So every year for Christmas my Mom would make these fruit-filled cream cheese peekaboo cookies that I LOVED! And every year she’d make those nut coated thumbprint cookies that were filled with the super sweet frosting that I hated. LOL She’d try every which way from Sunday to make me like them but I just never did. They were dry and the nuts threw me. I’m not a nut-in-my-cookie kinda girl. Same with nuts in brownies. That’s a mortal sin in my eyes. Blech!
Now I’ve since mastered the thumbprint recipe to the point they are one of my top 5 favorites and the cream cheese peekaboos are just insane. Those are a whole other level of awesomeness in the cookie ranking world! This year I decided to go with a mashup if you will of the two recipes. See I wanted to make the cream cheese ones but I was out of cream cheese. I already had the apple pie filling on hand that was slated for those cookies. Now I very well could have used that filling on top of something else – pancakes, roasted pork, toast or even a spoon (guilty!) but I really wanted to make cookies.
I decided to go with a shortbread type cookie that I could nestle that lovely pie filling inside. Call it an homage to her peekaboo cookies. The hardest part out of this whole process is chilling the dough. Why is that so hard? Dude! You like have to wait for cookies1 And when you’re jonesin’ for a cookie, waiting to make them is just cruel! As you’ll notice these cookies are eggless and leavening free. They are a cross between a thumbprint and a shortbread. The butter and sugar add the flavoring and that hint of apple pie spice just elevates this to flavor town! Now you can easily change-up this recipe and omit the apple pie spice and use another spice or go without. It all depends on what you want for your filling.
One thing about these cookies is when you bake them you only want to bake them long enough until they are just lightly golden brown around the edges. You don’t want to overcook them as they will get hard and dry out. And there is nothing worse than a dry cookies. Nothing! Well okay, being bacon-less is the worst thing ever. Dry cookies are a close second!
This dough isn’t overly sweet which is something I like as this lets the sweetness of the pie filling shine through.
What sets these apart from thumprints is the whole peekaboo aspect. Thumbprints you indent, fill and bake. With these you do the same thing except after you fill them you pinch off just a small piece of the cookie dough and place on top of the filling leaving some exposed. This will cause the peekaboo effect once it’s baked.
When we were little and she would make her peekaboo cookies, she would make them really teeny. Small enough that you could fit the entire cookie in your mouth without you looking like a piggy with puffed out cheeks. They were one bite cookies. I can still remember asking when I was wee little why they were called that and without missing a beat my dad shoved one in his mouth then immediately stuck out his tongue exposing the cookie. As he did that my mom said “Peekaboo!” and then he immediately closed his mouth and ate the cookie. I know, silly but I can remember belly laughing begging my dad to do that again and again. I think I may have made him eat like a dozen of them himself that day.
These cookies came out super soft and tender and so, so, SO good! I’ve made this cookie umpteen times now using all types of various fruit fillings and even a few savory ones. Remember, the dough isn’t overly sweet so you can get away with caramelized onions, mushrooms, thyme and feta fillings. Oh yeah, I just went there… WITH A COOKIE! LOLPrint
- 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp apple pie spice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 cups Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into very small chunks
- 2 Tbl butter, unsalted
- 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbl brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 2 to 3 tsp of cream
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter until light and creamy. ~1 minutes. Add in the sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl as needed. Turn off the mixer, add the flour, salt and apple pie spice.
- Turn the mixer on low and slowly beat until a very soft dough is formed. Remove the dough onto your counter and the dough down to compact it. Tightly cover the dough with plastic wrap to chill until firm, at least 2 hours. While the dough is chilling make the apple pie filling.
- In a non-stick medium size skillet over medium-high heat, add in the butter. Once the butter starts to melt and foam, add in the brown sugar, apples and cinnamon. Stir constantly to prevent sticking.
- Cook for 7-10 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Watch your heat as you do not want your syrup to burn. Once the apples are slightly soft, remove from the heat, add in vanilla and stir. The mixture may bubble. Set aside and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350F, rack in the middle. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Form the dough into one-inch balls (about 1 Tbl of dough) and place on the baking sheet about 1-2” apart. Using the back of a measuring spoon or your thumb, press an indentation into the dough. Fill with about 1/2 tsp of apple pie filling. Pinch off just a small piece of the cookie dough and place on top of the filling leaving some exposed. This will cause the peekaboo effect once it’s baked. Bake for approximately 13-15 minutes or until very lightly browned. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before glazing (I let mine cool completely).
- To glaze just whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and cream until desired consistency. I like mine a little thicker. Drizzle on and allow to dry completely before storing. The glaze will set in a few hours.
Looking for more apple filled desserts?