I was pretty stinking excited to make these cookies.
I love apple cider.
It was going to be a match made in heaven.
It reminds me of college. I used to drink one of those sugar-free apple cider packets in the evening time while doing homework in our apartment; waiting for Ryan to get home from cross country or track practice.
Fast forward to now, when I anxiously longed for that apple cider flavor. Well, these cookies have A TON of the flavor. Almost too much, but for some reason, it worked. I finally took the time to read on the recipe that I would need to "add in 10 packets of apple cider mix" to the dough. What the devil, people?! Why not just use real apple cider? It's the Fall, isn't it? Time for apples to fly out of everyone's ears in all their varieties!
I made the cookies anyway. I had already bought the apple cider mixes, but really only thought I'd be using one of them for the cookie dough. One by one I opened each packet, and dumped the into the heavenly cinnamon-flavored mix adorning my mixing bowl.
With one eye closed, and an obscene amount of skepticism, I tasted the dough...
It was incredible.
Incredibly soft and silky.
I thought the flavor might be too strong from all the cider-goodness, but after baking, the flavor actually mellowed a bit and folded perfectly back into itself. Instead of using caramel squares in the center of the cookies, I wanted to use some leftover caramel balls I had in the pantry. It made for little pockets of melted caramel everywhere in the gooey warm & soft cider-soaked cookies.
Fall was flying from our oven.
And we happily filled our bellies with it - over and over again.
...apple cider mix and all.
Caramel Apple Cider Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen
1 C unsalted butter, room temperature
1 C sugar
1/2 t salt
1 7.4 oz box of Alpine Spiced Apple Cider Instant Drink Mix (not sugarfree) = 10 packets.
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
3 C all-purpose flour
1 C caramel balls
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside for later.
2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add butter, sugar, salt & all 10 packets of apple cider mix. Beat until smooth and fully incorporated. Add eggs, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon then mix on low. Add the flour a 1/2 C at a time until just mixed in. Toss in caramel balls. Mix until combined. Don't overmix.
3. Scoop dough into 1 inch balls, place on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 minutes. They will be light in color - if you cook too long, they'll be hard. Trust me. Slightly undercooked is perfect.
4. Remove from the oven, let sit for a minute, then transfer cookies to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container with a slice of white bread. Serve warm, if possible. (we nuke ours for 12 seconds for one cookie).
Recipe adapted from macaroni and cheesecake