Apple Pie Cookies

This just might be the cutest thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time. I’ve talked about my love of mini desserts countless times, and I’ve definitely baked more than my fair share of them. A few years ago I even made mini apple pies using muffin pans, but apple pie cookies? Genius, I tell you!

Apple Pie Cookies

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked since last October when Deb posted it, and after kicking off the apple baking season last week, these cookies were the obvious place to go next. They incorporate all of the elements you love about apple pie – from the buttery, flaky crust to the cinnamon-sugar coated apples – in a handheld three bite treat. Not only do they look like little apple pies, but they deliver on the flavor you expect from this classic dessert. The ratio of crust to filling is higher than you’d usually get, but for a pastry lover like me, that’s a very good thing!

Apple Pie Cookies

You might be thinking these look like a lot of tedious work – I definitely was when I first saw them. Truthfully though, they were nowhere near as bad as I expected; it was actually kind of fun to put them together! Once you get your little assembly line going, the process moves fairly quickly. And you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor so much sooner than if you made a full-size pie. Not only is the baking time shorter for these cookies, but you can dig into your first one within minutes of taking it out of the oven rather than having to wait hours for your pie to cool so you can slice it. Have I convinced you yet? :) Make them happen in your house this fall, you’ll be so glad you did!

Apple Pie Cookies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

{Note: you don’t have to use the exact size of cookie cutters referenced below. You just want to make sure one is about 3/4-inch larger than the other so you’ll have space around the apple discs to seal and crimp the dough.}

Crust
2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup very cold water

Filling/Assembly
2-3 medium baking apples (I used Galas)
squeeze of lemon juice
1/3 cup (67 grams) sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
pinch fresh nutmeg
1 large egg
sanding sugar (optional)

To make the pie dough: Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low just to combine. Add the butter and beat on low speed to cut it into the dry ingredients – the pieces of butter should be no bigger than small peas when you’re finished. Add the water to the mixer and mix on low just until the dough starts to come together and there are no more dry bits in the bowl. Turn out onto your work surface and shape the dough into a ball. Divide in half, shape each half into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour or up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove one disc of dough from the fridge. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough out until it is about 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick (the shape doesn’t matter). Use a 2 1/2-inch round cookie cutter to cut as many rounds as possible from the dough. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheets and pop in the refrigerator while you repeat the process with the second disc of dough. Refrigerate all of the rounds until you finish prepping the apples.

Peel the apples. Starting from one outside edge, cut thin (1/8 to 1/4-inch) slices from the apple until you reach the core in the center. Repeat starting on the opposite outside edge. Using a 1 3/4-inch round cookie cutter, cut small discs from the apple slices. Add the apple discs to a bowl and top with the lemon juice, tossing to coat (this stops them from browning as quickly). In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

To assemble the cookies: Brush one side of a round of dough with water (this helps seal the cookies). Grab one apple disc, and coat it in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place it on the dough round and top with a second round of dough. Press the edges to seal, then use a fork to crimp the edges. Repeat using the remaining dough rounds and apple discs.

Make egg wash by beating the egg with 1 teaspoon of water. Brush each of your apple pie cookies with the egg wash, then sprinkle them with the sanding sugar, if you’re using it. Use a paring knife to cut slits in the tops of the cookies.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cookies are puffed and golden brown. Transfer the baking sheets to wire racks to allow the cookies to cool (that said, these are great warm so feel free to dig in as soon as they’re cool enough that you won’t burn your mouth!).

Makes about 20-24 cookies