Caramel Apple Cookies
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon apple-pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
green and red food coloring pastes
24 green wooden craft sticks
1 package (14 ounces) caramels, unwrapped
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup chopped cashews
Preheat oven to 375F.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, apple-pie spice, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using a mixer set on high, beat butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy. With the mixer on low, beat in eggs and vanilla; beat in flour mixture.
Transfer 1/3 cup of dough to a small mixing bowl and tint green. Tint remaining dough red; divide in half.
On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the red dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using the apple template (see Tip below), cut shapes from dough. Place 3 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet.
Place a craft stick under stem end of each cookie, pressing dough lightly. Using your fingers, mold a small piece of green dough into a leaf shape and place on top of each apple cutout on baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Bake cookies until crisp but not browned, 8-10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool completely.
In a small saucepan, heat caramels and water over low heat, stirring often, until smooth. Set a wire rack over a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Dip the cookie bottoms into melted caramel and then into chopped nuts. Let cookies stand until caramel is set, about 1 hour.
Pairs Well With
These spice cookies, dipped in caramel and nuts to resemble the Halloween classic, are great treats at a kids' spooky party! Or wrap them in wax paper and send them home as party favors.
Makes about 2 dozen