Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Applesauce Drop Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

This is another recipe from the Betty Crocker Cooky Book, and just perfect for autumn.  I've been planning to make it for months and have actually set out the ingredients on the counter a few days ago before finally making them yesterday.  We had our first snow yestday, about 2 inches of light fluff.  Living in Alaska means you have to accept the fact that you'll be surrounded by snow for 7 months of the year, and I have to admit that I was a bit happy to see it again!

In any case, these soft, spicy cookies were the perfect treat to make in honor of the first snow of winter.  They are very cakey-- to the point that you could probably make some fantastic cupcakes with no changes to the recipe-- and the dough is more like a thick batter.  While the applesauce flavor is not really apparent, it does make them very moist.  Another blogger described these cookies as being "senior citizen cookies", which I thought was so funny!  Especially since they are extremely similar to Pumpkin Spice cookies, a lifelong favorite of mine that were incidentally the only cookies I would eat as a child.  So much for being old!  They are delicious and a great choice if you love spices like cinnamon and cloves as much as me, regardless of your age.  Also, while the cookies are very good on their own, the addition of the creamy vanilla frosting with a hint of browned butter makes them even better.  Last of all, this recipe is a good choice if you need spur of the moment cookies since you don't need to let any cold ingredients warm up and don't need to mess with rolling out cookie dough or forming balls.

As usual for me, I changed the recipe quite a bit.  The original called for coffee and well drained applesauce, but I chose to leave out the coffee and use regular applesauce.  It also called for chopped nuts (which you are free to add if you feel so inclined), 1/2 t less cinnamon, and 1/2 t more nutmeg.  I do like nutmeg, but unlike cinnamon I think it's best in small amounts and the 1/2 t I used was just right.  The recipe also said and to refrigerate the dough for 2 hours before baking.  I wanted to see how they would turn out without being refrigerated so just went ahead and baked them and they turned out perfect, each cookie about half an inch thick.  Wouldn't really want them any thicker!  Also, don't know what this says about me, but the recipe made half as many recipes as it said it would and I needed twice as much of the icing.  Come to my house if you want to get sugared up.

As a side note, I just realized that all of the recipes from the Cooky Book that I've shared on the blog so far have been drop cookies!  Kind of odd since I really don't make drop cookies very often.  Guess I need to pick another section of the book next time!  In my defense, I've actually made 2 non-drop cookies from the Cooky Book so far and just haven't shared them on the blog yet.  As tempting as Orange Drop Cookies and Pineapple Drop Cookies look to me, I think next I will try Oatmeal Coconut Crispies.  Yum.

Applesauce Drop Cookies

1 C shortening
2 C packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 C applesauce
3 1/2 C flour
1 C golden raisins
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1 1/2 t cinnamon
1 t cloves
1/2 t nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.  Mix together shortening, brown sugar, and eggs until smooth, then mix in applesauce.  Add other ingredients and mix just until well combined.  Drop dough by tablespoons onto cookie sheets, with 2 inches between cookies.  Bake until set and lightly golden, about 9 to 12 minutes.  Let cookies cool on sheets for 10 minutes, then cool completely on cooling racks.  Whether or not you choose to add the icing, store the cookies between layers of wax paper in the refrigerator.

Yield: 4 dozen medium sized cookies (you will of course get more if you make small cookies, which I do not!)

Browned Butter Icing

5 T butter
3 T cream (could probably use milk)
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
about 2 1/2 C powdered sugar

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, stirring constantly once it melts.  You want to brown the butter slowly, over a low heat, and in a small pan stirring all the while so it doesn't burn.  Cook until the butter becomes light brown.  Immediately remove from heat and stir in the cream, then the vanilla extract.  Stir in powdered sugar until you have icing that is thick enough to spread easily but is not drippy.  Immediately spread icing on cooled cookies and let set completely before you put the cookies away.

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