Caramel Apple Cookies
These caramel apple cookies are soft, chewy and are overflowing with fall flavors. These cookies are made with real apple juice, which really brings out the apple flavor, a caramel frosting, and are topped with a buttery streusel topping.
For all of you Crumbl cookie lovers, you are right at home! I’ve gotten on the copycat Crumbl bandwagon and you should join me by trying my copycat cookies and cream milkshake cookies, Crumbl sugar cookies, Crumbl chocolate chip cookies, and my giant Oreo sandwich cookies.
Why This Recipe Works
- Softer than the original. I love making copycat Crumbl cookies because if there are flavor combinations I love, I can adapt the recipe to really make the cookie work. Just like with this cookie! My copycat version is much softer and tastier than the original.
- Apple flavor that really comes through. Instead of using apple chunks or apple sauce, we get our natural apple flavoring from a blend of apple juice concentrate and apple pie spice. Every bite has a warm, apple spice flavor without sacrificing texture.
- The caramel flavor is more prominent. We really bring out the caramel flavor in the frosting thanks to caramel sauce and caramel extract. It pairs so well with the apple flavor that these caramel apple cookies are going to become your yearly go-to over candied apples.
- Apple Pie Spice: This is a blend of cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and allspice to really bring home the fall spice flavor.
- Dark Brown Sugar: This is what makes cookies have a depth of flavor that is unstoppable. While light brown sugar works too, dark brown will taste the best.
- Apple Juice Concentrate: It’s often WIC-approved and pretty affordable. Because it’s concentrated, a lot of flavor will come from the amount used. You can use the remaining concentrate to make apple juice to serve with your freshly baked cookies later!
- Caramel Sauce: Use any caramel sauce desired whether it’s homemade or store bought. I used Ghirardelli, but other brands or even caramel ice cream toppings will work.
- Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Add in the eggs and vanilla, beating until well combined.
- Add in half of the flour mixture and mix again to partially combine.
- With the mixer on low speed, add in the apple juice concentrate and then add in the remaining flour mixture, mixing until just combined.
- Portion the dough into ⅓ cup sized balls.
- Place them onto parchment lined baking sheets and bake in a 350-degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are no longer shiny and the edges are set and slightly golden brown.
- Remove them from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Make the Caramel Frosting
- Beat the butter until smooth in a mixing bowl. Add in the powdered sugar, caramel, caramel extract, and heavy cream beating again until smooth.
Make the Oat Streusel
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the remaining ingredients with a fork until well combined. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Assemble your cookies by placing the frosting into a Ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and piping it onto the tops of your cookies, in the pattern of a swirl, starting in the center and working your way out to the edges of the cookie.
- Top each cookie with some of the homemade streusel and serve.
Because these cookies are made without fresh apples, we can safely keep them stored at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Storing them in the fridge, in the same manner, can prolong the shelf life by another day or so.
You can make these caramel apple cookies smaller if desired. Simply follow the recipe as directed and adjust for size to make them smaller. The baking time will need to be reduced, so keep a close eye on them as they bake.
If desired you can use homemade caramel sauce or a salted caramel sauce for added flavor. Salted caramel sauce would pair very well and add a nice contrast in flavors in every delicious bite!
These cookies can last about 2-3 days in an airtight container at room temperature. For maximum freshness, I recommend eating them sooner rather than later.
If you cannot find caramel extract at your local grocery store in the extracts and seasoning section, you may have better luck finding them at a larger chain grocery store or online retailers like Amazon.com
If you plan on making the cookies in advance (like for a party or future snacking) you can freeze the portioned cookie dough on a baking sheet before transferring them to an airtight container. Then when you’re ready to bake, simply pull them out and place them onto a parchment lined baking sheet on the counter as the oven preheats ake and assemble as directed in the recipe card.
It depends on your preference. If you want a sweet apple, go for Fuji, Gala or Honeycrisp. Tart apples would be Granny Smith or Pink Lady. We avoid this issue since we use apple cider to bring the apple flavor to these cookies.
More Apple Recipes
Copycat Crumbl Caramel Apple Cookies
- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon apple pie spice
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened to room temperature
- 1 cup dark brown sugar - packed
- 2 eggs - at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup frozen apple juice concentrate - thawed
- 12 tablespoons butter - softened to room temperature
- 3 1/4 cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons caramel sauce - (I used Ghirardelli, but can use Mrs. Richardson or an ice cream caramel sauce)
- 1/2 teaspoon caramel extract
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- pinch salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons rolled oats
- Preheat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon. And apple pie spice. Set aside.
- In stand mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 mins. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
- Add half of the flour mixture and mix until partially combined. With mixer on low, add the apple juice concentrate, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Portion dough into 1/3 cup sized balls. Place on parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12-15 mins. The tops will no longer be shiny and the edges will be set and slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 3 mins and then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Beat butter until smooth. Add powdered sugar, caramel, caramel extract, and heavy cream. Beat until smooth.
- Place butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Once melted stir in remaining ingredients with a fork and stir until evenly combined. Remove from heat and let cool.
- Place frosting in a ziplock bag and snip the corner with scissors. Pipe the frosting on the cooled cookie starting in the center and swirling until you reach the edges of the cookie.
- Top each frosted cookie with homemade streusel.