Apple Dapple Thumbprint Cookies

Baked Apple Dapple Thumbprint Cookies on a plate

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A cake recipe from my grandmother inspired these cookies. Packed with flavor from apples, candied pecans, and brown butter, these apple dapple thumbprint cookies are like a hug in the form of a cozy dessert. 



Ingredients for the Candied Pecans

  • 14 g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 130 g (about 1 and 1/4 cup) pecans
  • 30 g (2 tbsp) water
  • 48 g (4 tbsp) brown sugar
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • Optional: Pinch of cinnamon


Ingredients for the Dough

  • 225 g (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 200 g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 200 g (1 cup) light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) vanilla extract
  • 130 g (about 1 cup) all-purpose flour, spooned and level
  • 130 g (about 1 and 1/4 cup) pecans, ground into a sandy texture using a blender or food processor
  • 2 g (1/2 tsp) baking powder
  • 1.5 g (1/4 tsp) baking soda
  • 5 g (1 and 1/2 tsp) kosher salt
  • 50 g (1 and 1/3 cup) freeze dried apples, chopped into small bits
  • About 60 g apple jam (approximately 2-3 tablespoons, depending on the size of your thumbprint!)


Browning your butter

  1. Brown your stick of butter over medium-high heat, which will take around 8 minutes. Monitor closely and stir often to ensure your butter isn’t burning. You’ll know it’s nearly done after it’s bubbly and foamy and has begun turning golden brown. Once it smells nutty and becomes amber in color, remove it from the heat source. 
  2. Pour your browned butter into a heat-resistant, sealed container and place it in the refrigerator or freezer to expedite the cooling process. When you next use it, you’ll want it to be solid. It should take 30-45 minutes in your freezer and about twice as long in your refrigerator.

Candying Your Pecans

  1. Rinse out the pot you used to brown your butter and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Once melted, after about two minutes, toss your chopped pecans into the melted butter and stir until butter coats all your nut pieces.
  2. Next, add two tablespoons of water and four tablespoons of brown sugar to your pot, along with a pinch of kosher salt. Stir until the mixture thickens and coats your pecan pieces. Add a dash of cinnamon if desired and remove from pot.
  3. To cool, set aside nuts on a tray lined with parchment paper while prepping your dough.

Making Your Dough

  1. Once your brown butter has firmed up, place it and both of your sugars in the bowl of your stand mixer. Cream together on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as well as your paddle and add your egg and vanilla. Beat on high for 7-8 minutes. Monitor your bowl and scrape sides as needed to ensure all ingredients combine.
  3. Measure your flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground pecans, and salt together and mix them with a fork in a separate container.
  4. Add to your stand mixer bowl all the ingredients from the previous step, and set mixer speed to low. Mix just until the ingredients are evenly distributed, right around 15 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
  5. Toss your candied pecans and freeze dried apple pieces into your bowl. Mix them into your dough using a spatula. Mixing this way results in a chewier cookie and prevents gluten from forming.
  6. Prepare your baking pans with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, place golf-ball sized scoops of dough onto your lined baking pans. Take your thumbprint and make an indent on top of them. Let them chill in your refrigerator for at least one hour or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Baking your cookies

  1. About 10 minutes before you plan to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Once the dough balls have firmed up, bring them out of your refrigerator or freezer. Take approximately 1/4 tsp of apple jam and place it in the thumbprint atop your cookies. It doesn’t spread much so you can add a little more if desired.
  3. Once your oven is preheated, bake your cookies for 13 mins. Let them rest and firm up on your baking sheet for about three minutes after exiting the oven before transferring them to a cooling rack.
  4. Eat and enjoy!

Keywords: cookies, fall desserts, apple desserts