I love-hate caramel apples. I mean, on the surface, they sound pretty fantastic. You get the crisp apple flavor mixed with a salty-sweet gooey caramel coating. And you don't even have to feel guilty eating it because it's a fruit, so that puts it squarely in the health food if you ask me. In theory, they couldn't be easier to make. You jam a stick in the top of the apple and drop it in a bowl of melted caramels. Done.
Except, let's be honest... it *never* works that way. First, you have to UNWRAP all those caramels. And caramels are by their very nature, the stickiest things on the planet. Which means that the flimsy cellophane wrappers stick in every crevice of every caramel. You probably end up melting just as much plastic as caramel. And then when you stick the caramel in the microwave, nothing happens. And nothing happens. And nothing happens. And then, all of a sudden, it's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and your caramel is tearing at the ceiling of your microwave and you've burned the whole lot. Which means you have to start over. Except, even worse than that, you have to clean the microwave first or the burning caramel will turn into sweet brown superglue of death and you'll never get it out. So you clean your microwave. And then try to peel more wrappers from their sticky candy counterparts with your even stickier fingers. Finally you give up with only 7 1/2 caramels in the bowl. I mean, you really only wanted one caramel apple anyway, right? You microwave the bowl in 2 second intervals for 4 minutes straight and finally get something you can vaguely stir.
Now you have to find a way to insert the stick in the apple. Without breaking the stick or the apple. It's a good thing you only unwrapped those 7 1/2 candies because you're only going to end up with one useable apple anyway. But by the time you get the stick in an apple... guess what? That caramel is now giving you the cold shoulder. So you have to spend another 2 minutes of your life microwaving in short bursts. Excited, you dip that perfectly sticked apple into the bowl, roll it around and realize it's covered in apple juice and none of the caramel is sticking. So then you put it down on the counter so you can grab a paper towel to wipe up the excess apple juice from the surface and realize exactly 0.01 seconds too late that you put it on the COUNTER and not the giant sheet of wax paper that you so thoughtfully prepared 45 minutes ago. So you move the apple to the wax sheet, ignoring the giant sticky mess in front of you, wipe the apple dry, and then slather it with whatever caramel is left, spreading it around with a cereal spoon. And THEN you are done.
Friends... I've got some good news for you. These apple cookies are WAY easier than that. They take just seconds to make. Seriously. I would not kid around about something like that.
First, you have to find these. They are green apple flavored Kool-Aid packets. It's a pretty popular flavor right now so you should be able to find them at nearly any grocery store. I added two packets to one batch of my Vanilla 2.0 cookie recipe. I added them right before the flour. And in case you are wondering... the flavor is not subtle. No one is going to wonder what these cookies taste like.
I kind of expected them to turn everything green, but they didn't really. So I added some electric green food coloring. You could add red instead and make red apples too. I kind of wish I would have made both. Then my kids could fight over their favorite color.
2. Pipe caramel colored icing on the bottom 2/3 of the cookie.
3. Immediately sprinkle jimmies or mini chocolate chips on to the wet icing. Allow to dry for 2-3 hours.
4. Gently turn over and plop some more caramel icing on the back. Press the stick softly into the icing.
5. Let it dry for another hour and then show them to every child you know.
One color of icing. That's way easier than unwrapping all those taunting cubes of stickiness.
AND.... if you have some of these just lying around the house... ADD THEM TO YOUR ICING. (If you don't have them, you can find them in the baking aisle of many grocery stores.) I kind of didn't like the flavor after I added it to the icing. It was just kind of weird. But then after I put it on the cookie and it dried...there aren't even words for how fantastic the flavor combination is!! Just like a caramel apple....but without the resentment.
Trust me. These need to happen in your life.
Links for APPLE CUTTER and the CRAFT STICKS.
Apple Pinata Cookies from Hungry Happenings.
Caramel Apple Cookies from The Decorated Cookie.
And if you decide your cookie needs more icing.... get the ratio for green apple colored icing here.