Make these apple shaped cookies with gummy worms peaking out!
What a fun way to get kids involved in your cookie making this fall. These apple (absolutely no apples were harmed during the making of these cookies.) cookies are fun and cute! Plus, they are tasty.
Make your way to a local apple orchard for the juicy treats, run through the corn mazes and come home to make apple cutout cookies with cute little gummy worms peaking out. There are no apples in these cookies, just the fun apple shapes. Let them help you make the cookies, cut the worm holes and "glue" the gummy worms with frosting. Use my recipe or make your own cookie dough. But, I think you'll find out my recipe works well for this cookie. And, they're super CUTE!
Best cut out cookies ever!
These are the best tasting and crispiest cut out cookies I have EVER tasted. I make them quite often and people rave every single time I make them. I've been making them for over 20 years, now. When I was "reading" one of my new cookbooks back then (I do a lot of reading of cookbooks to find out just how cooks and chefs create their concoctions), I came upon a nice looking cutout cookie recipe that had a very different way of rolling out the cookies - without extra flour. You see, I never liked making cutout cookies because of all the extra flour and extra mess created. With each rollout they got more and more floury tasting. Plus the mess afterwards was a b----- to clean up. I wanted a "clean" tasting cutout cookie, with all that dusty mess. With this recipe, when it comes to rolling out the dough, you use absolutely no extra flour. You roll it out between parchment paper. It's a snap with no mess. I made a number of adjustments to the recipe and ended up with this tasty and easy recipe.
However, you could use your own favorite cutout cookie recipe for this idea. Whatever your recipe, cut out some apple shaped cookies and punch a hole in the upper side for the worm hole. I didn't have a specific small circle out, so I tried a cover off one of my smaller bottles of flavor extract. That was too large, so I tried the end of one of my wooden utensils. When I found the right size, I continued to press a hole in each cutout cookie. Once you get the cookies frosted and decorated, put some extra frosting in the hole and place your little gummy worm like it's coming out of the hole. Cute!
This cookie recipe, especially the Christmas decorated cookies, has raised money for many non-profit organizations in the Chippewa Valley over the years. I've stirred, baked and decorated well over over 500 dozen cookies to be auctioned off at Christmas time for special fundraisers. It's been a fun run for charity, and I want to say "Thank you!" to all of those wonderful people willing to donate for some great causes in our community. These cookies have even made their way to special potlucks at work, for birthdays and as treats for local chambers and home builder associations. It's a fun way to make people smile.
This recipe makes about 5 dozen cookies depending on the sizes of the cookies. It's just fine to make half of the recipe if you don't need so many cookies. It's easy to freeze them after baking them, and thaw them later for eating and decorating,. They keep a month or so in the freezer.
Prepare cookie sheets by lining them with parchment paper. I use recyclable parchment paper that can be used up to 3 times.
Preheat your oven to 375F degrees.
MY BEST EVER cutout cookie recipe:
2 C Sugar
2 C Butter, softened
4 Eggs, just the yolks
2 t Vanilla extract
2 Almond extract
5 C Flour
2 t Baking powder
1/8 t Salt
- Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg yolks one at time, beating them in thoroughly after each addition. (Use the leftover egg whites for breakfast or for a meringue topping.)
- Stir in the flavor extracts.
- After sifting the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl, slowly add to the above mixture, beating slowly. I usually add the flour mixture half at a time to make sure it gets well incorporated.
- Divide the dough in halves and roll out each between two pieces of parchment paper. I usually roll out the cookies to 1/8" thickness or a little thicker. After rolling it out, refrigerate on a cookie for about 30 minutes.
- Take the rolled out dough and place on the countertop. Peel the top sheet away and place it back on the dough. Turn over the dough and peel off the other piece of parchment paper. Now you're ready to cut with the dough sticking to the bottom parchment paper. THERE'S NO NEED TO FLOUR YOUR COUNTERTOP - I LOVE IT! No mess to clean up and no floury taste to your cookies.
- Place cut out cookies about 1-2" apart on the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
- Make the worm holes by using a small circle form like a tiny bottle topper or just punch an indentation in the unbaked cookie with the smaller end of a wooden utensil like a wooden spoon.
- Refrigerate the sheets of cut out cookies for 10 minutes. This will help keep them crisp and safe from spreading too much since the recipe contains butter instead of margarine or shortening.
- To reroll the leftover pieces, I roll them into a ball and if the dough is still chilly, microwave it for 5 seconds and reroll. Then refrigerate for 10 minutes and cut out more cookies.
- Bake at 375F degrees for 8-11 minutes. After 7 minutes I rotate or turn the pan(s) of cookies and bake them a little more, keeping an eye on them so they don't get too done. I like them just barely golden brown around the edges. That makes for a nice crispy cookie.
Let the gummy worms peak out!
I "frost" my apple cookies with my buttercream frosting (see recipe) or use special red candy melts (follow the directions on the bag for melting the candies) and spread on the cookies. I use a little green frosting (sometimes I just swirl the color so the frosting has a marbles effect for more interest) or melted candy melt to pipe a leaf and stem on the top of the apple. Let the candy melt frosting dry or put in fridge for about 10 minutes for it to set. Then, apply a small amount of frosting to the indentation. Place one end of the little worm on the hole and arrange so it looks like the worm is peaking out of the hole. If the gummy worms are too large, I cut them in half and have two little worms peaking out of the hole in the apple.
My take on parchment paper.
My favorite is brown recycled parchment paper that has a tolerance of 450F degrees. I've used many brands and types of parchment paper - wide, narrow, cut sheets to fit pans, grid marked paper, white and brown recycled. I always check the box to see how hot it can tolerate it in the oven. I seek out the paper that can stand up to 450F degrees or more. One time I had a cheaper brand that only allowed 350F degrees, which I did not notice. The edges caught fire at 375F degrees. I was new to parchment paper and had not realized there was a recommended temperature for parchment paper until then. Not a fun experience.
If I see that the parchment paper is too saturated with melted butter after the first baking I will only use them again that day or the next. I find if I save them too long the butter that's melted into the parchment paper may have a funny smell, a little on the rancid side. If you reuse them at that point, they might give your cookies a nasty flavor. I may be a little more sensitive to this than others. But, I usually trust my my nose.
Enjoy making, baking and frosting these cookies. It's even more fun to do with the kiddos!