I love fall. For me, it’s all about the trees with their heavy, colouful leaves. And air so cool and crisp that requires your favorite cardigan, slightly wrinkled and maybe a bit musty from its hiding place at the back of your closet. It means opening your sock drawer for the first time in months and noticing the navy pair with the bright blue polkadots that you forgot you had purchased at an end-of-season sale. And it means a colourful selection of apples at the market. Out of all the fruits from all the places, I love local apples the best. Gala, Fuji, Ambrosia, Honeycrisp, Spartan, Macs, and Golden Delicious, are just some of the varieties that sit outside in bins that line the entrance of my local market. Every few days I fill a bag of shiny, happy green Granny Smiths from the Okanagan and take them home. Once home, I bite into their snappy skin and dig in with my teeth until I actually shiver from the sour as I get closer to the core where it gets really, really sour. I used to eat Super Sour Dweeb candy until my tongue cracked, so I’m no stranger to The Sour. I love it. And having a big bag of apples at close hand means I’ve always got a tasty snack at hand. 2 or 3 apples a day isn’t unusual for me this time of year. Yet despite the rumor, an apple a day does not keep the doctor away as I’ve had one a doozy of a cold with 2 doctor’s visits that’s lasted long enough to shoot that old wives tale down for good.
Clearly the magic with apples isn’t in their ability to heal, it’s all about their crunch and deliciousness. While I love eating them out of hand or slicing them up into eights and munching them that way, throwing them into a baked good is clearly another way to go about things. Apple cake‘s been done, apple coffe cake‘s a keeper, and apple chai loaf or one with cheddar is also good, but these fresh apple cookies have got their own thing going on.
For one thing, these cookies are heady with spice. Forget just a sprinkle here or a dash there – we’re talking about 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. This is some serious spice business and this cookie doesn’t play favorites with the cinnamon. Each spice is well accounted for and happily so. Wusses need not apply. These cookies also have got some serious texture going on. Out of the oven and slightly cool, they’ve got a bit of sturdiness – not quite crisp, but not a lot of cakey give, if you know what I mean. I love them best this way. But throw them in a covered tin overnight and they get soft and cakey and that’s the when my husband likes them best. It’s a cookie win-win.
These are easy to whip up, but they do require some serious stirring and I’m thankful to our mixer for lending a helping hand. The batter is heavy and sticky and when the apples, raisins and walnuts get added it seems like the batter won’t hold them. But they do and everything works out just fine. They’re made with whole wheat flour and along with the apples these cookies almost seem virtuous. Eat ‘em for breakfast – they’re great with a morning coffee and equally delicious with a late night pot of tea. So thank you fall for the apples, and the cardigans, those polkadot socks and especially for these cookies.
fresh apple spice cookies
(adapted from Whisk. Flip. Stir.)
You can choose to peel the apples or not, either way they’ll be good.
2 c whole wheat flour
1 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t cloves
1 t cinamon
1 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 c butter, room temperature
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c milk
1 heaping cup of diced apples
1 c raisins
1 c chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 375F. Cover 2 cookie sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add in egg and blend well. Stir in half the flour mixture and stir to combine. Add in the milk and incorporate. Stir in the remaining flour and beat until combined. Add in the apples, raisins and walnuts and stir to combine. The dough will be hard to churn, but go at it. Or use a KitchenAid mixer like I did. The dough will be sticky and tough and looks like it won’t hold all the apples. Don’t worry.
Drop spoonfuls of batter onto the cookie sheets, leaving the dough 1″ apart from each other. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the dough springs back from a light touch. Cool on wire rack. Makes about 20 cookies.