These extra soft gluten free apple cookies are a fun twist on one of my favorite snacks – apples and peanut butter! With soft peanut butter frosting sandwiched in between, they’re a unique treat that everyone will love!
How to make soft gluten free apple cookies
These little cookies are delicious on their own but work SO well as a sandwich cookie. They’re super soft (so the peanut butter filling doesn’t spill out when you take a bite) and they’re full of fresh apples.
They’re also really quick to make because they require zero time in the fridge. Which is unheard of on this blog. I love my chilled cookie dough!
The first step is to combine all of the dry ingredients. This includes: gluten free all purpose flour with xanthan gum, certified gluten free quick oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
If you’re using a gluten free flour without xanthan gum, just add 1 tsp to the 3/4 cup of flour and you’re good to go.
I love using oats in this recipe because they add so much texture alongside the apple chunks. They actually help to balance out the apples by adding some volume and chew to the cookies.
Once those are mixed, cream together the butter and sugar in a separate bowl. You can choose to use regular butter or dairy free butter – both work the same! Just make sure your butter and sugar are whipped to create a light and fluffy texture.
When properly mixed, add in the egg and vanilla. Then mix in all of the dry ingredients until combined.
Fold in the apples until well distributed and you’re ready to scoop!
How to bake gluten free apple cookies
Usually I like my cookies a bit under baked and a little doughy in the center. But not with these! These cookies puff up in the oven to create a cake-like consistency, perfect for making little cookie sandwiches.
First, scoop your cookie dough onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Use a medium cookie scoop that’s about 1 1/2″ in diameter. This gives you the perfect size once baked.
Don’t press down the cookie dough or manipulate it in any way. Just scoop and bake. They’ll spread and flatten out in the oven.
It’s very important for these cookies to be baked all the way through. Since they’re gluten free, they’re a bit more delicate than your typical cookie. When they’re fully baked, they hold together much better.
They’re ready when the center is no longer shiny and the edges are golden brown. If you’re unsure, it’s better to bake them for an additional minute rather than take them out too early.
Help! My cookies are sticking to the parchment paper
If you’re struggling to get them off the parchment paper (because gluten free cookies tend to stick more), leave them on the baking sheet for a couple minutes and then scoop them up with a spatula. This allows them to settle and tighten up so they’re easier to handle. Carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
Carefully transfer to a cooling rack and let them rest for about 20 minutes.
The best apples for apple cookies
Seeing the apple display at my local Fry’s makes me SO happy that fall is here! I instantly get inspired to bake all things apple and to experiment with all the different varieties – Gala, SweeTango, Honeycrisp, Braeburn…it’s tough to choose just one.
They’re also all perfect. I usually have to go digging for the right apples – no bruises, no nicks, no cuts – but I could go shopping blindfolded at Fry’s and still pick a bag full of perfect apples. Which is great because I had to go through quite a few to get these cookies just right!
Speaking of, I decided to go with classic Granny Smith apples for these apple cookies. It’s crisp, it’s firm, and its tartness goes so well with the sweet cookies and frosting.
That’s what makes it the perfect apple for desserts. It’s the default choice for recipes like homemade apple pie, gooey apple crisp, soft apple crumb cake, or fried apple donuts. Ok now I’m getting more apple recipe ideas!
But the most important takeaway is HOW to use the apples in this recipe. The apple chunks can’t be too large to where the cookie won’t hold together or too small to where you can’t even see them.
We’re looking for 1/4 inch apple pieces that fit perfectly into a medium cookie scoop. It’s just the right size for these small apple cookies.
Easy peanut butter frosting filling
I just don’t understand why there aren’t more peanut butter and apple desserts. It’s such a good combo! Or am I the only one who really loves snacking on peanut butter and apple slices?
Either way, the peanut butter frosting MAKES these cookies. It’s what holds these soft gluten free apple cookies together and adds an extra layer of richness and flavor.
It’s also very easy to make. Simply cream together the peanut butter and butter, add some powdered sugar, salt, and vanilla, and finish it off with some milk to loosen it up.
Add the milk one teaspoon at a time until you reach the right consistency. But if the frosting is too thin, add some powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time until thickened.
Scoop the frosting into a ziplock bag and snip off one of the corners. Swirl the frosting onto half of the cookies and sandwich the other halves on top.
Be careful when pressing the two cookies together because they are very soft and delicate. That’s why it’s important to have the right consistency in the frosting so it isn’t too tough on the cookies.
But once they’re sandwiched, you’re ready to dig in! They’re best enjoyed fresh. Otherwise, store in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
For more fall cookie recipes, check out my:
- Maple Snickerdoodles
- Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie
- Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies
Make sure to tag me @butternutbakery on Instagram and comment below if you make these Gluten Free Peanut Butter Apple Sandwich Cookies. To pin this recipe and save it for later, you can use the button on the recipe card, the buttons above or below this post, or on any of the photos above. Happy baking!