When I come upon a recipe that I’m really excited about it makes it hard for me to focus on my classes, homework… anything. I just keep thinking about trying out the recipe! It’s ridiculous.
This recipe was one of those, and it came at a perfect time because last Tuesday was really shitty for me and I needed to bake it out.
So part of my daily routine is to check out my favorite food blogs and gawker and see what they’ve got. Smitten Kitchen is the best, especially for college students. The author, photographer and cook of this amazing blog does all her cooking in a small half-galley kitchen. My kitchen right now is bigger than that, but I still like to minimize the amount of counter space and how many bowls and spoons I’m using when I cook and so does she. I’ve made a couple of her recipes and they’ve all turned out great including this one.
I changed a couple ingredients in this recipe and did a couple things a little differently than she did. Since my pie crust research told me to use vodka instead of water in pie crusts, that’s what I’ve been doing ever since and I used ground cloves instead of nutmeg (I don’t have any nutmeg).
I used only one size of circular cutter, instead of 2 different sizes and my pies came out just fine. This recipe makes roughly 30 mini cookies, but it really depends on the sizeof your cookie cutter. If you don’t have a circular cutter (or the desired size), you can use the lip of a mug. She also tossed the apple pieces individually before placing them in the dough, and I tossed them all at once in a large bowl. Also, my way of rolling pie dough is the best way to do it. Why? I work in a pie cart, so my way is the most efficient way. No seriously, it is.
Some tips to doing this recipe right:
- If your dough is starting to warm up too much don’t be afraid to put it in your fridge for 5-10 minutes for it to firm up a bit.
- Roll the dough thin! It poofs up a bit and you’ll get more cookies that way.
Apple Pie Cookies (or apple pie pops!)
2 1/2 cups (313 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting surfaces, dipping fork
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar (doing a little less sugar will make it less cookie-ish)
1 teaspoon (4 grams) table salt
2 sticks (225 grams, 8 ounces, 16 tablespoons or 1 cup) unsalted butter, very cold
1/2 cup (118 ml) vodka
3 medium apples, whatever you like to bake with (granny smith work best)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
1/3 cup (67 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (2 grams) ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg
Coarse or granulated sugar for garnish
Make your pie dough:
Whisk together flour, sugar and salt in the bottom of a large, wide-ish bowl. Using a pastry blender, two forks or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour until the biggest pieces of butter are the size of small peas. (You’ll want to chop your butter into small bits first) Gently stir in the vodka with your hands, mixing it until a craggy mass form and then knead it just two or three times to form a ball. Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten a bit, like a disc. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or up to two days.
Take two sheets of parchment paper, flour the dough on both sides and place in between the parchment paper. Rotate the dough in circles as you roll the dough out and peel the parchment paper off the dough every so often, flipping the dough. Roll out your pie dough pretty thin, a little shy of 1/8-inch thick. Use your cookie cutters to cut as many rounds as you can from the dough. Transfer them to parchment-lined baking sheets and keep them in the fridge until you need them. Once you’ve finished the first packet, repeat the process with the second packet of dough.
Prepare your apples:
Peel your apples. Cut thin slices (1/8-inch thick, using a mandolin works best for this and it’s much faster, but don’t cut yourself) from one side of whole apple, stopping when you hit the core. Repeat on opposite side. I got about 10 usable slices from each side of my small-medium-ish apples. Cut the pieces of apple so that they’ll fit into the dough with about 1/2 cm width of dough around the apples. Toss the apples in a bowl with lemon juice and your spices.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
And now, assemble away!
Grab your first disc of chilled dough and lightly dampen it on one side with the water. This is to help it seal. Take your first disc of apple and place it on the damp side of the bottom disk and if you want to make these into pie pops place a lollipop stick with about half an inch of the stick inside the crust and then carefully press an extra strip of dough over the stick to keep it in place. Place a second disc of dough on top; I found it easiest to seal it by picking the whole thing up (this is when you’ll be glad that your dough is cold and semi-firm; if it’s soft and getting sticky, chill it until it’s easy to pick up) and press the tops and bottoms around the apple with your fingers. Back on the floured counter, cut decorative slits in your “pies”. Dip your fork in the flour and use it to create a decorative crimp on the sealed edges. Brush your cookie with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Replace on baking sheet and chill while you prepare the others.
Bake your apple pie cookies for 25 minutes, or until puffed and bronzed and very pie-like. (If this is your first batch, peer in at them at 20 minutes, to make sure your oven doesn’t run hot.) Transfer to a cooling rack to cool before eating them…they actually taste better if you let them sit for 5-10 minutes, trust me.
Total Time: About 2 1/2 hours (mainly because you have to let the dough sit)