Apple Butter Cookies

Why You’ll Love These Cookies

  1. These cookies might require a little extra effort but it’s worth the effort. They do need a little time in the fridge but other than that, they’re not too complicated.
  2. They are soft and chewy, with some caramelized apple butter bits swirled throughout. 
  3. The perfect seasonal cookie recipe that doesn’t include pumpkin lol.

It’s almost fall and I am here for it. I love making apple flavored desserts this time of year because it’s not as bold and seasonal as pumpkin but it gets the fall feels going.

My favorite way to incorporate apple flavor is by using fresh apples or apple butter. I use it in my Apple Butter Cinnamon Rolls, White Chocolate Apple Butter Muffins and my Apple Pop Tarts. Also, one of my FAVORITE drinks is Iced Apple Crisp Macchiato!

For cookie lovers I’ve got some other fall flavors like Chai White Chocolate Chip Cookies, S’mores Cookies or my toasty Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookies (coming soon).

What Is Apple Butter? 

If you love apples or anything fall flavored you’ll love apple butter. It’s similar to applesauce except that applesauce generally has a thinner consistency, resulting in a quicker cooking time. Apple butter also has a longer shelf life, you can refrigerate it for a couple of weeks or  freeze it for longer.

Apple butter requires longer cooking time so more of the water cooks out, making it a thicker consistency. This normally takes 8-10 hours on the stove or in a slow cooker, but it only takes about 30 minutes to pressure cook!

You can make it at home yourself or you can buy it at the store. I always have some on hand during fall season. 🙂

Flavor-wise, apple butter caramelizes as it’s cooking, making it sweeter. Most people also generally add fall spices so, unlike apple sauce, apple butter is just a magical combination of caramelized sweet apples, cinnamon sticks and nutmeg.

Ingredients:

  • Flour: I just used all-purpose flour for this recipe however, I HIGHLY recommend using a digital scale, as over-measuring the flour is the most common baking mistake and may result in dry cookies. 
  • Sugar: I used dark brown sugar for the swirl, light brown sugar for the cookies, and powdered sugar for the icing. I used the dark brown sugar in the swirl to give it a contrast in color but you could do just light brown sugar if you don’t have any dark brown on hand.
    • Reducing the amount will alter the texture of the cookies so I don’t recommend reducing the sugar. 
  • Butter: I LOVE using salted butter in cookies! It really balances the sweetness of cookies better and just has a better flavor.
  • Egg: I used 1 large egg in this recipe – it can be cold or room temperature. 
  • Vanilla: Don’t underestimate the power of vanilla extract in a cookie recipe. I stopped putting vanilla in EVERYTHING I make, but for cookies it’s essential. 
  • Baking Powder: just baking powder, no baking soda. 
  • Salt: I like sea salt but any salt works.
  • Spices: I just used ground cinnamon – you could also add a pinch of nutmeg if you’re feeling it.
  • Apple Butter: I just bought some this time, any brand should be fine as long as it’s not super runny.
  • Heavy Whipping Cream: I used this to make the apple butter icing on top – you can also use milk for this (or dairy free) but the amount you need might vary slightly, just go based off the consistency of the glaze.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Cinnamon Swirl

Step 1: Combine melted butter with apple butter, dark brown sugar and cinnamon, until it’s well combined and looks like a paste. Cover it and freeze for about 15-20 minutes. You want it to be firm but malleable when you press on it.

Apple Butter Cookies

Step 1: Mix room temperature butter with apple butter and light brown sugar using a mixer for about 2 minutes.

Step 2: Scrape the edge of the bowl and then add the egg and the vanilla mixing for another 2 minutes.

Step 3: Scrape the edge of the bowl again and then add the flour, baking powder and salt mixing until just until the last streak of flour is combined.

Step 4: Add the apple butter swirl and mix on low speed allowing them to slightly marble together.

Step 5: Refrigerate the marbled cookie dough for 30-60 minutes, until it’s scoopable and holds its shape well. .

Step 6: Scoop 2.5 ounces of cookie dough onto two baking sheets (5-6 cookies per sheet), and bake for about 14-16 minutes.

Step 7: Remove from the oven bang them on the counter and use a biscuit cutter to scoot or a utensil to press the sides in to make the cookies round (if needed).

Apple Butter Icing

Step 1: Combine the powdered sugar with the apple butter and heavy whipping cream until it’s completely smooth.

Step 2: Drizzle on top of the cooled cookies and serve. Allow the icing to set before storing. 

How To Bake These Cookies (Convection And Conventional)? 

I always bake in a convection (fan) oven but when I took some polls on instagram, most of you said you either don’t have one or you don’t know how to use your convection oven. So since I developed ALL my recipes in a 350F convection oven, I decided to experiment with a conventional. 

If you don’t know the difference, a convection oven has a fan that circulates the heat more evenly. This usually results in a quicker bake, so always do less time if you’re unsure and it also gives a more even browning. If you’re not used to it, the change can be frustrating. 

Most convection ovens will automatically reduce the temperature of the oven by 25F. So if I set my oven to 350F convection, my oven thermometer will read 325F. So when I bake the same thing in a conventional oven, I reduce the temperature to 325F and my oven thermometer still reads 325F. 

Baking with a convection oven (fan)

Bake 2.5 oz cookies at 350F (177C) for total 14-16 minutes

Baking with a conventional oven (no fan) 

Bake 2.5 oz cookies at 325F (163C) for 16-18 minutes

How To Get Perfectly Round Cookies

Most cookies bake a little bit uneven around the edges, especially if the dough is soft and not refrigerated before baking. To get your cookies perfectly round, as soon as you remove them from the oven, use anything round like a biscuit cutter/cup/mug, etc. to scoot the cookies around within the circle. 

Be gentle so you don’t break the soft cookie but you have to be quick and do it as soon as the cookie comes out of the oven, before the edges set. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can the cookie dough be made ahead of time?

The cookie dough is pretty soft so you’ll want to refrigerate the cookie dough for 30-60 minutes, until it’s scoopable. Then scoop it out and refrigerate the cookie dough balls on a plate or tray until they’re firm. 

Now place them in a ziplock bag and freeze. Remove them a few hours in advance, bring them back to room temperature and bake like you would fresh. 

Can I make these dairy free or vegan?

I haven’t tested egg free cookies but you can make these cookies with dairy free butter and dairy free milk or cream for the glaze.

Can I make these gluten-free?

I have tested my base cookie dough recipes with 1:1 substitute for King Arthur and Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Flour Blends. The cookies turnout perfectly, they just have a traditional gluten-free flour flavor which is a little earthy/nuttier which might be masked by the cinnamon anyway.

Can I use store bought apple butter?

Of course! Especially if you’re in a pinch and you want to save time.

How To Store Apple Butter Cookies

Easy! Just place them in a ziplock bag and keep them at room temperature for a few days. They obviously will dry out a little more the longer you leave them but I just pop them in the microwave for like 5-10 seconds before eating. 

Thanks so much for reading today’s post, if you have any questions just comment down below. 

If you make these apple butter cookies, I would love it if you left a star rating for it in the recipe card. 

As always, have a blessed day and happy baking!

Love, B

bitten apple butter cookie next to apples and other cookies

Apple Butter Cookies

Soft and chewy apple butter cookies with an apple butter cinnamon sugar swirl throughout and an apple butter icing on top.
4.67 from 6 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Cookies
Cuisine American
Servings 11 cookies
Calories 328 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

Cinnamon Swirl

  • 1 Tbsp (14g) salted butter melted
  • 1 Tbsp (18g) apple butter
  • 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Apple Butter Cookies

  • 1/2 cup salted butter room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup (65g) apple butter
  • 1 large egg room temperature or cold
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour spooned and leveled
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

Apple Butter Icing

  • 3/4 cup (90g) powdered sugar spooned and leveled
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) heavy whipping cream
  • 1 Tbsp (18g) apple butter

Instructions
 

Cinnamon Swirl

  • In a small bowl, combine the melted butter with the apple butter, dark brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix them together until the mixture is well combined. Cover it and set it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, while you make the cookies.
    1 Tbsp (14g) salted butter, 1 Tbsp (18g) apple butter, 1/4 cup (50g) dark brown sugar, 1 tsp ground cinnamon

Apple Butter Cookies

  • In the bowl of the stand mixer, fit with a paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand mixer), place the room temperature butter with the light brown sugar and apple butter. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for two minutes.
    1/2 cup salted butter, 1 cup (200g) light brown sugar, 1/4 cup (65g) apple butter
  • Scrape the edge of the bowl and then add the egg and the vanilla. Turn the mixer back up to medium speed and beat for another two minutes.
    1 large egg, 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Scrape the edge of the bowl again and then add the flour, baking powder and salt. Turn the mixer up to low speed and mix just until the last streak of flour is combined.
    2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • By now the cinnamon swirl mixture should have hardened a little. It should be firm but malleable, not frozen hard. Add this to the cookie dough and turn the mixer up to low speed for just a couple seconds to allow the mixtures to marble together. Don't over-mix.
  • Refrigerate the marbled cookie dough for 30-60 minutes, until the dough is firm but scoop-able and holds it's shape well.
  • Preheat the oven to 350F/177C convection (325F/163C conventional) Scoop 2.5 ounces of cookie dough onto two baking sheets (5-6 cookies per sheet), and bake for about 14-16 minutes. The edges should feel set, the center should puff up and not look wet.
  • Remove the cookies from the oven, give the pan a good bang on the counter (should shrivel a bit when you do this) and use something round or a utensil to press in the sides to make them more round (if they need it). Allow them to cool on the pan for at least 10 minutes before removing.

Apple Butter Icing

  • Once the cookies have cooled, in a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar with the apple butter and heavy whipping cream. until it's completely smooth.
    3/4 cup (90g) powdered sugar, 2 Tbsp (30mL) heavy whipping cream, 1 Tbsp (18g) apple butter
  • Drizzle on top of the cookies and serve or allow the icing to set.

Notes

I got 11 cookies that were 2.5 ounces each. If you make them just 2 ounces, you could get like 13 cookies and reduce bake time by 1-2 minutes. 

Nutrition

Calories: 328kcalCarbohydrates: 55gProtein: 3gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 7gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.4gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 274mgPotassium: 80mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 357IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 77mgIron: 1mg
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