Sending Apple Cinnamon Love

I have loved ones who crave my apple pie, but since those tender parts of my heart live far far away, last year I experimented with sending pies through the mail. I ordered two sample Ezee Pie and Cake Shipr boxes from plastifoam. com. The kit included two shipping boxes with removable inserts and two chill packs. I baked an apple pie, wrapped it in plastic, and stuck it in the freezer. When I was ready to send, I removed a few of the inserts so the pie would fit snugly in the chilled box. What I didn’t factor in was the cost of shipping perishables across the country. For my first attempt I used Federal Express for $40! Forty freaking dollars. For the second pie, I visited my quirky, yet uncannily knowledgeable lady at the local post office. I told her what I was sending, she clicked a few buttons, and “voila!” this pie was sent off for under $20. Both recipients said the pies shifted in transit, but the taste remained intact. After this trial run, I decided it wasn’t worth the money or effort to attempt pie transport….until…

Over the past few weeks I have come across a few different recipes for apple pie cookies. Apple pie cookies! Brilliant! I have tried various versions of mini-pies, but if the cookie captured the flavor of pie, that would be perfect. I decided if these were a success, I could freeze them and send to my loves in a USPS flat rate box along with fun goodies I'll pick up at Target. But first -  I had to see if they were worth the undertaking.

An apple pice cookie recipe on a food blog called Oh My Goodness Chocolate Desserts looked delicious. This one included directions for crust, pie filling, and topping. I also decided to make my own caramel sauce, since I have a decent recipe and it is not that difficult if you have all the ingredients. Just watch out for the extra hot splattering bits of caramel when you mingle the butter and cream with the hot sugar mixture!

My Martha Stewart pie crust recipe which uses a food processor is usually my go-to, but I decided to follow the mix-by-hand directions on the recipe. Using a pastry cutter and ice water, I was able to get the butter pieces down to pea size without much hard labor. 

This recipe is not difficult, just time consuming. It took most of the afternoon to complete the steps. The end result was a delightful bite or two of flaky crust, cinnamon apples, and caramel, although, I would call them apple micro-pies instead of cookies. You see, cookies are cake-like in their texture; these are pie-like, ergo...they are teeny tiny pies.

I ended up bagging up most to give to friends, but next week I am devoting a day to dusting my kitchen with a coat of flour while I bake a double batch for my dears who live far away, yet close to my heart. And in these tiny pies I will be sending my love over the miles wrapped up in apple cinnamon and sugar joy.

You can find the recipe at http://omgchocolatedesserts.com/apple-pie-cookies/.

A store-bought jar will work magical wonders, but if you want to make your own caramel sauce, here is the recipe from Pies and Tarts by Kristina Petersen Migoya:

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, packed

1/4 cup water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon salt

  1. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and cream and bring to a simmer. Remove from hear and set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and water, stirring continuously over medium heat to dissolve the sugar. If the sugar is melting unevenly, gently tilt or swirl the pan to evenly distribute the sugar. cook until the mixture registers 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir the heavy cream and butter into the sugar until smooth. Be careful, as the hot mixture will bubble up. If the caramel mixture seizes (begins to recrystallize and harden), return to heat and continue to stir until smooth. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and salt. 
  4. This recipe makes enough caramel to fill a small Ball jar! You will have plenty for additional batches or pour some over vanilla ice cream for an after-dinner treat.