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Caramel Apple Cookies

Posted by Tiffany at Recipe Goldmine 4:11:55pm 9/16/03

Makes about 2 dozen.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon apple pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Red and green food coloring pastes
24 green wooden craft sticks
1 (14 ounce) package caramels
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup chopped cashews

Heat oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, apple pie spice, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, using a mixer set on high, beat butter and both sugars until fluffy. With mixer on low, beat in eggs and vanilla extract; beat in flour mixture.

Remove 1/3 cup of dough to a small mixing bowl; tint green. Tint remaining dough red; divide in half.

On a lightly floured surface, roll half of the red dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using an apple-shaped template or cookie cutter, cut dough into shapes; place 3 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Place a craft stick under "stem" end of each cookie, pressing dough lightly. Using your fingers, mold a small piece of green dough into a leaf shape and place on top of each apple cutout on baking sheet. Repeat rolling and cutting process with remaining dough. Bake until crisp but not browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small saucepan, heat caramels and water over low heat, stirring often, until smooth. Set a wire rack over a wax papered baking sheet. Dip the cookie bottoms into melted caramel and then into chopped nuts. Let cookies stand until caramel is set, about 1 hour.

To store cookies, be sure the caramel is completely set and wrap each cookie individually in waxed paper. Do not try to stack the cookies before the caramel has hardened.

Tip: For a favorite teacher, attach halved spearmint leaf candies and pipe a stem and message on the apple with melted chocolate.