October 4, 2010
I love fall recipes. There's something about the seasonal ingredients - apples, spices, toasted nuts, pumpkins and those tiny versions of grown up squash - that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. They remind me of long, dark nights sitting at home beside a crackling fireplace, sipping hot cider, and the soft glow of a chair-side lamp, as I eat the last crumbs of a fall inspired dessert. Mom's apple squares, spiced pumpkin bread, or these Harvest Apple Cookies that I came up with are perfect for such nights.
This recipe was inspired by those little cookie kiosks in the mall. You know, the ones with rows of perfectly round, delicious looking cookies, which cost an arm and a leg for the pleasure of just one. As a kid, I used to think that these cookies were the best in the world, but as a grown up my opinion has changed. We stopped by one of these kiosks the other day, as my son eyed the sprinkle topped cookies strategically placed at his eye level. Don't you love how they do that? He got his sprinkle delight - Note: He would eat a piece of cardboard if it was covered in sprinkles - and I decided to go with something filled with apples and spice. My hopes of a fall cookie love affair were dashed, as I bit into a dry, crumbly cookie, that was bland at best. The sprinkle covered cardboard might have tasted better:)
So, still craving what I was hoping to find in that cookie, I went home to make my own. I started thinking of everything that I could put in it, and had to hold myself back from throwing in everything inside my cabinets . I ended up keeping it simple: An oatmeal based cookie with spiced dried apples, rum soaked raisins, and toasted walnuts. I decided to "fancy" a few up and drizzled them with a brown butter glaze. The result was an autumn explosion of flavor. Yum!
Harvest Apple Cookies with Brown Butter Glaze
4 tart apples - peeled and cored
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
3/4 cups raisins
1 tsp rum or rum flavoring
1 tsp vanilla flavoring
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
3 cups quick cooking oats
3/4 cups toasted walnuts, finely chopped
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp water
For the rum soaked raisins: Place the raisins in a small bowl, cover with enough hot water to cover them. Add the vanilla and rum flavoring. Let the raisins soak for about 3 hours or overnight. When ready to make the cookies, drain the raisins and set aside.
For the spiced dried apples: Preheat oven to 275F. Peel and core 4 medium sized apples. Slice them into circles about 1/4 inch thick, and place them in a small bowl with some lemon juice. Sprinkle the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice over the apple slices. Stir and toss with a spoon to evenly coat. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet, and arrange the apple slices on the wire rack. Put in the oven and bake for about an hour, until the apples are dried but not crisp. Remove from oven and cut into small pieces. Set aside or store in an airtight container for later use.
For the cookies: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until fluffy. Add the sugars and cream together. Add the eggs and vanilla, mixing well. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Gradually add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, mixing until combined. Stir in the oats, apples, raisins and walnuts. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350F, drop cookies by heaping tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 2 minutes, then transfer cookies to a wire rack. In the meantime, put the 4 Tbsp of butter in a medium skillet, cook and stir over medium high heat until the butter begins to turn golden. It will begin to foam, then turn from pale yellow to golden, and small brown flecks will form in the bottom of the pan. As soon as you see the butter begin to form flecks, remove from heat. Add the powdered sugar to the brown butter, and whisk to incorporate. Add vanilla and enough water to make a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the brown butter glaze over the slightly warm cookies. Let cool. Serve and enjoy!
Note: I prepared the dried apples and raisins the day before I made the cookies. This makes less prep work for when you are ready to make your cookies.