This is one of the first recipes I ever requested, some 30-odd years ago. I may not have known much about life back then, but I sure knew an exceptional cookie when I tasted it. These are still one of my all-time favorites.
What strikes me is how much less complicated this recipe is. Look at it, there are three lines of directions. Compare that to the pages of directions often seen in today's recipes. Of course, recipes today often are more complicated. And I must say I appreciate the additional information. It has helped bring my home baking to a higher level, and for that I am thankful. But it kind of mirrors life, don't you think? Life was less complicated... recipes were less complicated...
I tend to go with the larger amount of apples (although I didn't this time). The batter will almost seem like it can't hold them all, but I just love the cookies this way. They are spicy and abundant with apples, like apple pie in cookie form. Pair them with cream cheese icing and they move up to "To Die For" status.
Fresh Apple Cookies
cream cheese icing (recipe follows)
2 C. + 3 T. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. milk
1/2 C. shortening
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/3 C. brown sugar
1 to 1 1/2 medium apples, cored and cut into 1" pieces, peeled or unpeeled (* I always peel them and cut them first into quarters, then cut each quarter into 4 or 5 slices, then maybe 1/2-inch pieces, then run a knife through the pile a few times. Or cut them like you like them. I use Granny Smith apples.)
1 C. chopped nuts (* I use 1/2 C. because I'm not a huge nut fan)
Add all ingredients except apples and nuts and mix well. Add apples and nuts.
Bake on a greased pan for 12 minutes at 350-375 deg. F. (* I baked at about 365 deg. F for closer to 14 minutes. I bake them until they're just set and they don't give much when touched gently. I like them soft. If you underbake them, they tend to fall apart.)
Frost with cream cheese icing or icing of your choice.
Cream Cheese Icing
This recipe comes from Kathy F., a talented and giving cake decorator who was nice enough to share her recipe. (Check out her site at Kathy's Kakes to view her fantastic cakes.) I like it for these cookies because it crusts (dries to the touch) so the cookies can be stacked. This recipe works well for decorated cakes also.
1 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
16 oz. cream cheese
3 lbs powdered sugar
1 T vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
Combine butter, shortening, and cream cheese and mix on low speed until well mixed. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt and mix on low speed until well mixed.
Kathy says... "This makes a fairly stiff icing if you use 3-1/2 pounds powdered sugar. For a softer one you can use 3 lbs. of powdered sugar. "(* I usually use 3 pounds.)