Thursday, October 20, 2011

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

Yep, I’ve gone out and done it again and I joined yet another monthly cooking challenge.  I now participate in The Secret Recipe Club, the Crazy Cooking Challenge, Cook Around the Globe and now my newest, The Improv Cooking Challenge.  This challenge is hosted by Sheryl over at Lady Behind the Curtain and how this challenge works is, each month two ingredients are assigned and you can make any recipe of your choice as long as it includes those two ingredients.  For this, the inaugural month of The Improv Cooking Challenge Sheryl has chosen two ingredients which are perfect for this time of year, apples and caramel. 

IMG_1191eWhen I first saw the two required ingredients I knew immediately which recipe I would be making for the challenge as I’ve had Scrambled Hen Fruit's recipe for Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies saved in my “need to make” file since she first posted it almost a year ago.  It was another one of those recipes which called to me but I just never got around to making until this opportunity put it front and center. 

I did have one difficulty in making this recipe and that was, for the life of me I couldn’t find the traditional square wrapped Kraft Caramels anywhere locally and I was just itching to make the cookies so I decided to make them with Kraft Caramel Bits.  Then wouldn’t you know it, two days after making the cookies I spotted the Kraft Caramels and because the cookies were so delicious with the Kraft Caramel Bits I just had to make them again with the traditional caramels.  Though we loved the cookies with the caramel bits I do think that the traditional caramels worked better in that I ended up with a larger gooey caramel center but I’ll tell you, the bits were a darn good substitute and provided nice gooey bits in the cookie so either way these cookies were a hit. 

IMG_0955eFill a medium cookie scoop with the cookie batter.

IMG_1177ePress an unwrapped Kraft Caramel or

IMG_0956eSix-to-seven Kraft Caramel Bits into the center of the cookie dough.

IMG_0958ePinch the cookie dough to cover the caramel or bits.

IMG_1180eReady for the oven.

IMG_0960eGorgeous cookies hot from the oven.

I made a couple of changes to the cookie batter.  The first time that I made the cookies with the bits I mixed the batter up exactly as written on Scrambled Hen Fruit's blog and then I did my usual “quality control” taste testing of the batter.  The flavor was wonderful with the apple cider flavor shining through but then I thought caramel apple pie and decided to add some additional apple pie spices to give it more of that apple pie flavor.  The final batter was delicious and once baked everyone loved the flavors of the cookies.  When I made the cookies the second time with the traditional caramels I made one additional change, I substituted half of the granulated sugar with brown sugar just to bump up the caramel flavor a wee bit more.  I liked the batter and cookies best with the additional spices and the brown sugar and it would have been wonderful baked up on it’s own or with some toasted nuts or as I followed through and did, with the addition of the caramel.  Whether you choose to use the original recipe or one of my variations you’re looking at a fabulous tasting cookie.

IMG_0967eCookies made with caramel bits.

IMG_1193e Cookies made with traditional caramels.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies  (Adapted from here) 

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets (I found this in my grocery store near the hot chocolate mixes.)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract  
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice 
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramel Bits (11 oz.) or Kraft Caramels (14 oz.)

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line baking sheets with either a Silpat or parchment paper.  In the bowl of a stand mixer add the butter, sugar, salt and the contents of all 10 packets of Alpine Spiced Apple Cider and blend until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time mixing until incorporated.  Add the vanilla and blend until mixed.  Add the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and flour and mix until well blended. 

Using a medium cookie scoop (1.5 TBS) fill the scoop level with the cookie dough.  While the cookie dough is still in the scoop, press either one unwrapped Kraft Caramel or 6-7 Kraft Caramel Bits into the center of the dough and then pinch the dough to cover the caramel.  Release the scoop of dough onto prepared cookie sheet placing about 2-inches apart. 

Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, allow the cookies to partially cool on the Silpat or parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully remove from the Silpat or twist off the parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) The cookies can cool completely on the Silpat and they release without any problems but If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies, how much batter you’ve “taste tested” and how many caramels you’ve snitched from the bag before you begin.  Store in an airtight container.

Once the cookies have cooked completely, to enjoy the nice soft caramel center again either set your cookie over a nice hot cup of tea to warm up the caramel or microwave the cookie for approximately 15 seconds.

Enjoy!

45 comments:

  1. OMG! They look so yummy. I'm going to have to make them but I'm going to have to substitute that apple cider powder. Don't think we have it in Australia. (Popping over from Improv Challenge.)

    Anne @ Domesblissity

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  2. These look amazing! I am a fellow Improv Challenge participant and your newest follower.

    www.itsybitsypaperblog.com

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  3. Yum! I have to try these. I always have Alpine Cider packets in the house. Mine are the Caramel Apple Scones http://patitudes.blogspot.com/2011/10/caramel-apple-scones-improv-cooking.html

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  4. Those look simple enough -- I will have to try them with my mom's caramels :)

    Stopping by from the Improv Challenge.

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  5. What a GREAT recipe!!! Thanks so much for participating in THE IMPROV COOKING CHALLENGE! I can't wait to see what you make next month using Pumpkin and Cream Cheese.
    ---Sheryl---

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  6. Oh my gosh, my husband would love these cookies! Apple cider is one of his favorites. I'm part of the Improv Cooking Challenge too, how fun!

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  7. I love how you did the caramel in the cooking, they look so tasty! I am here from the Improv (I'm #30)and also your newest follower!

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  8. Oh my. Lisa, I so wish you lived next door to me. I would volunteer to be your taste tester every time! I think I'm just going to have to buckle down and make these myself.

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  9. I'm drooling! These look fantastic.

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  10. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your cookies caught my eye as I was scrolling through the links this morning. I have these on my list to make soon. Thanks for sharing;.

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  11. Lisa, I haven't been by in SO long! I'm delighted you posted on my blog today and lead me to you fabulous cookies! I definitely have to try these yummy gems!

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  12. Oh wow! These look absolutely amazing, Lisa. So glad you shared this awesome recipe. I can't wait to try it.

    Cheers,
    Tracy Screaming Sardine

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  13. Those look wonderful and are SO pretty! Awesome job!

    Thanks for coming by my blog. This was a fun challenge!!

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  14. Thank you for visiting me. These are some great looking cookies, and I'm glad the Lady Behind the Curtain has brought us together.

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  15. Look that little surprise in the center! It was fun being in the first ICC with you!

    Amy @ A Little Nosh

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  16. I absolutely love these......great idea. The caramel inside is genius.

    Bibi @ Frugal Wannabe Cooks

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  17. These look SOOO delicious! I am a huge caramel fan, so anything with Kraft caramels in it definitely has my vote!

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  18. Lisa, these really look amazing! My daughter would go nuts for these!

    Ellen

    http://everydaysisers.blogspot.com

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  19. These look delicious! I love the addition of caramels inside :)

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  20. OMG,Lisa - these cookies look phenomenal! The apple cider with ooey gooey caramel is perfection. I have to stop looking at these photos - NOW! Glad I don't have that apple cider powder on hand! If I did, I'd never get out today..would be baking these! lol

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  21. These look fabulous! My sister saw your recipe and decided she had to try them right then. ;)

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  22. These look delectable! I love the idea of the chewy center and addition of cardamon - going to have to try this some time.

    Thanks for sharing with us:)

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  23. Seeing your cookies is making me want to make another batch right now. :) I love your spice additions- I'll have to try them next time. So glad you loved them!

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  24. Those look fantastic! I think I will add those my "need to bake" list!

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  25. I must make these. I am printing up the recipe. You make the best dishes.

    Would you link this to Bake with Bizzy. I have been offline and have not looked to see what is there, yet but I would love to have this recipe posted.

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  26. Wow these cookies look so chewy and perfectly round! I love how you put the caramel inside the cookie; what a great idea.

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  27. These look amaaaaazing! I've gotta make these soon! Thanks for sharing :)

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  28. They look too good to be true! Yummmmm!

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  29. I cannot wait to try these! Your cookies look perfect! What a great idea for this month's challenge!

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  30. I've been eyeing a few recipes like this! I hope to get to make them this weekend!

    Thanks for linky to THIS WEEK'S CRAVINGS! (next week's theme is National Men Make Dinner.... let's see if we can get lots of men in the kitchen cooking!)

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  31. Oh, this looks wonderful. I love every ingredient in the title. Thanks!

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  32. Luv luv this cookie. I also luv gooey caramel. Thanks for stopping by my site. Can't wait to see what you will be making next month!

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  33. These cookies look so good and I love the caramel surprise. I shared your recipe on my Must Try Tuesday post this week.

    http://therickettchronicles.blogspot.com/2011/10/must-try-tuesday-october-25-2011.html

    Thanks for sharing!

    Wende
    The Rickett Chronicles

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  34. I was so close to picking this caramel apple recipe to make! I'm glad I didn't lol. Your cookies look delish with that caramel on the inside :)

    http://steaknpotatoeskindagurl.blogspot.com/2011/10/caramel-apple-marshmallow-dip-improv.html

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  35. These cookies look divine! I must have some.

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  36. I made these last night and they were awesome. The only minor substitution I made was the cardamon for cloves (didn't have cardamon) (I usually use cloves when I mull my cider). I also used dark brown sugar instead of light, but I don't think it really made a huge difference.

    Thanks for posting this! Passing the recipe on Facebook! :)

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  37. These look and sound amazing. I've never seen apple cider powder in my area, I'll have to do some research. Thank you for coming by and checking out my recipe for the ICC. I cant wait to see what everyone comes up with for November.

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  38. Your cookies look so perfect! Thanks for linking up for Friday Favorites! I'm featuring you again this week!

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  39. These are ah-mazing! Love the extra spices and the trick with the cookie scoop. Mine are cooking right now and look great.

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