I don't make applesauce cookies very often, but when I do I make Old Fashioned Applesauce Cookies. The recipe's based on one from Fanny Farmer that calls for 1 cup applesauce, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups of flour and a half cup of butter. I've changed it up over the years by altering the spices, throwing in oats, and experimenting with different types of butter. And when I'm lucky enough to find them, I add cinnamon chips! Even with changes, the cookies always bake up soft, cakey, and spicy.
Shortening vs. Butter
What's interesting is that a lot of the old fashioned recipes call for shortening which often improves a cookie's texture. With applesauce cookies, it seems like the texture is better with butter. So luckily you don't have to sacrifice the flavor of butter to have big, nicely rounded cookies.
Chopped Raisins in Old Fashioned Apple Cookies
Another interesting thing is that older applesauce cookie recipes often call for a combination of nuts and chopped raisins. I usually don't chop raisins for cookies, but I like how chopping the raisins helps keep them evenly distributed throughout the cookie, so I take that extra step with these and it seems worth it. Obviously, I like raisins, but if you don't you can leave them out and substitute cinnamon chips, chopped dried apple or something else.
Take The Darryl Challenge
The original version below calls for 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and ¼ teaspoon cloves. Darryl wants more apple pie flavor. Apple pie spice, per McCormick, is “a balanced blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice”. To take the Darryl Challenge, make the cookies with a generous teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of allspice and ¼ plus a pinch of nutmeg. Darryl, I hope you are well and that you try the cookies with this blend. For those who love spices, remember you can always take out small portions of dough and blast them with different spices.
Old Fashioned Applesauce Cookies
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened and room temperature (114 grams)
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar (220 grams)
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, room temperature
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (260 grams), weigh or measure by spooning
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup oats, old fashioned or quick
- ½ cup chopped raisins
- ½ cup chopped walnuts
- ⅓ cup cinnamon chips or butterscotch chips optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the very soft butter, brown sugar and vanilla and stir until blended. For a light and cakey cookie, beat until light and creamy. For a cakey but slightly heavier texture (my preference) just beat until blended. Scrape the bowl well, then add the egg and stir until blended. Scrape bowl and stir in the applesauce.
- In a second bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Stir the flour mixture into the applesauce mixture, then stir in the oats, raisins and walnuts. The dough should be thick enough to scoop. If for some reason it's not, cover bowl and chill for 20 minutes.
- Scoop cookie dough with a large cookie scoop onto the baking sheet, spacing about 3 inches apart. Bake one sheet at a time for 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes. If you are making the cookies smaller, check at 10.
- Let cookies cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. These cookies actually improve a bit as they sit.