Oh hey…. looks like it’s time for another round of the Secret Recipe Club! This month, I was assigned to try out a recipe from Cheese with Noodles, a blog by Anna from Alaska.
Unlike most months, it didn’t take me very long to decide what to make, because it was basically love at first sight as soon as I spotted Anna’s recipe for Applesauce Drop Cookies with Browned Butter Icing.
(I just can’t say no to browned butter. It’s a sickness, really.)
Anna adapted these from a Betty Crocker recipe, and while she already made quite a few tweaks to the original, I couldn’t resist making a few more changes of my own.
The version on Anna’s blog had lots of cinnamon and clove and nutmeg, but I wanted something a little lighter and subtler for spring, so I omitted the cloves and trimmed down the cinnamon. I also replaced the golden raisins in her version with dried cherries, because I don’t particularly like raisins in my cookies, subbed butter for shortening (because, butter), and threw in some chopped walnuts for good measure. And then, just for the heck of it, I used vanilla paste in the frosting to give it those lovely black speckles.
The result is a sweet treat that falls somewhere between a dense muffin and a cakey cookie, and that (more importantly) is perfectly designed for transporting browned butter icing into your mouth.
As for the icing, it should probably be classified as a controlled substance, because this stuff is seriously addictive. In fact, the only thing stopping me from shoveling the entire bowl into my mouth with a spoon was the fact that I had several dozen fresh-baked cookies cooling on the counter, and I didn’t have enough powdered sugar to make another batch of icing.
Well, that and the stomachache and weight gain that would have surely ensued.
At least this way I get to pretend it was okay, because the icing is on top of a cookie made with healthy things like applesauce and dried fruit and nuts. (And yes, a lot of brown sugar and butter, too. But that’s irrelevant, because everyone knows that butter and sugar are cancelled out by applesauce. I have deemed it so.)
Even with my changes, these cookies still feel a little more appropriate for fall than for spring, but it’s not like the weather outside feels all that appropriate for spring either. Seasonal, shmeasonal.
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 3½ cups flour
- 1 cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 5 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1½ tsp vanilla extract)
- 2½ cups icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition, then add the applesauce and stir until smooth. Add the flour, raisins, salt and spices, and mix just until combined.
- Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared cookie sheets, spacing the cookies about 2" apart.
- Bake in preheated oven until set and lightly browned on the edges, about 9-12 minutes.
- Let the cookies cool on baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool off completely.
- While the cookies are cooling, prepare the icing.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter until it's light brown and nutty-smelling. Immediately remove from the heat, and stir in the cream and vanilla extract.
- Whisk in the icing sugar, ¼ cup at a time, until the icing is thick but still spreadable. Spread onto the cooled cookies, and let set completely before serving. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.