It’s the time of the year for the Festive Fall Bucket List. The time of the year when moms like me start to cringe about all of those moms that have more time, energy, and money who enthusiastically put on their mom uniforms and with their PSL (that’s code for Pumpkin Spice Latte) in one hand and their camera or phone in the other hand, pack their kids into their perfectly clean vans or SUVs and head out to do ALL the fall things. Every weekend is a corn maze, an apple orchard, or a pumpkin patch. There are hikes in the woods to collect leaves to make the perfect wreath for the front door. And then there is me. I love fall, I really do. I manage to get the kids out to a corn maze or a pumpkin patch or an orchard once before Halloween. We usually meet my brother’s family and do something apple and pumpkin-y. (We need to do something more corn or pumpkin-y this year, though, I don’t need/want more apples.) But I don’t have time to spend every weekend that way. Planned fun isn’t always fun anyway. Sometimes it’s those spontaneous moments, the random stops, and even the car trip there that are the most fun moments. As I was raking apples from under the trees the other day, I realized that I am very much in the ant portion of my life. You know the fable of the ant and the grasshopper? The ants spend all summer (and probably fall) collecting food and storing it away while the grasshopper spent all summer playing in the grass and doing silly things. When winter hit, the ants had food, the grasshopper had none, the ants invited the grasshopper in to share what they had. This is where I could start to lecture about enabling grasshoppers, but I’ll refrain. My point is that I am very aware that this is the part of my life where I need to be putting in the time and effort. And I’m good with that.
When I was growing up, we used to go to the Bayfield Apple Fest. I remember watching the apple peeling contest one year. When I peel apples now, I think of that. I try to see if I can get the peel off in one single ribbon. When I dawdle, I try to make it as long and thin as possible. I’m in a contest with no one but myself, but I compete anyway.
I peeled and chopped my way through 3 apples before I had enough to make these cookies. I had spotted this recipe a while back and wasn’t sure I’d ever get around to making it this year, but I’d had enough of making applesauce for a while and was ready for something different. It was time to have some cookies in the house again because it had been a while. After they were completed, I nearly cursed myself for waiting so long. I tucked 2 dozen into the freezer for later consumption.These cookies are autumnal and amazing. They are soft and spicy and sweet. I thought that the large amount of clove may be overwhelming and slightly numbing, but it wasn’t. The cinnamon was warm and perfect. I used some orange salt that I made last year instead of regular salt. This is the sort of cookie you want with you on fall adventures. If you want a healthier cookie, this is one that could stand up to the addition of whole wheat flour without detracting from the overall texture of the cookie. Substitute another nut if you don’t like walnuts. However, mom suggested toasting the walnuts for a few minutes before adding them and I think it made a big difference. If you are like my kids and don’t like raisins, I think you could leave them out without affecting the quality of the cookie. These cookies would be excellent dipped in a brown butter frosting.
Because there are no real instructions on how to make these, as with most cookies, sift the dry ingredients together. Beat the fat and the sugar, add the eggs. Alternate additions of the dry ingredients and the milk. Fold in the apples, raisins, and walnuts at the end. I found that in my oven 11-14 minutes at 400 wasn’t quite right. I had better success with 14 minutes at 375.