As a man who is proud of being both a New Yorker and of my Jewish heritage, these cookies speak to my love of the Big Apple, some of my fondest baking traditions and memories of my faith. Though these cookies are traditionally made for the Jewish masquerade holiday of Purim (and I loved making them with my mom on our well-floured kitchen table), they are delicious any time of year.
Technique tip: You can use a food processor to chop the apples, but make sure you still have some chunks.
Swap option: Store-bought pie crust can be substituted in this recipe, if desired, but be sure to still use the egg wash to hold the cookies together.
Make the filling:1.
In a non-reactive bowl, toss the apples, lemon juice, vanilla extract, apple pie spice, brown sugar, powdered sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt until well combined.2.
Place a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat.3.
Add the butter and swirl to melt and coat the bottom of the pan.4.
Add the apple mixture and cook, stirring often, until the apples have softened, about 8 minutes; cool completely.
Make the dough:5.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, confectioners sugar, apple pie spice, baking powder, orange zest and two pinches of salt until well combined.6.
In a food processor, pulse the brown sugar and butter until the consistency resembles clumps of sand; there should still be visible chunks of butter.7.
Add the eggs and vanilla, then pulse to combine.8.
Slowly add the dry ingredients, mixing until just combined, but still a bit grainy.9.
Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide the mixture evenly into two portions.10.
Shape each portion into a ball, place each in a zip-top bag and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.11.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Make the cookies:12.
On a well-floured work surface, using a well-floured rolling pin, roll out each dough ball into a sheet approximately ⅛-inch in thickness.13.
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter or an upside-down water glass, cut as many circles out of the dough as possible and transfer to parchment paper-lined sheet pans.14.
Spoon a small amount of the filling into the center of each cookie cutout, making sure to leave a border of dough all around the filling.15.
Brush the border of a cookie with the egg whites, and pinch together one edge of the cookie, essentially making a cone.16.
Fold up the other end of the cookie and pinch the ends together to make a tricorn hat or triangle; repeat with the remaining cookies.17.
Brush the exposed cookie dough with the remaining egg whites, especially over the pinched corners.18.
Refrigerate the cookies for 10 minutes, then bake until lightly golden brown, for 10 to 12 minutes.19.
Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before serving.