this latest recipe obsession to hit our home with you. These Caramel Apple Cookies melt in your mouth.

And they are so addictive! You’ll wanna grab these ingredients and start baking today.

A white plate full of small golden colored cookies with a brown frosting on top and chopped nuts next to a jar of cinnamon sticks.

And as if it couldn’t get any better– not only are the toasted pecans optional, the caramel frosting is too!

So if you’re looking for healthier apple cookie then omit the frosting and pecans. You will find these cookies have a wonderful, warm flavor all on their own.

caramel apple cookie ingredients

  • dairy free butter— room temperature for 20 minutes; we use Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • brown sugar— packed
  • baking soda— this loses its potency after being opened for 6 months. We recommend labeling new containers with the date they are opened.
  • apple pie spice— or use a homemade blend of cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. The measurements are below in the recipe card.
  • kosher salt
  • egg— room temperature
  • apple cider or juice
  • gluten free all-purpose flour— our go-to is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1 to 1 Baking Mix. We purchase this flour blend in bulk here to save money. If stored in a cool place, this flour lasts months. And this blend contains xanthan gum.
  • xanthan gum— omit if your gluten free all-purpose blend contains this or guar gum
  • large apple–peeled, shredded
  • powdered sugar
  • toasted chopped pecans— this is an optional step; however if you enjoy pecans, this adds delicious nutty flavor to this cookie recipe. Also note– add these right away after icing the cookies as the caramel frosting sets quickly. Scroll below to learn more.
A white plate full of small golden colored cookies with a brown frosting on top and chopped nuts next to a jar of cinnamon sticks and  chopped pecans all over.

kitchen essentials for this recipe

  • stand-up electric mixer or handheld mixer
  • food grater
  • cookie trays— these have been our favorite for years
  • silicone baking mats or parchment paper
  • small cookie scoop— this will make scooping these cookies not only easy, but the same round shape
  • saucepan
  • whisk
  • angled spatula— we use these all the time in our kitchen
  • airtight container— place parchment paper between layers of stacked cookies to keep them from sticking together

frequently asked questions

how long should I soften the butter

Don’t make the same mistake we’ve made in the past– assuming “room temperature” butter means place the stick on the countertop for hours. This will only lead to flat cookies.

Instead room temperature means on the countertop for 20 minutes (still lightly chilled.)

what kind of apple works best

Any shredded apple works well in this recipe. We’ve used Granny Smith, Gala, and Braeburn and Pink Crisp.

Here is the grater we use for this recipe.

how do I make my own apple pie spice at home

To make your own apple pie spice blend at home combine  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4th tsp ground nutmeg, 1/8th tsp allspice and either a dash of ground ginger or ground cloves to replace the 1 tsp apple pie spice.

what does spoon and level method mean

This is so important to follow when using flour in any recipe.

Flour must be accurately measured for recipes to turn out. However many have been measuring flour inaccurately (including us for a time!)

For instance, if a recipe calls for one cup of flour, and you scoop the flour out of the bag with the measuring cup, you could end up with 1.25 times as much flour instead!

By scooping the flour directly out of the bag, one is essentially packing extra flour into the measuring cup.

This can make a huge difference in the taste and appearance of recipes.

Instead “spoon” the flour out by a large spoon and level the top of the measuring cup by scraping a knife across the top.

If you are intrigued by this method {like me} and wanna learn more, check this out by Love and Lemons.

do the cookies need to be frosted

No. These cookies are quite yummy on their own if you’d prefer to skip this step.

can I omit the toasted pecans or use something else

Yes. The toasted pecans or walnuts are completely optional. However, if you don’t have an allergy to them, we do suggest topping the cookies with them. They are wonderful.

frosting tips to follow

This frosting is mouthwatering! It also sets up very quickly and can become difficult to spread across the soft cookies. If this happens to you simply add few drops of water until it becomes spreadable again.

can these be baked ahead of time

These cookies are best when baked the day of. Leftover cookies are delicious too; store in an airtight container with parchment paper between cookie layers as these cookies are soft and moist.

And we were inspired to create this recipe from a similar traditional recipe on the dear chrissy website.

more apple recipes you will love

  • deep fried apple fritters— donut-like dough with chunks of apples fried and topped with a dreamy glaze. Enjoy these with your morning coffee or after dinner dessert.
  • glazed apple spice loaf bread— easy to prepare, moist, and deliciously flavored quick bread with apple butter and all the best fall spices
  • apple fritter bread— tender old-fashioned apple cinnamon sugar quick bread topped with a cinnamon sugar topping and drizzle

cookie recipes to pin now and bake

  • softest chocolate chip cookie— these cookies are so addictive. You’ll love them loaded with chocolate chips right off the cookie tray.
  • pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting— cookie is full of sweet pumpkin, spices, and topped with a dreamy cream cheese frosting. This recipe has a video you can follow along with.
  • fudgy brownie cookies— fudgy cake-like middle, chewy edges, and crackly crust make these cookies a favorite
  • soft sugar cookies— this recipe works perfectly with all your cookie cutters for the best-tasting sugar cookies throughout the year
  • gingerbread cookies— this soft gingerbread cookie dough is easy to roll out and use with cookie cutters. Your home will smell absolutely heavenly after baking these too.

lastly

These melt-in-your-mouth Caramel Apple Cookies are legit so warm, cozy, soft, and full of apple spice flavor, iced with a caramel-like frosting to send your taste buds out of this world.

Seriously legit. You’re going to have a hard time putting these cookies down.

Go ahead and snoop around our website, Eating Gluten and Dairy Free, for many more homemade recipes. Everything is always gluten and dairy free.

You will also find several more soy free recipes as well.

And definitely pin recipes from our Thanksgiving Day roundup and Christmas Desserts for every party and celebration during December.

Follow along on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Be sure to like and comment often so our posts keep showing up in your feed.

You don’t want to miss the very best of eating gluten and dairy free.

Eat well and feel well,

Jill

Caramel Apple Cookies

Prep Time24 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Keyword: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, soy free
Servings: 48 small cookies
Author: Eating Gluten and Dairy Free

Ingredients

Cookie Batter

  • ½ c dairy free butter room temperature for 20 minutes only
  • c brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple pie spice see note below
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • c apple juice
  • 1 egg room temperature
  • c gluten free all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum omit if gf flour blend contains this or guar gum
  • 1 apple large, peeled, shredded, any kind

Frosting

  • ½ c brown sugar packed
  • 3 tbsp dairy free butter
  • 3 tbsp apple cider or apple juice
  • 2⅔ c powdered sugar
  • ½ c optional–finely chopped pecans, toasted

Instructions

Apple Cookie Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Place baking mat or parchment paper on cookie trays; set aside.
  • In a stand-up electric mixer or in a large bowl with handheld mixer, beat the butter until smooth.
  • Add the brown sugar, baking soda, apple pie spice and salt. Beat until well combined on medium speed.
  • Then beat in the apple juice and egg until just combined.
  • Next add in the flour and xanthan gum if needed.
  • Lastly fold in the shredded apple until just combined.
  • Drop by round tablespoon on lined cookie trays. We like to use a small cookie scoop so the cookies are small and all have the same round shape. Place 12 small cookies on each cookie tray.
  • Bake for 8-11 minutes depending on the size of the cookies. The middle of the cookies will look slightly under baked; however, they will continue baking on the cookie tray after you remove them from the oven.
  • Allow cookies to cool completely before frosting.

Caramel Apple Frosting

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the brown sugar and butter with the apple juice until the sugar is dissolved and sugar is melted.
  • Remove from heat. Whisk in the powdered sugar, working very quickly.
  • Use the frosting immediately by frosting cookies with an angled spatula. Note– this frosting sets up extremely fast. Add toasted pecans to cookies as you frost them; otherwise the frosting will harden and won't hold the pecans.
  • If the frosting hardens before you've frosted all the cookies, add 1 teaspoon of hot water at a time until the frosting softens and you can frost again.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container on the countertop.
  • Roasted Pecans– add finely chopped pecans to a cookie tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 300°F for 15 minutes, remove and cool.

Notes

This frosting is mouthwatering! It also sets up very quickly and can become difficult to spread across the soft cookies. If this happens simply add few drops of water until it becomes spreadable again.
You can make your own apple pie spice blend at home by combining  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, and a 1/4th tsp ground nutmeg and 1/8th tsp allspice and a dash of either ground ginger or ground cloves to replace the 1 tsp apple pie spice.

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