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.)
How I Made this Recipe my Own
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.
This one gets a very enthusiastic two thumbs up from me!
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.
More Delicious Fall Desserts
Since these cookies got me into a fall mood, here are a few more seasonal desserts to help scratch that itch.
- Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies
- Old-Fashioned Molasses Apple Crisp
- Brown Butter Pear Cake
- Sticky Pumpkin Spice Gingerbread Cake
- Clafoutis aux Prunes
Applesauce Cookies with Browned Butter Icing
- Total Time: 32 mins
- Yield: 60 1x
These sweet treats have a texture that falls somewhere between a soft cookie and a dense muffin - they're quite good plain, but even better with a swirl of vanilla-scented browned butter icing.
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups unsweetened applesauce
- 3 ½ 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
Browned Butter Icing:
- 5 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla paste (or 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 ½ cups icing sugar
Bake the Cookies
- 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.
Make the Icing:
- 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.
- Prep Time: 20 mins
- Cook Time: 12 mins
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Canadian
Tisha Indermuehle says
i cannot get my batter smooth? Should i add the flour and see what happens? I would hate to waste the flour.
Isabelle Boucher says
If your wet ingredients aren't smooth, there are two possible explanations.
If the lumps are made of apple (ie. you used homemade applesauce or a chunky store-bought brand), that's totally fine.
If the lumps are made of butter, then it's very likely that the butter and sugar weren't fully creamed before the other ingredients were added, which is hard to undo at this stage. If you have an immersion blender or food processor, use it to break down the lumps of butter and smooth out the batter before you add the dry ingredients. If not, you can still go ahead, but the texture of the cookies might be a little denser than usual.
Next time around, you can avoid this by thoroughly beating together the butter and sugar until they're completely combined before adding the eggs. There's a great how-to post on the King Arthur site that explains this in detail!
Silvia M says
I love the apples and the brown sugar!!! I need to make these cookies!!!
Kate @ Diethood says
Did you say brown butter?! ;-) The cookies sound SO good! Your photos are beautiful!!
Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos says
I think your changes are absolutely perfect - esp. the cherries (dried cherries in cookies - yum!) And of course they are healthy - I mean fruit, nuts - the icing and the browned butter are just the added bonus :)
Dionne Baldwin says
I'm a total sucker for browned butter. Pair that with a cookie, and one with icing, and I am totally screwed. It's a good thing my running pants are stretchable!
Carol at Wild Goose Tea says
Sometimes synchronicity is down right amazing. I used to make an applesauce iced cookie in high school----let me tell you the earth was flat then. Just the other day I thought about that cookie and wonder where on earth was the recipe. Now here is a divine one complete with cherries which is even better. Yay!!!!!!!
Nancy @ gottagetbaked says
I love all the changes you made. Always say no to raisins! And I never want to bake with shortening, so yay for butter! An especially big yay for browned butter. I totes agree with your math re: applesauce cancelling out the butter and sugar. It's a scientific fact! Just like it's a fact that I would devour a batch of these cookies without sharing.
Kayle (The Cooking Actress) says
I have the browned butter sickness tooooo!!!
Great pick...applesauce cookies sound really good right now. Plus I love that you added dried cherries...genius!
shannon @ a periodic table says
fall, spring, whatever: browned butter and applesauce are "all-season" items to me, same with things like cinnamon and cloves. they know no bounds. and besides, even here in the Midwest, the highs right now are in the high 40's some days: that's basically fall/winter. so totally appropriate.
I'm with you Isabelle - I can't say no to browned butter also!
These cookies look lovely, Isabelle. I made soft cookies this time around too but wimped out with store bought icing (gasp!). I will try this browned butter next time for sure.
kate | Food Babbles says
I can definitely see why you were drawn to these cookies! Anything topped in brown butter icing would be it for me. I looooove brown butter! These cookies sounds perfect and love the substitution of dried cherries instead of raisins. Wonderful!
Yum. I'd want a bowl of the icing too. But probably to dip the cookies in. That's kind of like icing them...right?
Amanda E says
yum! These look fantastic - and that icing sounds decadent
Lesa @ Edesia's Notebook says
What a great combination of flavors. Simply delightful.
Cheese with Noodles says
Hi Isabelle! I love how you made the recipe your own! Your version looks wonderful. Yum, cranberries. And isn't that frosting amazing?
I'm glad the cookies turned out well for you :)
Cheese with Noodles says
Oops, I mean dried cherries! I think my brain autocorrected to dried cranberries because that's what you usually see in cookies. Cherries sound even better, though! I will have to give that a try. The original recipe called for normal raisins, which I'm not fond of, so I did golden raisins because they taste better to me. Next time I'll also try using butter, good to know they turn out well with it instead of shortening! Baking is such a science that substituting butter for shortening always makes me nervous, don't want pancake cookies.