How to Make Caramel Apple Cookies
I have a theory that if you place a smiley face on any inanimate object it automatically makes it adorable. Not too far fetched, or scientific for that matter. You see, I first tried this idea out when I made these baking tool pairings for Mother's Day a few years ago. Then a few weeks back, I made these pumpkin pie slice cookies that I was quite fond of. However, it wasn't until these caramel apple cookies came into existence that sold me on this face-equals-adorableness theory.
Because I really enjoyed how the pumpkin pie slice cookies turned out, I thought why not try the technique again on another fall treat? Using this free clipart as inspiration, I decided to change things up a bit and make a different gender this time around. It's crazy how simply adding lashes and a hair bow can change a character to female. That being said, here's how you can make these caramel apple cookie ladies.
Preparing the Dough
There are a number of awesome caramel/candy apple cookie cutters available online that you can purchase. However, if you don't own one (like myself), you can use a common skull cutter. Depending on the desired size, any skull cutter should work. Just trim off the bottom "jaw" right below the cheek bones.
For this tutorial, I used cookies made from the black comfort grip skull cutter on the left.
Template for Decorating Caramel Apple Cookies
While the overall design isn't too complicated, the drip detail might seem a little intimidating if you're new to decorating cookies. For that reason, I'm providing you a template of these designs. I've included a boy and a girl design for the two skull cutters shown above, however, you should be able to modify the sketch to fit any caramel apple cookie cutter you might have.
You can download the caramel apple cookie template HERE.
If you have a Kopykake or Pico projector, just print it out (or pull it up on your mobile device) and you are good to go. For those without a projector, follow the suggested steps below by tracing the design onto the cookie with an edible food marker.
Begin by adding an apple-colored "blob" at the top of the cookie. Let that set for about 15 minutes. Then fill the rest of cookie with caramel-colored royal icing. Leave the icing to set (approximately 20 minutes).
Once the base layer had time to dry, outline and then fill the drip detail below the green icing area with a #1.5 tip. Drips are supposed to be random, so feel free to freehand the drips yourself or use the template I provided.
Next, for definition, pipe an outline with a #1.5 tip around the top edge with green icing. Then pipe along the bottom and side edges with caramel icing.
For personality and character, add facial details to your liking. I went with a smile and eyelashes.
I felt the eyelashes weren't enough to make these caramel apples as girly as I hoped. I decided to add a pink hair bow to seal the deal.
For the hair bow, I broke the process down into four steps illustrated below. Be sure to wait at least 15 minutes for the icing to set between steps. The wait time will give your bow nice dimension.
Once the bow is finished, let the cookie dry completely before moving on (about 2 hours).
After the cookies had time to dry completely, it's time to add the finishing detail.
I found these wooden paddle spoons at Michaels, however I think any craft store should stock them. They are the perfect size and shape to polish off the look of these caramel apple cookies.
To attach them to the cookie, add royal icing to one end of the spoon and press it to the back of the cookie.
The steps above are summarized in this time-lapsed video I put together.
The finished cookie should look something like this one below.
These caramel apple cookies are pretty forgiving if you aren't the tidiest decorator. Real caramel apples are supposed to be on the messy side anyways. Here is the complete set that includes some of the smaller scale cookies using the orange skull cutter I showed above.
There's so many ways to decorate caramel apple cookies. Just check out these great ideas for more inspiration: