Nov 3, 2011

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

I don't remember how I came across this recipe, just that when it happened, I immediately went to the store to buy apple cider and caramels. I told my 4 year old son that I'd make them with him the following day. But on the following day at around 5:04 am (maybe 5:03, I'm not positive) I got a text from my very pregnant sister saying "call me." Thirty minutes later I was on my way to the airport, nauseous with nervousness, hoping not to miss the birth of my only sister's first baby. Thirty three hours and a lot of stress later, my sweet baby niece entered the world. And I didn't miss it.

But don't worry, I packed the caramels and apple cider. If only I could have packed my 4 year old. These were a yummy fall treat when they were fresh, but not as stellar the next day. The reason being that there is a big fat wad of caramel in the middle, and it's super hard to chew when the cookie isn't warm and fresh. The original recipe suggests setting the cookie on top of a steaming cup of tea for a few minutes, and then it's just warm enough. However you serve them, be sure to have a large crowd, as this recipe makes about 50 cookies... assuming you don't eat half of the bag of caramels first. Maybe you should buy two bags...

I altered it a bit, as the outer cookie was a bit boring, but the original recipe was still yummy.

Caramel Stuffed Apple Cider Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 box (7.4 oz) Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Original Drink mix -not sugar free- all 10 packets
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 cups all purpose flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons water

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line cookie sheets with parchment. (You really need the parchment!)

In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.

With your mixer (or an energetic spoon) cream together butter, sugar, salt and 9 packages of apple cider drink mix powder (save one for later), until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix well.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter/egg mixture. Mix until just combined.

Refrigerate for about an hour. When you are ready to bake, unwrap your caramels. Scoop out cookie dough ball about the size of a walnut. Flatten the ball of dough slightly in the palm of your hand. Press the unwrapped caramel into the center of your dough and seal the dough around it, covering it completely.

Place on parchment covered cookie sheets 2 inches apart.

Bake 12-14 minutes, or until very lightly browned around the edges. Please don't over-bake! Once the cookies are done, slide the parchment off of the baking sheet right out onto the counter. Allow cookies to partially cool on the parchment. When cookies are cool enough to be firm but still slightly warm, carefully twist off of parchment and allow to finish cooling upside down (either on the parchment or on a rack.) If you forget about them and they cool too much and stick to your parchment, put them into the freezer for a few minutes and they'll pop right off.

While cookies are cooling, mix 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar with remaining one packet of apple cider mix. Add 1-2 tablespoons of water just until mixture is glazing consistency - think slightly thinner than honey. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze across the tops of cookies.

Yield: about 4 dozen, depending on how large you make your cookies (or how many caramels have been snitched out of your bag before you begin.) Store in an airtight container.

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