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Apple Cider Cookies

Rosanna Pansino/TODAY All Day
2 dozen cookies

Chef notes

I grew up in Seattle and my home state of Washington is known for its apples. Washington actually produces over 50% of America’s apple crop! This cookie celebrates all of the best things about apples. Growing up, we had an apple tree in our backyard and every fall we would harvest the apples and make fresh apple cider and apple pie throughout the holidays. For me, it just isn’t Christmas without some type of apple treat baking away in the oven or mulling on the stove.


Apple Cider Reduction (makes 1/2 cup)
  • 3 cups apple cider
    • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • teaspoons salt
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 large egg, room temperature
    • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
    • teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/3 cup apple cider reduction
    • 1 small apple, peeled and cubed (about 1/2 cup)
    Butter mixture
    • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider reduction
    Spiced Sugar Mixture
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    Vanilla Icing
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • tablespoons whole milk


    Make the apple cider reduction:


    In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add apple cider and bring to a boil.


    Lower heat and simmer until reduced to ½ cup. It should take about 30 to 60 minutes.


    Remove from heat and cool completely.

    Make the cookies:


    Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line three half sheet pans with parchment paper.


    In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and cook on medium to low heat, stirring constantly, until butter starts to turn a golden brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.


    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and whisk to combine.


    In a large bowl, whisk together the cooled brown butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar.


    Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and reduced apple cider to the sugar mixture and whisk to combine.


    Using a spatula, add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until the flour disappears.


    Fold in the cubed apple until evenly distributed. Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.


    Using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop, scoop 8 cookies onto each prepared sheet pan. Flatten each dough ball by pressing down on the top, creating a puck shape. Bake until golden brown, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool completely.

    Make the butter mixture: 


    In a small bowl, add the melted butter and the reduced apple cider and stir to combine.

    Make the sugar mixture:


    In another small bowl, add granulated sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves and stir to combine.

    Make the icing:


    In another small bowl, add powdered sugar, vanilla extract and milk and whisk until smooth. Put into a piping bag.


    Using a pastry brush, brush the butter mixture on top of each cookie.


    Dip the tops of the cookies into the sugar mixture.


    Drizzle icing over each cookie.