These soft Caramel Apple Cookies are the best gluten-free, vegan cookies you’ll have this season! The apple cookies are made with real apples and bake for only 10 minutes. They are then topped with a simple dairy-free homemade caramel sprinkled with cinnamon for the perfect fall dessert.
Is anyone else swooning over all the Fall flavors more this year than previous years like I am?! Well, my overzealous love for all the Fall treats led me to one of the best cookie recipes I’ve made to date… Caramel Apple Cookies! Now you’re swooning, too, huh?! 😉 I could not be more excited with how these soft, melt-in-your-mouth cookies turned out! They are so easy to make, and I love that they include real apples in the cookie batter.
You’ll start by making a batch of my vegan caramel sauce. My caramel sauce is so easy to make at home and it also happens to be vegan and dairy-free. It’s made with simple ingredients like plant butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and plant milk. And yes, you guessed it- it makes the most amazing topping on these delicious apple cookies. By using caramel as the “frosting” I was also able to cut back on the sugar content in these cookies. Skip all the powdered sugar, your body will thank you later, hehe. And not to mention it’s freaking delicious!
Inside the apple cookies we have a homemade apple mixture made with real Stemilt apples. Now, it’s not completely liquid apple cider, it’s more of an applesauce consistency to help these cookies stay moist and set up just right. I combined real Stemilt Fuji apples with allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon to give it that apple cider flavor. I chose Fuji apples for these cookies because they are the sweetest of the apples and they work perfectly in baking recipes. You can read more about the history of Fuji apples here.
By using plant butter and flax eggs in the cookie batter these cookies are vegan friendly, diary-free, and gluten-free! I also use peanut butter in both the cookie batter and the caramel sauce, but you can easily swap out the peanut butter for another nut butter or even sunflower seed butter to make them nut-free too. They are so soft, and I’ll bet you won’t be able to just eat one!
For the caramel
- 3 tablespoons vegan/plant butter (may sub with coconut oil instead if you wish)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter/other nut butter or sunflower seed butter
- 2 tablespoons oat milk (or other creamier plant milk like cashew or coconut)
For the apple mixture
- 3 large Fuji apples, peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon allspice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ cup apple cider
For the Cookies
- 2 flax eggs (2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal + 4 tablespoons water)
- ½ cup plant butter
- 1 cup sugar (may substitute with coconut sugar, but cookies will be darker in color)
- ¼ cup peanut butter (or other nut/seed butter if you want a more neutral flavor)
- apple mixture from above
- 2 cups gluten-free 1:1 baking flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Make the caramel first. In a small saucepan, melt the plant butter/coconut oil over high heat. Once melted, whisk in the maple syrup, vanilla and pinch of salt. Next, whisk in the nut/seed butter, whisking continuously until the mixture starts to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk in the oat milk until it's smooth and silky like caramel! Set the caramel aside while you make the cookies.
- Combine the apples, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla and water in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the apples start to break down and become soft and juicy. Continue to simmer until the liquid reduces to about 1/2- about 15-20 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 375°F. Make your flax eggs by combining the flaxseed meal and water and letting it sit for a few minutes until it "gels up". In a large bowl, beat the butter, nut/seed butter, and sugar with an electric mixer (or in your stand mixer) on low speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended.
- Beat in ½ cup of the apple mixture and flax eggs until well mixed.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Slowly beat in the flour mixture with the wet mixture until well combined. Then using a spatula, fold in the remaining half of the apple mixture.
- On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls OR you can use a cookie scoop, I used the D40 cookie scoop size. Bake 10 to 12 minutes and cool for about 15-20 minutes before topping with the caramel.
- When the cookies are cool, spread a layer of caramel over the cookies and sprinkle with cinnamon. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
**Note: if you use sunflower seed butter, your cookies will likely turn green as they cool. Google why this happens!
* You will likely have some of the apple mixture left over depending on the size of apples you used. It's great on toast, on ice cream, pancakes, waffles or just enjoying as applesauce!