The Year-End Pantry: Applesauce Caramel Cookies

Applesauce carmel cookies_n

Wrapping up another year in the Arctic before we go to our summer home in Seward, these caramel-topped applesauce cookies were a terrific way to work through the last of our supply of applesauce. 

A few lonely jars, bottles and boxes remain atop the cabinetry that lines the walls off our kitchen. Over five meters (sixteen-and-a-half feet) of uninterrupted shelf space that in August was packed tight to the ceiling with everything from chocolate to olives to nuts to jarred jalapenos is now mostly space. The remaining jars of salsa, soy sauce, sun dried tomatoes, Cholula and assorted other items stand like lonely sentinels overlooking our kitchen. It is the same throughout our house as freezers and pantries that had once been packed and piled with nine months worth of food are now nearly empty. And while our spice racks look full, it’s a deception. Many of the bottles are empty or nearly so. Our bulk order for next year went in to Penzeys Spices last week.

Applesauce is a healthful moistening agent in a number of baking recipes. It’s also terrific in oatmeal, as a blintz topping and in pancake batter, and makes for a light snack on its own. When we lived within driving distance of Northern California’s Apple Hill and the numerous orchards there, we made our own applesauce. Up here, we annually purchase a couple of cases of Tree Top Organic from Costco. The cookies in this recipe feature the fall flavor of applesauce in a light, soft cookie. The crunchy carmel-flavored topping adds another layer of sweetness and texture.

Applesauce Caramel Cookies


  • 2  1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • caramel topping (see below)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and mace.  Set aside.
  3. Cream sugar and butter together.
  4. Add eggs and applesauce and mix well.
  5. Add in dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated.
  6. Drop tablespoons of batter onto parchment-lined baking sheets, 1 – 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, until edges of cookies begin to become golden brown.
  8. While cookies are cooling, prepare topping.

Caramel Topping


  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, heavy cream, brown sugar and granulated sugar.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture just begins to boil and the sugars are melted.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Scoop caramel mixture from pan with a teaspoon and drip onto cookies.
  6. Let caramel topped cookies fully cool before enjoying them.

Makes 3 dozen cookies.

Recipe adapted from Chef In Training

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