Thursday, September 27, 2012

Apple Cider Caramel Filled Cookies

One of my favorite fall memories from my childhood has to be going apple-picking with my brothers and my dad.  We all piled into the car and drove out to the orchard.  They give you this apple-picking contraption that basically consists of a metal basket on the end of a long pole (reminiscent of a lacrosse stick) that makes it super easy to picke apples from the ground, but I think my brothers and I took the opportunity to do a little tree climbing as well. 

After we picked the apples we got to see how apple cider is was pretty cool watching them press down the appled...and let's be real, how delicious is apple cider?  I just remember the whole place smelling amazing.  If you have kids...I would highly recommend apple-picking as a super fun fall activity. 

Speaking of apple cider...

I made apple cider flavored cookies stuffed with caramel.  Is it caramel or carmel?  Is there a difference?

All I know is I brought these things in to work and they were gone.  I had lots of nice compliments...they are a really nice way of incorporating apple flavor in an unusual way.  Plus, it's nice to change it up during a time of year when we're typically subject to a veritable pumpkin onslaught (but I'm definitely still going to sling pumpkin goods at you like nobody's've been warned).

One of my coworkers said these taste like those caramel apple suckers.  Which I take as a compliment because everyone knows those things are too good.

I know I usually give an assessment of how tasty the raw cookie dough is (proceed with caution), and surprisingly...this is one of those weird rare occasions when the dough doesn't do the cookie justice.  Sure it's good (albeit tart), but the finished product will blow you out of the water.

Apple Cider Caramel Filled Cookies
(from The Girl Ate Everything)

3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 (7.4oz) box Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink Mix (10 packets, next to the hot chocolate at the grocery store)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 (14oz) bag of Kraft chewy caramels

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, cream together sugar, butter, salt, and all 10 packets of the apple cider mix until light and fluffy.

Beat in eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combined. 

Add the flour mixture a little at a time mixing until just combined.

Preheat the oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment (you don't want to skip this step or the caramel will stick to your pan and be a real headache). 

Unwrap about 36-40 caramels and have them at the ready.

Scoop out about a walnut sized amount of cookie dough.  Press caramel down into the center, sealing the dough up around it and rolling it into a ball.  Place on parchment paper, spacing about 2 inches apart.

Bake about 14 minutes at 350 or until the cookies turn a light brown at the edges.  Remove from oven.

Carefully slide the parchment paper, cookies still on it, onto the counter.  Allow the cookies to cool on the counter on the parchment paper for about 5 minutes.  After 5 minutes, gently flip them over so the bottoms are facing up and allow them to cool the rest of the way.  This prevents the caramel from seeping out the bottom (hopefully).

You should end up with about 3 dozen cookies.  Store in an airtight container.  If you want to microwave them to reheat, do so very carefully, they get very hot and melty very quickly. 

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