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Applesauce Cookies

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  • 2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 Cup Applesauce
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Nuts
  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 3/4 Cups Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Applesauce Cookies

A spiced apple cookie with a caramel frosting

60 minutes

Serves: 36 Cookies


These applesauce cookies have a warming spiced flavor in a cake-like cookie and get topped with a deliciously rich—but easy— caramel frosting.

Applesauce Cookies Ingredients

These Applesauce Cookies are a bit controversial in our family (my mom hates them!) but they are always on my Aunt Sandy’s Christmas cookie tray. Hated by some, loved by more they are a great cookie for a family feud. The cookie itself is kind of light and cake-y but filled with great spiced apple flavor. The hero though is the frosting. A fairly quick and easy caramel type frosting finishes theses cookies off to make them something special. Because of all the spices, these cookies are great for fall and always welcome on any holiday cookie tray. Well, almost always.

The cookies themselves are pretty straight forward. Combine your dry ingredients well and set aside. Then, cream your fat and sugar and start adding the rest of your wet ingredients. Slowly add the dry into the wet in 1/2 – 1 Cup increments and mix on slow just to combine. Add the mix-ins at the end and mix just to evenly distribute. Grandma’s recipe card calls for raisins and chopped nuts. I used pecans as that’s what I had on hand and I think go best with these cookies. Instead of raisins though, I used currants. I still had a bunch on hand left over from a Christmas fruitcake and I like their flavor and size much better. You could easily omit either or both of the nuts and raisins though.

The big hero of these Applesauce cookies is the frosting! It’s a fairly easy caramel type frosting to make but you’ll want to be careful. If you’ve got younger bakers helping you, making the frosting might be a good time for them to step back and watch. Melting the butter is pretty straightforward of course, but once the butter and sugar start boiling, things can get a bit sticky – literally! When you add the milk to the boiling butter and sugar is when it can really bubble up. Just be careful and watch what you’re doing and you’ll be fine. And once you try the frosting it will be all worth it!

I hope you give these cookies a try! If you absolutely hate them like my mother, please let me know as that will make her feel good. LOL! If you love them though, please let me know that, too. Or share a picture of your end result and tag me in it on Instagram (@BDHBakes).


Applesauce Cookies Recipe Card Front Applesauce Cookies Recipe Card Back


  • Preheat the oven to 375º 
  • Mix Together Dry Ingredients 

    In a medium bowl, combine the all purpose flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg by whisking it all well until the mixture is all one consistent color. Set aside for later.

    Applesauce Cookies Dry Ingredients
    Applesauce Cookies Dry Ingredients Whisked Together
  • Cream Sugar and Shortening 

    In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and shortening. Start the mixer on slow and increase it to medium speed and mix for about three to five minutes or until the mixture is very light and fluffy.

    Applesauce Cookies Sugar and Shortening
    Applesauce Cookies Sugar and Shortening Creamed Together
  • Add Egg & Applesauce 

    Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the egg. Mix to combine for about 30 seconds. Next, add the applesauce and mix starting slow and gradually increase to medium speed. Mix until well combined, about three to five minutes.

    Applesauce Cookies Add Egg
    Applesauce Cookies Egg Mixed In
    Applesauce Cookies Add Applesauce
    Applesauce Cookies Applesauce Mixed In
  • Add Dry Ingredients 

    Add the dry ingredients mixture from step 2 to the large mixing bowl in stages. Add about 1/2 cup of the dry mixture and mix on low until the dry ingredients are no longer visible. Repeat until all of the dry ingredients are added and well mixed.

    Applesauce Cookies Add Dry Ingredients
    Applesauce Cookies Mixing Dry Ingredients
    Applesauce Cookies Cookie Dough Finished
  • Add Mix Ins 

    First chop the nuts if needed. Then add the nuts and raisins to the cookie dough and mix on low for about a minute to evenly distribute.

    Applesauce Cookies Chop Nuts
    Applesauce Cookies Add Pecans and Raisins
  • Scoop out Cookies and Bake 

    Using a cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out about 1 1/2 Tablespoons per cookie onto a unprepared cookie tray. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. About half way through the cooking time, rotate the tray 180º for even baking.

    Applesauce Cookies Scoop Cookie onto Tray
  • Allow to Cool 

    After baking, allow the cookies to cool ON the cookie tray for about 5 minutes. Then, move to a wire wrack to cool completely.

  • Melt Butter 

    While the cookies are baking, get started on the frosting. Start by adding the butter to a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat and cook until melted.

    Applesauce Cookies Add Butter
    Applesauce Cookies Melted Butter
  • Add Sugar and Boil 

    Once the butter has just melted, add the brown sugar and continue to heat on medium heat. Stir to help dissolve the sugar and allow the mixture to come to a boil. Boil the butter and sugar together for about 2 minutes.

    Applesauce Cookies Add Brown Sugar
    Applesauce Cookies Boil Butter and Sugar
  • Add Milk 

    After two minutes of roiling boil for the butter and sugar - slowly add in the milk. This will likely bubble and splatter a great deal to be careful. Once all the milk is added allow mixture to come back to a boil (it might not need to) and boil for an additional minute and then immediately remove from the heat and allow to cool.

    Applesauce Cookies Add Milk
    Applesauce Cookies Allow to Cool
  • Add Sugar and Vanilla 

    Once the mixture has cooled to lukewarm - about 10 to 15 minutes - add the powdered sugar and the vanilla. Whisk together starting slow and gradually getting faster to slowly incorporate all the sugar. Keep whisking until perfectly smooth.

    Applesauce Cookies Add Powdered Sugar and Vanilla
    Applesauce Cookies Frosting Whisked Until Smooth
  • Frost Cookies and Enjoy 

    Once the cookies have cooled completely they are ready to frost. Spread about a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cookies and spread and swirl. Cookies are ready to enjoy immediately but will also keep for a week or more in an airtight container.



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