This past Sunday, our furnace decided that it needed a day off. Fortunately, the weather was near perfect, so the furnace wasn't really needed. Unfortunately, the HVAC tech couldn't come out until Monday afternoon. The high temperature on Monday occurred early morning, and the temperatures were supposed to fall the rest of the day. So Monday morning was the perfect time to turn on the oven, bake some treats, and hopefully heat up the kitchen a bit.
I still have half of a refrigerator crisper drawer full of apples from our apple picking trip earlier this fall. So of course, I've been on the lookout for recipes using apples. Last week, I saw a few links to Caramel Apple cookies, which sounded delicious! And even better, I was able to find caramel bits in my grocery store's new expanded bulk section - score! Caramel bits are like chocolate chips, except they're made of caramel. And they are much easier to use than chopping up a bunch of caramel candies.
After comparing a few recipes, I decided to use Cooking Light's recipe for Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies as my inspiration and make a few adaptations. These cookies full of chewy oatmeal, softened apple, melted caramel. Even NerdDad with his "cookies need chocolate" stance agreed they were pretty good.
Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oatsPour the oats into a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, or until only half the oats are still whole. While this step is optional, doing softens the texture of the cookie and allows the apples to stand out more.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup finely chopped, peeled apple pieces (use a baking apple like Granny Smith or Winesap so the pieces don't get too mushy!)
3/4 cup caramel bits or 16 small soft caramel candies, chopped
In a medium mixing bowl, combine processed oats, flour, powder, soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, beat sugars and butter with a mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and egg and beat until mixture is smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. Gently stir in the apple pieces and caramel bits.
Drop dough by 2 teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Makes 3-4 dozen.