Caramel Apple Cider Cookies

Fall is finally here!  It's my favorite.  Although every season that comes around, at that time I claim it as my favorite.  But since fall is here now, it's my favorite.  The layers of clothing, colorful scarves, orange and yellow colors throughout nature which are best enjoyed during walks at places like this. It's not completely jean and hoodie weather yet here in Nashville, but it's slowly creeping in.  The mornings are crisp and windy.  The afternoons are still a little warm, but we're getting there.  As I'm sure most people do, I have so many fun and warm memories that are remembered during the autumn season.  Pumpkin patches, corn mazes, apple-picking, haunted houses, and big bonfires with friends are a few that come to mind.

Along with warm clothing and fun memories come yummy comforting recipes.  The infamous pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin cookies, pies, and anything else you can transform pumpkin, cinnamon, caramel and apples into.  There are so many more autumn recipes on my to-make list.  To name a few:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

At least I have one crossed off the list!  I have high hopes to get all these treats made before thanksgiving arrives, but with two little look alike boys occupying the majority of my time, it may not happen. That's ok.  The recipes will always be here.  My little ones will not be at this stage of their life for long, and I plan to enjoy every minute.

So these cookies.  They're awesome.  I'm not a hot chocolate fan, so my warm drink of choice has always been apple cider.  When I saw a recipe for apple cider cookies with the addition of caramel, they immediately moved to the top of my recipes-to-make list.  They're pretty tricky and sort of frustrating to make, but they are well worth it, especially when eaten warm.  They taste perfectly like apple cider with a surprise of warm chewy caramel in the middle of the cookie.  I ate them for breakfast the next day, and while taking the above picture with the cookie on my cup of coffee, it totally fell in.  The coffee had just been made and was very hot.  I grabbed a spoon and tried to fish out the cookie.  It took me a few minutes and I couldn't get most of the disintegrated cookie from the bottom of the cup.  I had some delicious crumbs that flavored the last few sips of my coffee!

Go make these ASAP.  And then drop one into your coffee.

Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 box (7.4 oz) spiced apple cider instant drink mix packages(10 pkgs, the brand I found was Alpine)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups flour
1 bag Kraft Caramels (14 oz)

Preheat oven to 350.  Line cookie sheets with parchment (this step is essential, caramel is sticky!).  
Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon.
Cream together butter, sugar, salt, and all 10 pkgs of apple cider mix until fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla and mix.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture gradually, mixing after each addition.
Refrigerate for an hour (this step is also essential, this dough is not fun nor easy to deal with at room temperature).
Unwrap the caramels.  Scoop out balls of dough with a tablespoon or cookie scoop.
Flatten the cookie a bit with your hand, add a caramel to the center of the cookie, and fold cookie edges up over the caramel, covering it completely.  Place on parchment lined cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, until just barely light brown on the edges.  Slide the parchment sheet off the cookie sheet and onto the counter.  Allow them to cool just until they are slightly firm and still warm.  Carefully twist them off the parchment and let them completely cool upside down (I put them on a cookie rack at this point).  


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