I feel that although I too get swept up in the craze that is all things pumpkin (as evidenced by my Pumpkin-Palooza post last week), it seems we often forget that there is so much more that this season has to offer than just pumpkin. Like all the other winter squash, also highlighted in that aforementioned post. But all squash aside, what about the beloved apple?
Yes, nowadays, apples are present in our grocery stores year-round. But have you tasted an apple in say, April? Often they’re mealy and flavorless at that point. Definitely not the same as a new crop, freshly picked apple in September or October. This is the time of year when I seek out Honeycrisp and Pink Lady varieties (my personal favorites). But a truly special and rare treat is when I find some at our farmer’s market.
Texas isn’t an apple-growing state. Sure, you might find someone who has an apple tree in their backyard, but it’s just not cold enough here for apples to really prosper. But I live far enough north that nearby states, such as Arkansas, do have an opportunity to grow some tasty fruit. I have one farmer at the market that for a very brief time in the fall has apples available from an orchard in Arkansas. One week, I brought home some amazingly crisp Golden Delicious apples that just burst with sweet-tart apple flavor. The following week, they had beautiful Rome apples. While they’re not the best for eating out of hand, I took some home for baking.
I think I changed my mind at least 3 times regarding what I planned to make. In the end, what I wanted was something that was easy to share, and cookies are always perfect for that. I played around a bit, and came up with a cookie that just feels like fall. It’s subtly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg, has a soft apple flavor, and that lovely, chewy texture of oats with a crunch of walnuts.
Of course, a drizzle of frosting over the top makes them that much prettier (and tastier, if you ask me!).
You can use any apple you choose for this recipe, but I’d suggest a good baking apple variety. Happy Baking!
- ¾ c butter, softened
- 1 c granulated sugar
- ½ c brown sugar, packed
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- ½ c + 1 T superfine brown rice flour
- ½ c + 1 T tapioca starch
- ½ c + 1 T sweet white rice flour
- 1 t baking soda
- 1½ t unflavored gelatin
- 1½ t ground cinnamon
- ⅛ t ground nutmeg
- ½ t kosher salt
- 2 c quick-cooking gluten-free oats
- 1 medium apple, peeled and shredded
- ½ c chopped walnuts
- 1 c powdered sugar
- 2-3 t milk
- A splash of apple cider vinegar
- In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and the eggs, one at a time, and beat until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flours, baking soda, gelatin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Add the flour to the ingredients in the mixer and mix on low until incorporated well. Add the oats and apple and mix on low until incorporated. Finally, add the walnuts and stir in.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes or until chilled and a touch firm.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a tablespoon or a portioned scoop, scoop dough in 1½ tablespoon size balls and place on the baking sheets, at least 3 inches apart, 9 cookies to a sheet. (They will spread when baking.) Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are browned. Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-4 minutes upon removing from the oven, and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough, refrigerating when not actively using.
- Once all cookies are cooled, whisk together the powdered sugar, milk, and apple cider vinegar. Drizzle over cookies and allow the frosting to firm up and dry, about 30 minutes, before storing in a sealed container.
- Makes about 3½ dozen