SALTED CARAMEL APPLE PIE COOKIES
Serves: makes about 20-24 cookies
For the dough:
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
- 2 eggs, whisked
- 2-3 tablespoons milk
For the caramel:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 2 large apples, cored, peeled and small diced
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
For the egg wash:
- 1 egg, whisked with 1 teaspoon water
- sugar for sprinkling
- The dough. Make the dough following the directions given in this recipe. Form dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for around 30 minutes. A chilled dough is easier to handle.
- The caramel. First, make sure you have all of the ingredients ready. Heat the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently with a rubber spatula (or wooden spoon). Once it starts melting, stir continuously as it cooks, until all clumps are melted down. Be careful not to burn. When the sugar is completely melted and reaches a deep amber color, immediately add all the butter. BE CAREFUL because the caramel will bubble rapidly when you do this! Stir until butter is completely melted. Immediately remove pan from heat, and carefully pour in the heavy cream. Stir until caramel is smooth. Stir in the salt. Let cool in saucepan for a couple of minutes before pouring into a mason jar. Let cool to room temperature (makes 1 cup).
- The filling. Toss the diced apples and lemon juice in a medium bowl. In a separate, small bowl, stir together the sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cornstarch. Pour this mixture over the apples and gently toss to combine. Set aside.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Assembling apple pie cookies. Work with one dough ball at a time (keep the others refrigerated till ready to use). On a floured surface roll out the dough into a thin sheet (about ⅛ to ¼-inch thick). Use a 2½ to 3 inch round cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as possible from the dough. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet and repeat the process with the second dough ball. When the baking sheet is full, put it in the refrigerator. Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls. Refrigerate the dough scraps if they become too stretchy and soft. I usually place it in the freezer, so it chills faster.
- Place about a heaping teaspoon or so of the apple filling in the center of the circle. Add a dollop of salted caramel on top (don’t add too much or it will leak out during baking). Layer a second round of dough on top and press the edges to seal. Repeat this process with the remaining circles and the filling. Refrigerate the cookies for about 30 minutes or until ready to bake.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- When all mini pies are chilled, crimp the edges of each pie with a fork. Lightly brush the tops of the cookies with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with the sugar. Use a paring knife to cut slits in the top of each pie.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden brown (watch carefully as they can burn quickly). Remove from oven and let sit for a minute or two before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Microwave the remaining caramel until smooth and pourable, and drizzle over the top of each cookie. Enjoy!