In today’s post: Buttery shortbread cookies are topped with a simple homemade apple pie filling and then drizzled with melted caramel for the most perfect fall cookie you’ve ever tasted.
I can’t get over how good shortbread cookies are. They’re super simple – just flour, butter, sugar, vanilla and salt – but they taste absolutely amazing. They’re perfect on their own, and even better when combined with even more deliciousness, like cinnamon spiced apples and a caramel drizzle.
Here’s what you’ll need to make these cookies. For the shortbread, you’ll mix together:
- Powdered Sugar
For the simple apple pie filling you’ll need:
- Apples: choose apples with plenty of flavor, like honeycrisps or granny smith. Avoid red or golden delicious or other apples that don’t have a lot of flavor.
- Brown sugar
- Cinnamon and spices: I like to use a combination of cinnamon and apple or pumpkin pie spice to get a rich variety of spices. If you don’t have apple or pumpkin pie spice on hand, you can use all cinnamon instead.
And for the caramel drizzle you’ll need some caramel bits and a splash of milk.
How to Make Them
There’s nothing difficult about this recipe! It does have three different components so it will take a few minutes longer than something like chocolate chip cookies, but it’s worth it! Here’s how to make them:
Make the Apple Pie Filling
You’ll start by peeling and dicing a couple apples. Combine them in a saucepan with butter, brown sugar, and your spices. Cook and stir until the butter melts, then cover and simmer 15-20 minutes until you have a soft, thick apple pie filling.
Make the Cookies
While the apples are cooking, mix up the easy shortbread cookie dough. You’ll scoop it out onto a lined cookie sheet, then press the back of the cookie dough scoop into each dough ball to create a dip or well.
Bake the cookies just until set; they will not be browned at all.
Drizzle with Caramel
Let the apples and cookies cool completely (about an hour). Then you can scoop some apple pie filling onto each cookie. Melt caramel bits with a little bit of milk and drizzle on top. Then enjoy!
Apple Pie Filling
- 3.5 cups Diced Apple 2 very large or 3 medium apples, peeled
- 2 tablespoons Butter
- 3 tablespooons Brown Sugar
- 1.5 teaspoons Cinnamon or 3/4 teaspoon Cinnamon and 3/4 teaspoon Apple or Pumpkin Pie Spice
- 1 cup Butter
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla
- 2 cups Flour
- 1/8 teaspoon Salt
- 1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 cup Caramel Bits
- 1 tablespoon Milk
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- Place ingredients for the apple pie filling in a medium saucepan and cook on medium, stirring constantly until butter is melted. Cover and reduce heat to medium low, simmer 15-20 minutes or until softened, stirring every few minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and begin making the cookie dough.
- Cream together softened butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and salt and mix. Add flour and continue to mix. Dough will be very crumbly at first, but continue mixing and it will come together into a ball.
- Scoop out onto a lined cookie sheet using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie dough scoop, leveled (see note). Use the back of the cookie dough scoop to create a well in the top of each cookie. *Do not push the cookie dough scoop down so far that the cookie is super thin at the bottom of the well.*
- Bake for 11 minutes, until edges feel firm and set. Cookies will not be brown.
- When apples are done cooking, mash slightly with a fork and set aside to cool. Finish baking cookies and cool on a cooling rack or paper towel on the counter.
- When filling and apples are both cool (about an hour) you can assemble the cookies. Scoop just under one tablespoon of apple filling onto each cookie. Then place caramel bits and milk in a microwave safe bowl and microwave 15 seconds at a time, stirring thoroughly in between, until melted. Drizzle caramel over each cookie.
- Serve immediately or store at room temperature for up to two days.