Yield: 6 apple pie cookies // Total Time: 40 min. // Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links.
The softest brown sugar cookies get topped with streusel and filled with a homemade cinnamon apple pie filling. This recipe makes a small batch but can easily be doubled or tripled!
Small batch apple pie cookies
If you’ve ever wanted apple pie in a different form, this recipe is for you. It starts with the softest brown sugar cookie that just melts in your mouth, thanks to the addition of powdered sugar. Before baking, the cookies are topped with a simple streusel. After baking, we add a slight indent to the cookies to make space for the most deliciously spiced apple pie filling.
Why do you post small batch recipes?
I love making small batch bakes because they are the perfect size myself and others who don’t have a lot of people to bake for in their home. Small batch helps cut down on waste and eliminates the feeling that all that excess dessert MUST be eaten. Here on my blog I post a lot of small batch bakes with a mix of some 8-10″ single layer cakes from time to time. All my recipes can easily be doubled or tripled to fit your need, so long as you use grams to measure!
Small batch apple pie cookies recipe tips
Weigh your ingredients
Weighing your ingredients is important for getting the recipe perfect and getting consistent results. Not weighing your ingredients can lead to adding too much or too little of an ingredient. In a small batch recipe it is especially important to get those correct measurements because there is less room for error. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend purchasing a kitchen scale. This one is super cheap and worked well for me when I was starting out!
Room temperature ingredients
It is SUPER important for the ingredients to be at room temperature so that they properly incorporate with each other. If you have ever had your batter look curdled, it is most likely due to the ingredients separating from being at different temperatures. Take out the butter, egg yolk, and milk at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hr 30 min. before starting the recipe OR follow these methods for room temperature ingredients FAST:
- Fast room temperature eggs. Place the egg in a bowl in the sink and continuously run hot water over it for one minute. Alternatively (and less waste-fully) fill a bowl with warm water and let the egg sit in it for 5 minutes. Immediately separate the egg yolk and egg white, and store the egg white covered in the fridge or freezer for a different recipe!
- Fast room temperature milk. Microwave the milk in 5 second intervals until it is no longer cold (but not hot!). Because it is such a small amount, this should only take 5 seconds.
- Fast room temperature butter. Slice the butter into 1 tbsp. slices and place them flat on a plate. Microwave in 5 second intervals, until you can easily push into the butter.
Mix the dough carefully
When adding in the flour, only fold the mixture just until no flour streaks remain. Overmixing the dough leads to more gluten formation, which can make the cookies super tough and chewy.
Under bake for perfect cookies
Cookies continue baking after they have been taken out of the oven. The cookies may look a little underdone at 10 minutes, but it’s important to take them out to keep them nice and soft. Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for an additional 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool (or just eat them right there!)
Wanna know the secret to perfectly round cookies? It’s cookie scooting! Right when the cookies come out of the oven, take a bowl, cup, or biscuit cutter that is just slightly larger than your cookies and place it over one of the cookies. Gently swirl the bowl around the cookie to make the cookie perfectly round (and slightly thicker). And that’s all there is to it!
Ingredients and substitutions
For the brown sugar cookies:
All purpose flour: for structure and chewiness.
Baking powder: for helping the cookies rise.
Salt: to help balance and bring out the sweetness of the cookies
Unsalted butter: for tenderness and flavor. You can use salted butter in place of the unsalted, just be sure to omit the extra salt from the cookies. We will use some butter in the cookie dough, and some in the cheesecake filling.
Powdered sugar: for sweetness and for keeping the cookies extra soft and chewy. We will use some powdered sugar in the cookie dough, and some in the cheesecake filling.
Light brown sugar: for sweetness and for moisture.
Egg yolk: for binding and for moisture.
Milk: for moisture. I use whole milk but since you will only need 1 tbsp. here, feel free to substitute in your favorite milk or dairy alternative!
Vanilla: for flavor. I use and love this vanilla extract!
For the apple pie filling
You can click here for my homemade apple pie filling recipe. Note: if you would like to make things easier and used canned apple pie filling that is totally fine! You may need to chop up the apples in the canned filling just because they are usually quite large. The ingredients you will need to make my homemade apple pie filling are listed below:
Apples: use your favorite baking apple here! I used pink lady (since they are typically the least expensive), however when on sale I love to use honey crisp. You can also use fuji, gala, jonathan, granny smith, or braeburn!
Water: to simmer the apples and is the base of the “sauce” in the filling. We will also use a little bit of water to form a paste with the corn starch.
Lemon: fresh or bottled will work here. Helps to prevent browning and brings out the flavor of the apples.
Butter: adds some richness to the apple pie filling. Salted or unsalted will work here!
Ground cinnamon: the main flavor of the apple pie filling. If you are feeling a bit adventurous, you can use apple pie spice in place of the spices in this recipe. However, I find that cinnamon still tastes super delicious and is definitely more accessible and likely already in most people’s kitchen!
Ground nutmeg: a little bit of nutmeg adds some great flavor to the filling. If you don’t have access to nutmeg, you can just replace it with more cinnamon.
Granulated sugar: for sweetness.
Light brown sugar: for sweetness and a bit of flavor. You can also use dark brown sugar here.
Corn starch: we will use a little bit of corn starch to thicken up the apple pie filling. If you do not have access to corn starch, you can substitute in double the amount of all purpose flour in it’s place.
How to make small batch apple pie cookies
1. Make the apple pie filling. If you are making homemade apple pie filling, I would recommend making it first just because it is the most tedious part of the recipe. Here is my recipe for homemade apple pie filling. It will make much more than you need for this recipe, but it freezes wonderfully which is perfect for the next time you want some apple pie cookies!
2. Make the streusel. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add in the flour and brown sugar. Use a fork to mix the ingredients together until you have formed little clumps of dough.
3. Combine the butter and sugars. In a small bowl, use a fork to beat together the softened butter, light brown sugar and powdered sugar for ~2 minutes, until the mixture is cohesive and lighter in color.
4. Add in wet ingredients. Beat in the egg yolk and milk until well combined.
5. Add in dry ingredients. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the flour into the wet mixture, just until no flour streaks remain.
6. Bake. Use a medium sized cookie scoop (I always use a 3 tbsp. scoop) to dish out the cookies evenly spaced apart on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Top the cookies with the streusel. Not all the streusel will fit on the cookies – that’s okay! Leave the excess on the baking sheet to bake with the cookies so that you can top off the cookies later with that excess streusel. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes.
7. Get perfect cookies. Once the cookies come out of the oven, I recommend “scooting” them. This just means take a bowl, cup, or biscuit cutter that is slightly larger than the cookie, place it on top of the cookie, and swirl the bowl around to make the cookie a little more round. Immediately after doing that, use the bottom of a small bowl or shot glass (~3″ diameter) to indent the center of each cookie.
8. Fill the cookies. Add ~2 tbsp. of apple pie filling to the center of each cookie. Take any excess streusel from the pan and place it on top of the apple pie filling. Serve warm and enjoy!
Small batch apple pie cookies Q & A
How to fill the apple pie cookies
Right after you take the cookies out of the oven, use a small bowl or bottom of a shot glass (~3″) to indent the center of the cookie. This will create the perfect little bowl for the apple pie filling to sit in!
Can I double these apple pie cookies?
Of course! Obviously they will not be small batch anymore but small batch isn’t always what we need! Simply double all of the ingredients in the recipe to make 12 delicious apple pie cookies. I even more strongly recommend measuring by weight if you are going to double the recipe for the best results.
Can I make these cookies ahead of time?
Definitely! Cookie dough only gets better with time. You can keep the cookie dough tightly covered in the fridge for up to 3 days before baking. For longer term storage, you can also freeze the cookie dough. Just be sure to take the dough out of the fridge at least 30 minutes to 1 hour before you want to bake, so that it becomes soft enough to scoop again!
How to store apple pie cookies
Like most baked goods, these cookies will definitely taste the best on the day that they are baked. If you are keeping them, I highly recommend storing them in the fridge where they will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container.
Why do you measure in grams?
My recipes are all written in grams because it is the most accurate way to bake. When you use a kitchen scale, you ensure that your baked goods turn out as close to the written recipe as possible. Plus, the cleanup is way easier when using a scale! I will provide standard cup measurements but please note that I have not tested the recipe using cup measurements and therefore can not guarantee your recipe will come out how mine did. Here is my favorite kitchen scale, and here’s an article about why I use a kitchen scale, and why you should too!
A note on oven temperature
Ovens vary and fluctuate in temperature. For example, I always have to set my oven to 330°F if I want it to bake at 350°F. If you love to bake like I do, I highly recommend getting an oven thermometer. They are super helpful for letting you know when your oven might be lying to you! I use this one.
Tools and ingredients
Cookie Sheet: I absolutely love USA pan products because of their great quality. I use their cookie sheet which is always the perfect size for all of my small batch cookies!
Silicone baking mat: parchment paper will always do the job for cookies, but I like to use a silicone mat when I can to try to cut down on waste. This is the one I use.
Cookie scoops: I have gone through a lot of cookie scoops in my baking journey, and these ones have lasted me the longest without breaking. Plus they are dishwasher safe!
Vanilla: I love using Rodelle vanilla extract. Not only is it a great quality product, but it’s on the lower end of the price that vanilla can be! This is the one I use.
For a full list of tools, equipment and ingredients that I use and love, you can check out this page here.
Did you make these small batch apple pie cookies?
If you made these small batch apple pie cookies I would love to see them and know your thoughts! Please leave a comment and review down below, and tag me on Instagram @freshbeanbakery. If you have any questions about the recipe I will gladly do my best to answer them in the comments below!
Small Batch Apple Pie Cookies
- 14 g unsalted butter (1 tbsp.)
- 25 g light brown sugar (2 tbsp.)
- 40 g all purpose flour (⅓ c.)
Brown Sugar Cookies
- 56 g unsalted butter room temperature (¼ c.)
- 45 g powdered sugar (¼ c. + 2 tbsp.)
- 50 g light brown sugar (¼ c.)
- 1 egg yolk room temperature
- 1 tbsp. milk room temeprature
- 90 g all purpose flour (¾ c.)
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¾ c. apple pie filling
Apple Pie Filling
- If you are making homemade apple pie filling, follow the recipe to make it before starting the cookies.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add in the brown sugar and flour and use a fork to mix the ingredients together until you form small clumps of dough. Set aside.
Brown Sugar Cookies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or with a silicone baking mat.
- In a small bowl beat together the butter, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Beat in the egg yolk, milk, and vanilla.
- Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold the mixture together just until no flour streaks remain.
- Use a 3 tbsp. cookie scoop to dish out the cookies onto the prepared cookie sheet. Evenly space the cookies apart to allow room for spreading. Top each cookie with streusel, letting any excess streusel bake on the cookie sheet to be used later. Bake for 10 minutes.
- If desired, immediately after taking the cookies out of the oven, place a bowl that is slightly larger than the cookies over each cookie and gently swirl it around to make the cookies more circular. Then, use a small bowl or shot glass (~3" diameter) to indent each cookie.
- Place 2 tbsp. of apple pie filling in the center of each cookie, then top off with any extra streusel.
- Serve warm and enjoy!