Thursday, October 4, 2012

Applesauce Cookies with Walnut Streusel

Apple of My Eye by Dolores O'Riordan
This recipe today is purely for my husband.  He loves Applesauce Cookies.  And I rarely make them.  And I wanted to see if I could come up with a recipe that would change that.  And I did!  He is the apple of MY eye, although, after 34 years of marriage, he still thinks I'm "just saying that."  He believes that if Sting were to come to our front door and ask me to run away with him, I would without even looking back!  That's simply not true!  Now, David Gilmour . . .  maybe!  Just kidding!  Just kidding!  I adore my husband!  And Dolores O"Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, obviously feels the same way about someone.  Her ethereal voice holds me captive, intrigued to see what nuance she will use to deliver the next line.  If you haven't sampled any of her solo work, do so now - as you sample these cookies, of course!

So why don't I make Applesauce Cookies for my man more often?  Ummm - maybe because there's not a shred of chocolate anywhere near them?  That would be a good start.  Also, the ones I've had are just sort of, indistinctive.  They sit there just a mound of pale nothingness.  They are soft - all soft - and I would like even a tiny bit of texture - a slight bit of crunch - in my cookies.  They aren't showy at all, but neither are shortbread cookies, and I love them!  Yep - I think it's a textural thing.  Gotta have just a little texture.

Lately, I've been feeling guilty about my lack of Applesauce Cookie cookery.  It must be the slew of apples everywhere that reminds me.  I decided that I would stop feeling guilty and do something about it - like come up with a recipe that both he and I would like.

I was staring at a package of muffins in the store one day when it occurred to me that I could introduce texture by adding a streusel to the top of the cookie!  That ended up being the easy part!

I made several batches before I hit a "crumb" that I liked.  How do you get a soft cookie without that sponge-like texture?  I know not to over-mix the flour.  But it has a great deal to do with the type of fat you use as well.  Many Applesauce Cookie recipes call for vegetable oil.  It wasn't until I switched to butter that I got that delightful delicate nature my mouth was searching for.
This cookie yields so gently to your bite!  The streusel adds that little bite, a few crunches, and deep flavor of the walnuts.  Before you know it, the cookie has melted away and you can't wait to take another bite.  A cookie that leads you to bite after bite is a success in my book!

Applesauce Cookies with Walnut Streusel
makes 2 dozen
Printable Recipe Card
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter, room temperature (225 g)
2 eggs
1 c. applesauce
2 1/2 c. flour (315 g)
1/2 c. oats
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/2 t. salt

Walnut Streusel
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. flour
4 T. cold butter, cut in pieces
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/2 t. cinnamon

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the five ingredients and pulse until the mixture forms crumbles.  You can also mix by hand using a pastry blender or two knives to cut the butter into the ingredients until the crumbles are uniform.  Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a mixer bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light in color and fluffy - about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well before adding the next.  Add the applesauce and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, place the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and whisk to combine well.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once and mix until just blended.

Scoop dough out onto parchment-lined sheet trays using a #24 scoop - about the size of a walnut.  Top each with about a tablespoon of streusel and press to slightly flatten the cookie with your fingers.  Bake for 8 minutes, rotating tray halfway through baking.

The streusel will melt into your cookie as it bakes and give the top a spicy sprinkling and some delicious walnut nibbles as well!

As I usually do with my cookies,  I froze some for later use.  I scooped out the dough onto a parchment-lined sheet tray and topped with the streusel.  I wrapped the tray well with plastic wrap and then froze them.  When frozen, I removed the frozen dough portions from the tray and stored them in a plastic freezer bag marked with the identity of the cookie and the baking instructions.

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