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Apple Butter Cookies are just like snickerdoodles. Soft and chewy, with a hint of apple, crinkle tops, and cinnamon-sugar coating. Use apple butter (homemade or store-bought) in this great recipe!

Crinkle topped apple butter cookies on plate with apple butter, cinnamon sugar, and fresh apples nearby.

After sharing my apple butter recipe, I wanted to be sure to include some other recipes to use it with. Of course you can spread it on toast and stuff like that, but you can also bake with it!

Using apple butter in cakes works really well. You simply substitute some (up to half) of the butter or oil with apple butter and it creates a light and fluffy cake. I used it for this delicious apple sheet cake with brown sugar glaze.

*If you don’t make apple butter, you can find it at the grocery store in the aisle with the jam/jelly/spreads. Look for Musselman’s or Kroger brands.

Top view of baked apple butter cookies on a cookie sheet.

USING APPLE BUTTER IN COOKIES

Unlike cakes, using apple butter in cookies can be tricky if you don’t want a puffy, cake-like cookie.

I wanted to use my best snickerdoodle recipe and simply alter it using half butter, and half apple butter. The cookies came out okay, if you like puffy and cakey cookies, but I wanted thin and chewy cookies with cracks on top.

I began to wonder how others liked their snickerdoodle cookies, so I asked.

After polling my instagram followers on how they prefer snickerdoodles, it was a pretty close call.

58% said they like snickerdoodles thin & chewy, whereas 42% said they like snickerdoodles puffy & cakey.

I’ve only ever had snickerdoodles that are thin and chewy with cracks on top, so that’s how I wanted my recipe to be, and I wasn’t going to stop until I got it right!

Cookies stacked on top of each other next to a spoonful of apple butter and bowl of cinnamon sugar.

THE MAGIC FORMULA

After testing this recipe 7 TIMES, I finally got the crinkle tops, chewy texture, and spread I was going for.

I learned that when using apple butter for cookies you need:

  1. MORE SUGAR — Sugar and fat help cookies spread, and since half of the butter is replaced with apple butter (containing no fat) it needed more sugar to increase the spread.
  2. LESS EGGS — Eggs work as a leavening agent, but also help create structure, so you can’t leave them out completely. My original snickerdoodle recipe used 2 eggs. I tried it with both eggs (too cakey), just an egg yolk (too dense), and one egg. One egg worked best.
  3. LESS CREAM OF TARTAR AND BAKING SODA — My snickerdoodles had quite a bit of cream of tartar and baking soda. Both work as leaveners — just like the eggs. I couldn’t leave out the cream of tartar completely, because it gives the snickerdoodles the tang that they’re known for. But I did decrease the amount drastically and kept a little baking soda as well to help create a soft interior.
  4. LESS FLOUR — Compared to my original snickerdoodles, I used a little less flour in these cookies. This kept the dough slightly wet/tacky, to help with the spread. When measuring flour, make sure to stir up it up, spoon it into the cup, and then level it. This incorporates air and prevents using too much flour.
  5. REFRIGERATION — I tested these cookies by baking them immediately, and by chilling them for at least 1 hour prior to baking. Refrigeration helps them spread slower, keeping them just slightly puffy/thicker. The difference wasn’t super noticeable, so if you want to skip refrigeration, you will just get a slightly thinner cookie. If you can wait the hour, do it. You’ll have cookie perfection.
Close up side view of crinkle cookies on a plate.

TO MAKE APPLE BUTTER COOKIES

For the cookie dough, mix together the butter, sugar, and apple butter. Be careful not to cream it too much. Creaming it will leaven/lift the dough (contribute to a puffy texture). Mix until incorporated well, but not light and fluffy.

Add the egg and vanilla. Mix. Combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon separately. Then add it to the butter mixture and mix until incorporated.

Refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours, then scoop it into balls, roll it in cinnamon-sugar and place it on a baking sheet lined with silicone or parchment paper.

Cookie dough shaped into balls that have been coated in a bowl of cinnamon sugar.

Bake the apple butter cookies at 350˚F for 15 minutes. If you decide to skip the chilling, you can bake them at 350˚F for 13 minutes.

Bake until the cookies have spread, the edges and bottom have browned, but the dough peeking through the cracks looks slightly wet still.

Leave the cookies on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Top view of baked apple butter cookies on a cookie sheet.

If you’re a snickerdoodle lover, you will LOVE these apple butter crackle cookies!

They have all the spices from the apple butter combined with the cinnamon-sugar exterior to make them warm and flavorful, with a hint of apple coming through.

A great use of apple butter in these apple butter snickerdoodles.

Cookies stacked on a plate with a bite taken out of the cookie on top.

MORE CRINKLE COOKIES

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Top view of baked apple butter cookies on a cookie sheet.

Apple Butter Cookies

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes

Apple Butter Cookies are just like snickerdoodles. Soft and chewy, with a hint of apple, crinkle tops, and cinnamon-sugar coating.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup apple butter (homemade or store-bought)
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Cinnamon-Sugar Coating:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, apple butter, and sugar together until incorporated, but not light and fluffy. (Do not cream together for very long.)
  2. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix until combined.
  4. REFRIGERATE dough for 1-2 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line baking sheets with silicone or parchment paper.
  6. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a bowl for coating. Scoop dough into balls (with a #30 scoop) and roll in cinnamon-sugar until fully coated. Place the coated dough balls on a prepared baking sheet several inches apart.
  7. Bake at 350˚F for 15 minutes, until the cookies have spread, the edges and bottom have browned, but the dough peeking through the cracks looks just slightly wet still. Remove from oven and leave cookies on the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes

  • APPLE BUTTER: You can use store-bought or homemade apple butter for these cookies. You can find apple butter in the jam/jelly/spreads aisle of the grocery store. Kroger or Mussleman's apple butter are great brands to try.
  • NO CHILL COOKIES: To bake these cookies immediately, bake at 350˚F for 13 minutes. Note: Cookies may be thinner than ones baked with chilled dough. Use a spatula to press the edges of the cookies inward just after the tray comes out of the oven to create thicker cookies.

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