There is not anything you should doubt about this recipe. You should probably just skim over my blabbering text and jump right to it. Because these cookies are simple and delicious. This recipe unites three favorite Autumn savories into an Ultimate Sweet; together they form a triumvirate of addiction. In a good way.
The beautiful fall weather has turned the corner, away from warm afternoons where the breeze feels reviving and the sun coaxes you into slipping that sweater off. For some reason, that corner felt more like a hairpin turn. Breeze went through puberty, and the resulting Wind has a bite to her that stings your eyes till they weep at the corners.
Rather than wave their stinking naked selves upon the porch railing, your feet find themselves more comfortable tucked under the butt and legs of the person across the couch cushions. Your nose stubbornly maintains a bright red hue when you come inside, embarrassed by its own poor circulation. And its version of wimpy temper tantrum against the cold consists of dribbling snot down your face, always when its impossible to find a tissue.
Yes, it the time of year where warm and cozy don’t quite have the edge you need them to have. Warm and cozy would be nice, but after being bullied by the outdoors, you feel a bit aggressive yet. Warm and cozy don’t quite quell the why are my armpits sweating so much I’m so bloody cold, and the I’m so bloody cold and about to pee my pants but the though of dropping trough and touching porcelain ice is akin to torture thoughts burning through your brain.
So you need warm and cozy matched with a little happy burning. Warm? Apples and spices. Cozy? Cookies, duh. Kick in the pants to settle yourself down now that you are finally indoors? Whiskey.
These apple whiskey cookies have everything you can hope for in a Fall cookie. They are warmed with just enough cinnamon to make your nose twitch. The apple provides extra moisture that lasts throughout the baking process, keeping each cookie fluffy and light in every bite.
Toasted pecans have the essence of maple syrup (and who can say maple syrup fragrance is not something you should inhale every chilly day?) and give those fluffy cookies a much needed crunch.
And of course, whiskey intensifies just about every spice and flavor already in your cookies. Soaking your apples in whiskey for an hour (minimum) allows the apple to absorb key flavor notes, and then release them once the heat of the oven hits that dough.
A simple glaze of whiskey and powdered sugar gives these cookies that hot punch in the sinuses you are hoping for. But not too intense a blow (for better or for worse). It is mixed with sweet, wonderful sugar you know.
So what I am trying to say about these cookies is, well, they are exactly what you need after braving a brisk, raw Fall day. And they go great with a steaming mug of chai. Or a hot toddy (since that whiskey is already sitting out so pretty-like on the counter).
So, if you skipped all my ramblings and you’ve gotten to this, the recipe, Welcome. You are doing the right thing. Go on and get your warm and cozy cheekiness on.
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups sifted all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon mace (or nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 heaping cup, about 1 large apple, diced, skin on or off (whichever your fancy)
3 Tablespoons whiskey bourbon
1 cup pecans
1 3/4 cup powdered sugar
Dice your apple and place in a bowl or tupperware. Pour whiskey over apples. Allow to sit and soak for at least one hour, tossing every 20 minutes.
About 40 minutes into the soak, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Toast your pecans until maple wafts into your nostrils and they take on a deep amber hue. Set aside to cool.
While your pecans toast, combine all dry ingredients and sift well. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat egg and vanilla together, and add them to the butter bowl. Slowly add sifted ingredients, stirring gently until not quite combined. Add your apples, whiskey and all, to the dough. Stir until almost combined. Roughly chop pecans and add to the bowl.
Scoop about 2 tablespoons worth at a time onto your cookie sheet. The dough will be sticky and wet. If you prefer, you can chill the dough, covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes first to make this easier.
Bake your cookies 15-18 minutes (all of my batches took exactly 16). Cool. Try one plain. It is much less intense of a sugar rush and you may decide your prefer your cookies this way. But you really should try a bit of the glaze.
SO, sift powdered sugar into a bowl. It is important, seriously important to sift this. Otherwise your powdered sugar will stay lumpy, no matter how hard you stir. Promise. Add about 5 tablespoons of whiskey, or a combination of whiskey and milk if you desire more creaminess in your glaze. If you add too much liquid, simply sift a bit more powdered sugar in until you have the right consistency.
Drizzle, or dunk, or spoon the glaze over your cooled cookies as you see fit. If your are taking these somewhere, let them set up a bit before packing them or you will have a terribly delicious mess. Or if you’re like me, take some to the neighbors, some to the pizza guy, and curl up on the couch double-fisting these rascals.