for the filling:
2 large apples (700 grams / 1.5 pounds total), peeled
20 grams (0.7 ounces) orange peel, minced (from 1 small orange)
50 grams (1.8 ounces) sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 cup apple juice
for the cookie dough:
180 grams (6 ounces) unsalted butter, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil (I used grapeseed oil)
1/4 cup (60 milliliters) water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
300 grams (10 ounces) cake flour
To make the filling -
1. Mince apples into 3 to 4 millimeters (0.1 inch) cubes. The 2 apples should generate about 4 cups of minced apple (about 500 grams / 1 pound).
2. Place apple and orange peel in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir and cook until the juice starts to come out, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and cook for another 5 minutes. Add cinnamon powder, cloves and salt and cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens. Begin adding apple juice, 4 tablespoons at a time. Continue cooking over medium heat, until the color of the apple turns amber and the sauce can hold its shape. The amount of apple juice you need will depend on the type of apple. I used 150 milliliters apple juice and 15 minutes for cooking two very crisp and sweet fuji apples.
3. Transfer the apple sauce to a small bowl to let it cool. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge.
To make cookies -
1. When the apple sauce has cooled off completely, add flour into a large glass bowl and set aside.
2. Add butter, vegetable oil, water, sugar and salt to a medium-size sauce pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
3. The butter will start to bubble and rise. The bubbles should be tiny and have a pale yellow color. When the bubbles subside, the color darkens, and the tiny bubbles nearly disappear, turn off heat immediately and add the hot butter mixture to the flour. Stir immediately with a silicone spatula until dough forms.
4. Wait until the dough cools off a bit and can be handled by hand, about 3 minutes. Knead the dough by hand a few times. Break off a piece of dough by hand. The dough should be very soft and easy to to spread without feeling crumbly. If the dough is too dry, blend in 1 to 2 teaspoons water and try again. Work on the dough while it’s warm.
To assemble cookies:
1. Preheat oven to 210 degrees C (410 F). Line a baking tray with parchment.
2. Divide the dough into 4 approximately even sized pieces, then further divide each piece to 5 small doughs. Work on the small doughs one by one.
3. Use both hands to shape the dough into a round ball. Flatten the ball to a round disc, about palm-sized. Place about 1 teaspoon of applesauce in the middle of the dough.
4. Use right hand to wrap the dough toward the center, while using left hand to push the filling inside, until it shapes a ball. Shape the dough with both hands until round and place on parchment, at least a finger’s width apart. Work on the cookies one by one in this way.
5. Use a fork to prick the top of each cookie.
6. Bake at 210 degrees C (410 F) until the top of the cookies turns golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a wooden board to cool off completely. Store in airtight containers and let them set a few hours until completely cooled down before serving.