Friday, September 28, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies

Finally, an apple recipe. This is not because I’ve run out of zucchini or cherry tomatoes or kale. It’s just that all these lovely apples are so easily available and so delicious, and let’s talk about those already. Sheesh!

I’d tossed around the idea for a while of making a cookie based on this one but with dried apples and either cinnamon or caramel flavored baking chips. Well, I had planned to make my own dried apples, and I’ve done this with great success using a food dehydrator, but I just couldn’t get around to doing it again. For a couple years. Again: Sheesh!

Anyway, I came across a good-looking recipe in Tish Boyle’s The Good Cookie that required no apple dehydrating, but just a bit of sautéing instead.  This is an oatmeal cookie, with much of what you’d expect from an oatmeal cookie, but which, I was happy to discover, was even better than most. Just one apple is needed and, while I used Apple Jack brandy to enhance its flavor after cooking it up in a pan with butter, you could use apple cider or apple juice concentrate. In fact, I think the cookies would be just fine without any of those liquids at all.

I added cinnamon flavored baking chips to these cookies, which tasted great with the apple and oats. I also added a pinch of nutmeg, which I think serves to enhance the flavor combination of apples and cinnamon. When the cookies are fresh, there are nice bits of tender apple in just about every bite. Something unusual happened to my cookies after they sat overnight, however. The apples kind of dissolved into the cookie, becoming unrecognizable, but keeping the cookies pleasantly moist with a hint of apple flavor.

While the lovely local apples were the inspiration for trying this recipe, the most important thing I learned was that this is a really great oatmeal cookie recipe. The texture is moist and pleasantly chewy but not crumbly or sticky. There’s plenty of brown sugar to give them a slight caramel-y flavor and there’s a good ratio of oats to flour.  I used regular rolled oats, but the original recipe called for quick oats. Since the rest of the recipe is so well-balanced and flavorful, I have to trust that quick oats would work, although I found the regular oats to be just fine.

It think the basic cookie dough here is going to be my new go-to oatmeal cookie and it could be varied in many ways: different spices, dried fruit (raisins, of course), or maybe even chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips….I love this recipe! Especially with the apple, of course.


Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookies
Adapted from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle

You could replace the apple brandy with apple cider or apple juice concentrate if desired.

10 tablespoons butter (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons), room temperature, divided
1 medium apple, peeled, cored and finely chopped (1/4-inch cubes)
2 tablespoons apple brandy (such as Apple Jack or Calvados), optional
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, preferably freshly-grated
1 ¾ cups rolled oats
1 cup cinnamon flavored baking chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a medium-size skillet over medium heat. Add the apple and sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes or so.  Add the apple brandy if using and cook about 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

2. Place the remaining 1 stick butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer (or other large bowl). Add the brown sugar and granulated sugar. Beat at medium speed until creamy and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and oats. Stir to mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Stir until just moistened.

4. Stir in the cinnamon chips. With a spoon or spatula, gently stir in the cooked apple. (Dough can be chilled for a few hours at this point if desired.)

5. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment.  Scoop and drop the dough by heaping tablespoons (I used a 1 ½ inch scoop) onto the prepared pans. Flatten each dough mound slightly with your hands or the back of a spoon.

6. Bake at 375 F for 11-13 minutes or until set in the middle and gently browned on the edges. Let cool on the pan for a minute or two, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies. Store in an airtight container for a few days.

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