Apple Pie Thumbprint Cookies – a copycat Panera Bread almond-scented shortbread cookie filled with a delicious spiced filling.
Have you been to Panera lately and had their apple almond thumbprint cookie? They aren’t the prettiest cookie I’ve ever seen, but let me tell you, they are DELICIOUS. I love apple pie and I love cookies, these are a match made in heaven.
I bought a few and brought them home to try to re-create them. You know how you fall in love with something somewhere, but it’s a limited edition or seasonal, never to be seen again? I don’t want to lose these cookies from my life.
I created this version and while it isn’t 100% exact, they might be even better. These are so good, I’m obsessed with them.
I start by making the filling. It might seem tedious, but dice the apples as small as you can. You want the filling to have some texture, but it also needs to be small enough to fit in the indents.
I like mine to be really spiced, so I am heavy-handed with the pie spice. If you are really feeling it, double the apple pie filling and use the other half for spooning over ice cream, add it to some vanilla yogurt, or stirring into your morning oatmeal.
When I first made these, I didn’t like them. I thought that they were too crisp and not chewy enough. I told my husband to take them to school (his graduate students are getting a lot of baked goods these days) and loosely covered the baking sheet with plastic wrap. The next morning I was packing them up, tried one again, and it was EXACTLY what I was going for.
Letting them rest overnight made the apple flavor develop and let the cookies soften a bit. Not soggy by any means, but it changed the texture into exactly what I wanted it to be.
These are absolutely delicious and going to be making an appearance every fall in my house. I can skip the Panera and just make a batch myself.
Tips for making the best apple pie cookies //
- When making the shortbread, be careful to not overmix the dough. You want a tender cookie, not a tough one.
- The filling recipe can be doubled and used for other things – top anything that could use some apple pie flavor.
- These cookies taste better the next day. Loosely cover the cookies with plastic wrap and let sit overnight before eating.
- I used a combination of Golden Delicious and Honeycrisp, but any baking apple will work.
- The filling can be made ahead of time stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
- If you don’t want to make an apple pie version, add your favorite jam to the well before baking.
- I use Penzey’s pie spice, but you can use any spice blend you like.
These cookies are so good, I hope that you make them and love them as much as I do.