These Apple Cinnamon Cookies are a dream come true. Thin crispy edges and soft chewy middles with the apple cinnamon flavor dancing throughout. If that wasn’t enough, they’re drizzled with an apple cider icing that just accentuates the apple flavor. They truly couldn’t be more delicious. And as always, they’re gluten free, nut free, egg free and easily dairy free (vegan).
My daughter is obsessed with my Apple Cider Donuts. I wanted to make something with a similar flavor but as a cookie.
I thought, what can I do to make an apple cookie without chunks of apples?
Although chunks of apples sound delish to me, my daughter does not want chunks of fruit in her cookies. At all.
She wants the flavor mixed with cinnamon and that’s how these apple cinnamon cookies were born.
What Makes These So Delicious?
- Softened butter or vegan baking stick: Don’t use melted. Melted butter tends to make the cookies spread out more, and these cookies already have tons of liquid because of the applesauce. They spread out enough as it is, if you melt the butter they will just be a mess.
- Granulated sugar: These are sugar cookies so there is sugar inside them and also we roll the dough in more sugar!
- Applesauce: Gives the cookies that amazing apple flavor and lots of moisture since they are egg free.
- Cinnamon: Brings in that sweet yet woodsy flavor.
- Apple Cider: We reduce this down to make it thick, wonderful and full of flavor to use in the icing.
Can I use apple juice instead of apple cider?
Yes! You can! I like to use apple juice and I’ll tell you why.
As much as I am obsessed with apple cider, the cider is made by local farms where they make other items as well.
None of the ciders local to me have a gluten free label.
I know what you’re thinking, cider doesn’t have gluten.
However, the facility could have gluten and I have a zero tolerance policy for cross contamination.
Over time, cross contamination with celiac can lead to horrible things like cancers, organs not functioning properly, heart disease, epilepsy, other autoimmune diseases, etc later in life and that’s not a chance I’m willing to take.
So for me, juice that says gluten free is the safest option.
A few tips if you will be using apple juice instead of cider:
- Only buy juice without added sugar- There is enough sugar in this recipe. We don’t need any more in the juice itself.
- Try to buy a natural style apple juice- This type tends to be thick and more brown in color than a thin yellowy apple juice.
Tips for making These Cookies
- Reduce the apple cider/juice- Start with 1 cup of cider or juice. Pour in a saucepan and simmer for about 20-25 minutes until there is about ¼ cup of apple cider/juice left. Now it will be thicker and more full of flavor. Let it cool completely.
Prior to Baking
- Refrigerate the dough- This is a must with egg free cookies. The dough needs to be chilled for at least 2.5 hours so that it doesn’t spread all over the place once they bake. Especially since this recipe contains applesauce which adds a bunch of moisture. Transfer the dough to a bowl or leave it in the mixing bowl. Place plastic wrap on top of the bowl and pop the entire thing in the fridge for 2.5 hours or overnight. I prefer overnight. Also, make sure you put the extra dough back into the fridge in between batches.
- Leave 3 inches between dough balls on the baking sheet- Because these cookies have no egg and have applesauce, they will spread out a bunch. Make sure to leave enough space between cookies prior to baking. If the cookies come out from the oven misshapen, scoot them back into shape by using a round cookie cutter or you can simply use a spatula to push them back into a circle shape. Work quickly because they start hardening right away.
- Make the icing- Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons of the cooled cider/juice. If it appears too watery, add more confectioners’ sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. If the icing appears too thick, add more cider/juice ¼ teaspoon at a time. Or, if you run out of the reduced cider you can always use a little non reduced. The flavor just won’t be as strong. You want it thin enough to drizzle but thick enough to solidify on the cookies.
Tips for Making these Cookies Vegan
Use a gluten free flour that's free from dairy- Some gluten free flours contain milk powder. Make sure to read the ingredients.
Make sure to use vegan baking sticks- Eliminate the butter and use vegan baking sticks instead!
Perfect For Any Time
I cannot get enough of these amazing cookies.
Yes they’re so perfect for autumn but if you love apple…they’re wonderful any time of the year.
Best part is they’re gluten free, nut free, egg free and easily dairy free (vegan). Enjoy!
Apple Cinnamon Cookies
For the cookies:
- 2 ¼ cups gluten free flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter or vegan baking stick, softened
- 1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup applesauce with cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons heaping tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons of water
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the icing:
- 1 ¼ cups confectioners’ sugar
- 3 tablespoons apple cider reduction start with 1 cup apple cider or natural style apple juice
- Make the apple cider reduction: Over low heat, simmer 1 cup of apple cider for about 20-25 minutes until you have ¼ cup remaining. Take off heat and let cool.
- While that’s simmering make the cookies. In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, using a spoon, mix together the cornstarch and the water until it is thin and watery. It will be thick and tacky at first. Set aside.
- In the large bowl of an electric mixer or using a hand held mixer, beat the softened butter or vegan baking stick until smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
- Add in 1 ¼ cups of granulated sugar and beat again till smooth and creamy. About 2 minutes.
- Add in the applesauce, beat to combine.
- Add in the cornstarch water and vanilla and beat to combine. It will appear chunky and that’s normal.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the gluten free flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- The dough will be super sticky, almost like cake batter. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2.5 hours. I like to chill mine overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Using a small cookie scoop or your hands, break off pieces of dough and roll into 1 inch balls. Drop in the additional ½ cup granulated sugar and place on a baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Put the rest of the dough back in the fridge.
- Bake for 10-11 minutes until the edges and underneath are golden brown. Let cookies cool a few minutes on the baking sheet then transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and 3 tablespoons of the apple cider reduction.
- Drizzle it on the top of the cool cookies. When the icing hardens, store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature. Enjoy!
The recipe was adapted from Delish's Pumpkin Sugar Cookies.