If you are looking to get a little lost in a fall weekend baking project - or you want to be the star of your holiday cookie swap - you’ve come to the right place!
These might look like hand pies, but they are in fact cookies. Made with a butter cookie dough and filled with an dulce de leche applesauce, these show-stopping cookies are as delicious as they are adorable. Weaving the lattice tops is a painstaking process, but if that level of detail is your kind of thing, then this recipe is for you!
Equipment: strainer; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large and small mixing bowls; hand or standing mixer, rubber spatula; spoons; 3-inch cookie cutter; parchment paper or silicone baking sheets; sheet pans; paring knife or pizza wheel; pastry brush; offset spatula; cooling rack
1 cup apple sauce
1 cup dulce de leche
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1. First, prepare the filling. Strain 1 cup of applesauce in a mesh strainer, or fine mesh sieve, to release any excess liquid (for approximately 30 minutes). Combine the strained sauce with the dulce de leche and refrigerate until use.
2. Now make the butter cookie dough. Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl and set aside. In a large mixing bowl or standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and creamy, approximately two minutes. Add the egg and then the vanilla, and beat until incorporated. Add the flour and salt mixture and beat until a dough forms. Form a disc and store in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to a few days.
3. Once the dough has chilled sufficiently so that you can handle it, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two cookie sheets with silicone liners or parchment paper. Set aside.
Chill Your Counter When Working with Dough and a Rolling Pin
"ILOC tip: Dough can warm so quickly on the counter, especially when being handled. One of the easiest ways to keep your dough cool for easy rolling/cutting/shaping is to chill first the counter, especially if your counter is made of stone. Place some ice cubes in a mixing bowl (preferably metallic for speedy cooling) and set the bowl on your work surface. After a few minutes the area will be chilled and ready for some action! It’s all about technique, not torture."
4. Place half the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut circles and place 2 inches apart on the lined sheet pan. Gather scrap dough and rewrap for later use.
5. Drop 1-2 teaspoons of apple filling in the center of each cookie leaving an ample rim. Set aside.
6. Place half the unwrapped dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll to ¼-inch thickness. Using a paring knife or pizza wheel, cut strips of dough that you can weave in a basket patterns Then use the cookie cutter to cut a circle of the basket weave. Lift carefully using a thin spatula or the paring knife and place atop a filled cookie. Using your fingers, the back of knife, or a fork, pinch the seam around the edge of the cookie to seal the "top crust" to the "bottom crust." Repeat until all the cookies have "top crusts." Add any remaining scraps to the other scrap dough to refrigerate and bake another time.
"I like to make thumbprint cookies with the remaining dough and filling. It's "easier than pie" to make and tastes just as good!"
7. Chill the cookies for 30 minutes in the refrigerator on the sheet pan before baking. After 30 minutes remove from the refrigerator and brush the tops with heavy cream. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake at 375°F for 20 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack. Store in a single layer in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.
Makes 1 dozen cookies.