To be honest, I don’t know where my psychotic love for baking came from.
I mean, I don’t even have a sweet tooth. How does that happen?
Also, I grew up in the LEAST “cooking household” ever. My mom made dinner two or three times a week, and the rest of the week we either fended for ourselves (read: cereal or frozen Kids Cuisine meals) or we had take-out/fast-food. My parents hated cooking and still do.
And while I’d love to say my love of cooking was blossomed from spending hours rolling out sugar cookies or perfecting apple pies with a loving grandparent, I can’t.
One grandma saved stale macaroni so I could make macaroni faces on paper plates with Elmer’s glue. She did pass down some amazing food when she cooked, but I never really witnessed her cooking and therefore, never participated.
My other grandma, bless her heart, loves her microwave. And has an oven that’s about as old as time itself and sparks often, leaving half of the poor slice and bake cookies burnt to freaking ashes, and the other half somewhat undone.
And one time, she heard from someone that adding sour cream to chocolate cakes or brownies can enhance the flavor, but she neglected to stir it in all the way. I distinctly remember seeing a plate of marshmallow-filled brownies sitting on the counter, squealed with joy, took a big bite, and frowned instantaneously. Those weren’t marshmallows.
Certainly my love of baking isn’t genetic. Or based on fond baking memories.
Maaaaybe it’s because I love food so stinkin’ much. Maybe it’s because I find some weird, immense pleasure in baking ALL. DAY. on my days off (I clocked in 5 hours straight yesterday). Maybe it’s because I love watching people’s faces light up when they see a pan of brownies (not with sour cream, fyi) or plate of cookies.
Especially fun flavored ones. Those, I’ve come to find, are my specialty.
No longer are the days in this house when I bake “just a pan” of brownies. My family has come to expect some kind of hidden twist lurking in that innocent-enough-looking cookie or cupcake.
These cookies were no exception.
While they look kinda unsuspecting, they’re filled with flavors of fall. They’re spice-based cookies stuffed with diced red apples, cinnamon, and Caramel Apple Milky Way candy bars. Don’t call your eye doctor; you read that right. Caramel. Apple. Milky Ways. Say it with me.
If that’s not baking love, I don’t know what is.
1 box spice cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1 medium apple, peeled and roughly diced (I used Gala, but Golden Delicious would work too)
1 tsp cinnamon
About 20-24 Caramel Apple Milky Way candies, unwrapped
1/4 cup cinnamon sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 cookie sheets with silicone liners or spray lightly with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, eggs and oil until blended. Stir in the apples and the teaspoon of cinnamon to combine.
3. Scoop out heaping Tablespoonfuls of dough and place it in your palm. Press an unwrapped candy in the center of the cookie dough ball and gently fold the dough around the candy to enclose it. Place the filled cookie dough on the baking sheets, 1-2″ apart.
4. Sprinkle the dough balls with cinnamon sugar, then bake for approx. 8-10 minutes, rotating pans halfway through baking time to ensure even cooking. Allow to cool 5 minutes on the pan, then carefully transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.
5. These cookies can be stored airtight, at room temperature, up to 2 days.
I love the unexpected softness and sweetness from the diced apples, and the gooey, caramel-appley center from the candy bars. My dad and brother flipped for these fall spice cookies and I know you will, too!
Have a fabulous Monday!