Last week, the teachers at DVH’s school held Apple Day.
Each teacher was asked to bring in his or her favorite apple-based dish accompanied by the recipe. Every contribution was laid out in the teacher’s lounge for people totaste test during their free periods.
I thought it was a fun idea and since none of DVH’s specialties – egg sandwiches, spaghetti, pizza bread – contain apples I volunteered to supply the goods on his behalf.
Trouble was, the few apple favorites we have are best enjoyed warm. Why bother with apple crisp if it’s not going to make a dollop of vanilla ice cream melt just a little bit over the top?
So, I took to my recipe lists, files, blogs, and pins to find something exciting and unique that would pack an apple-y punch at room temp. Apple Pie Cookies, from the ever-thorough Deb over at Smitten Kitchen, were the answer.
The “cookie” is made of pie dough, chilled, rolled thin, and cut with a round cookie cutter about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Between the two rounds of dough is a sliced apple, shaped with a smaller round cookie cutter, and covered in spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Start to finish, it took me about 5 hours to finish a batch of 20 cookies. That includes two separate chilling times (during which I made dinner and went for a run) and baking time (during which I watched Parenthood and cried like a baby. Get’s me every week.) Bottom line – these cookies aren’t something you can just throw together in an hour.
Though my photography suffered due to sleepiness (sorry for the yellow hue!) the Apple Pie Cookies were worth the work. And, as discussed in the original recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, are a crust lover’s dream dessert!
…Not to mention, great at room temperature!
Apple Pie Cookies
Source: Smitten Kitchen
2½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces, dipping fork
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, very cold
½ cup water, very cold (Best to combine ice and water in a bowl and then measure ½ cup from it when called for.)
3 medium apples, whatever type you like to bake with
Squeeze of lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
Pinch of Allspice or cloves (optional)
1 large egg
Coarse or granulated sugar for garnish
Baking sheets covered with parchment paper
Rolling pin, pastry brush, a fork and a sharp knife
Two round cookie cutters – one that’s about 2½ inches and another that’s about 1½ inches.
Begin by making the pie dough…
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large bowl.
Using a pastry blender work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas.
(Tip: Chopping your butter into small bits first helps a lot!)
Gently stir in the cold water with a rubber spatula, mixing it until a craggy mass forms.
Get your hands in the bowl and knead it just two or three times to form a ball.
Divide dough in half, wrap each half in plastic and flatten them a bit.
Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.
Meanwhile, prepare your next work space…
Line up six small dishes.
In the first one, pour some water.
Leave the second one empty; you’ll use it for your apples in a bit.
In the third one, mix the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and any other spices you like in apple pie.
In the fourth one, a little bit of flour to dust your surface and dip your fork for crimping the pie’s edges.
In the fifth one, whisk an egg with one teaspoon of water until smooth.
In the last one, or in whatever container you keep it in, add some coarse or regular sugar for decorating the tops of the pies.
Next, roll out the chilled dough…
On a well-floured counter, roll out one packet of your pie dough to a thin, 1/8-inch; leave the other packet in the fridge!
Lift and rotate your dough as you roll it, to ensure that it rolls out evenly and so you can be sure it’s not sticking in any place.
Use the larger of your two cookie cutters to cut as many rounds as you can from the dough.
Transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets and keep them in the fridge until you need them.
Once you’ve finished the first packet of dough, repeat the process with the second.
Prepare the apples…
Peel each apple.
Cut thin (1/8-inch) slices from one side of the whole apple, stopping when you hit the core.
Repeat on opposite side.
(You should get about 10 usable slices from each side of the small-medium sized apples.
Use the smaller of your two cookie cutters to cut the apples into cute little discs that will fit inside your pie cookies.
Place them in your second bowl, covering them with a few drops of lemon juice to prevent browning.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and start assembling…
Grab your first disc of chilled dough and lightly dampen it on one side with the water (This is to help it seal).
Take your first disc of apple and toss it in the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Place it on the damp side of the disk.
Place a second disc of dough on top of the apple.
*Pick up the whole thing and use your fingers to press the edges together all the way around the apple.
Dip your fork in the flour and use it to create a decorative crimp around the sealed edges.
Brush your cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Place it back on the baking sheet and chill while you prepare the others
*(This is when you’ll be glad you’re using chilled dough. If it starts to get sticky put the trays back into the fridge for a little while!)
Bake each tray of apple pie cookies for 25 minutes (at 350 degrees) until puffed and bronzed.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Cookies will keep for a few days at room temperature.
You could also make a larger batch of apple pie cookies for the freezer and just bake them when you get the craving to do so. In order to freeze them, stop working just before brushing them with egg wash and keep them frozen until needed. Bake the cookies directly from the freezer, just adding a couple of minutes to the baking time.