Several years ago, a reader named Phillip emailed in this traditional and time-tested recipe for dairy-free applesauce cookies. He said, “My Mom, Muriel, got this from Laura Goddard, a friend of hers.” I decided to give this recipe a test myself and take some pictures.
These applesauce cookies are very soft and a bit cake-y, almost like muffin tops. And they have just the right sweetness. I enjoyed them with hot tea or almond milk. The apple theme gives them a school-time vibe, and they are perfect for tucking into lunchboxes. But I think these tender bites are also nice for gifting over the holidays or simply baking on a special day.
You can enjoy these dairy-free applesauce cookies plain, or spike them with dried fruit and/or nuts for some extra interest. I chose to stick with the apple theme by adding Bob’s Red Mill diced dried apple pieces. I re-hydrated the bits for a few minutes, and then stirred them into the dough for lovely apple spice cookies.
Special Diet Notes: Applesauce Cookies
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.
For vegan, I would recommend just omitting the egg. The batter is rather loose as is.
For gluten-free, you might have luck swapping in your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the flour. But I would keep the egg and add in a little extra starch if the dough is too moist.
- 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice or nutmeg
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread or non-hydrogenated margarine (I used Earth Balance)
- 1 cup sugar (see Sugar Options below)
- 1 cup applesauce
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup diced dried apples, raisins, or dried blueberries (see Fruit Note below) (optional)
- 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat your oven to 375ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice or nutmeg, and cloves in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
- Put the buttery spread or margarine and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until creamed, about 3 minutes.
- Add the applesauce and egg to the butter-sugar mixture, and beat with the hand mixer until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until combined.
- Fold in the dried fruit and/or walnuts, if using. The dough will be somewhat loose and moist. If it is too wet to work with, you can refrigerate it for 1 hour before baking.
- Drop the dough by the tablespoonful onto your prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on how golden you like your cookies.
- Immediately remove the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely while you bake the next batch!
Fruit Note: If your dried fruit is very dry, re-hydrate it in some hot water for 5 minutes. Drain the fruit and gently press out any excess moisture, before adding it to your batter.