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Caramel Apple Cookies (Made with Fresh Apple Bits)

Love caramel apples, but not excited about the mess? Caramel apple cookies turn a favorite fall treat into an easy and tasty cookie form.

The guys noted that they like these better and better as they eat more cookies. It's best to have family or friends on hand to share them with so you're not tempted to eat the whole batch.

caramel apple cookies

How to Make Caramel Apple Cookies

These caramel apple cookies are great without the caramel, too, if you want a less sweet cookie. If you're in a hurry, mix in a half cup of toffee bits, caramel bits, or chopped nuts instead of making the caramel swirl.

It's your cookie, so make it the way your family likes best!


Gather your ingredients, you will need: 

  • Butter, softened
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Eggs
  • Baking soda
  • Salt 
  • Cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice blend, or apple pie spice blend
  • Flour
  • Apples 
  • Caramels
  • Heavy whipping cream


Heat oven to 375°. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream together room temperature butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add vanilla extract and egg, and beat until light and fluffy.

creamed butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla

Stir in flour, cinnamon (or spice blend), salt and baking soda, and mix until blended. The dough will be fairly stiff and dry.

Quarter, core, and dice the apple.  Stir the apple into the cookie dough. The dough should be firm. 

raw cookie dough with chunks of apple

If the apples make the dough too moist, you can add a pinch more flour (less than 2 tablespoons) to achieve the correct consistency.

The dough shouldn't stick to your hands, and should keep its shape when placed on the baking sheet.

unbaked cookies on pan

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto lined baking sheet, and bake for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely.

baked cookies on cooling rack

Melt caramels and heavy whipping cream together until smooth. Move the cookies back onto the parchment paper to catch the drips, and drizzle caramel over cookies.

apple cookies with caramel drizzle

Which apples should I use for my caramel apple cookies?

Tart apples are our preferred option for more apple flavor, but you can use whatever you have available. 

If you're apple hunting, Cortland apples are a great choice for their tartness as well as their color.  Granny Smith apples are another baking favorite, but not generally found in northern orchards.

Empire, Winesap, and Harrelson are other locally grown apples that I like to use for baking.

Tips for working with Fresh Apples

Chop your apples right before mixing them into the dough, so they don’t oxidize and turn brown. Leave the peels on for more apple color and flavor in your caramel apple cookies.

Choose apple varieties that brown more slowly, such as:

  • Cortland
  • Empire
  • Goldrush
  • Ginger Gold
  • Cameo

If your apples are extremely juicy, it's okay to add a little more flour for a stiffer dough.

Print Friendly Recipe


Caramel Apple Cookies (Made with Fresh Apple Bits)

Fresh apples team up with a yummy caramel drizzle in these moist, tender cookies.

  • Author: Laurie Neverman
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cooling time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 24 cookies 1x
  • Category: Dessert



Cookie dough:

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • 1 medium tart apple, finely chopped

Caramel drizzle:

  • 10 caramels (small, individually wrapped–such as Kraft)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together brown sugar and butter in a large bowl. Add vanilla extract and egg, and beat until light and fluffy. Stir in flour, cinnamon (or spice blend), salt and baking soda, and mix until blended. The dough will be fairly stiff and dry.
  3. Quarter, core, and dice the apples. Add diced apples to the dough, mixing them in really well. 
  4. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until lightly browned.
  5. Place on wire racks to cool.
  6. Once cookies are cooled, unwrap and place caramels and heavy whipping cream in a small pot on the stove.  Heat gently until you can easily stir, and the caramel drips in a thin steady stream from your spoon.  Drizzle the caramel over the cookies in a side to side pattern using your spoon.
  7. Store cookies loosely covered with wax paper between layers to prevent sticking. Best eaten within a few days.


If you're in a hurry, substitute a half cup of toffee bits, caramel bits, or chopped nuts mixed into the batter for the caramel swirl, or skip it completely. 

For a homemade caramel, gather 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, sprinkle of salt, and 1/4 cup heavy cream.

  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar to the butter and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
  2. Add the salt and cream; bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue cooking, stirring, for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Cool for about 5 to 10 minutes in the refrigerator before drizzling over cookies.


Keywords: cookies, apples, caramel, fall desserts

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caramel apple cookies with fresh apple bits

More Apple Recipes

We love apples, and enjoy them fresh and cooked. In addition to apple jam, dehydrating apples, and other apple preservation, some of our favorite apple recipes include:

Cranberry Apple Pie

Easy Apple Cake with Caramel Topping

Fried Apples with Maple Glaze

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