Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Melanie J. Clarke
6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup finely chopped dried apple slices
3/4 cup caramel bits or 16 small soft caramel candies, chopped
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl; stir well.
Place sugars and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg; beat well. Gradually add flour mixture; beat at low speed until just combined. Fold in apple and caramel bits.
Drop dough by 2 teaspoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Flatten balls slightly with hand. Bake at 350° for 9 minutes. Cool on pans 3 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
I'm not the best baker in the world, but these turned out pretty well! They are very sweet, so I suppose you could cut down on the sugar a bit, because the apples and caramel are sweet. I searched until I found "caramel bits," which are little round caramel balls in a package. I think if I used the big caramel candies and tried to chop them it would have been more difficult. I only had one or two cookies where the caramel melted out the side and onto the baking pan. And unlike others, I had no problems chopping up the dried apples. Took me about 2 minutes with a heavy butchers knife; I didn't try for consistent shape, just made them relatively small. The consistency of the dough is not mushy like other cookies. You do your best to make a little ball, and yes they're a little crumbly, but during baking they seemed to melt and hold together pretty well. One hint, definitely leave the 2 inches between cookies, because some of mine did kind of grow together.
I really don't know why everyone is raving. First, they don't come out like the photo. The caramels melt and run all over the cookie pan. Then they get hard when the cookie cools. I broke them off. Finely chopping the dried apples is a nightmare. You can't chop as you would onion or celery or such. The apples stick to the knife. So you carefully have to slice them into thin strips and then cut them into small pieces. The dough is difficult to handle because it is VERY dry. The resulting cookie is tasty but not worth all the effort. I definitely won't be making this recipe again.
The concept is good, especially if you love a cookie with a substantial and chewy 'mouth-feel'. However, the recipe does not work as written and you will need to add additional fat or moisture as many have stated in previous reviews. The batter is like 'sand' which you might just be able to form into a ball if you compress firmly enough. They will not melt down into flat cookies while baking, so you'll need to try and compress after a little while in the oven. More often than not, this will result in a pile of crumbs on your baking sheet. I've made these twice with the same result. The ones you successfully bake will become tooth-breakingly hard once they've dried, again due to the high sugar to fat ratio.
My suggestion is to add the caramel bits and dehydrated apples to your favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, or read through the reviews for suggestions on how much extra butter or applesauce to add.
A written, this is a crumbly mess. The second time I made them, I added a little tub of applesauce and lots of cinnamon, which really makes them more savory than too sweet. They held together better. I bke them on parchment but I will try my silpat mats too.
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