Since I was a little girl, one of my favorite treats at the Washington State Fair are Caramel Apples, which inspired me to make Salted Caramel Apple Oatmeal Cookies.
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons butter, softened
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup caster sugar (aka superfine sugar)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon flax meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats (like Snoqualmie Falls Lodge Oatmeal)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup dried apples, chopped
1/2 cup pecan, chopped and toasted
SALTED CARAMEL SAUCE:
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and water over medium-low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium high; bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the syrup from the heat and carefully pour heavy cream into boiling syrup (this mixture will bubble), then whisk to combine (mixture will seize if you put the whisk in before the cream, if this happens add 1 Tbsp light corn syrup and stir like crazy until smooth). Stir in the butter and kosher salt. Transfer the caramel to a squeeze bottle, cool. You will use about half of this sauce for the cookies. The sauce will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. NOTE: The Salted Caramel Sauce can be made a day or so ahead.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cream together butter, yogurt, brown sugar, and caster sugar; then add eggs and vanilla. In a small bowl combine flours, flax meal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. On low speed slowly add flour mixture until well blended. Mix in oatmeal. In a small bowl combine cinnamon, apples, and pecans; add to oatmeal mixture, blend well.
Drop, using a 2-Tbsp cookie scoop, 2-inches apart on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8-11 minutes at 350 degrees F. After cookies have cooled 5 minutes, drizzle with caramel sauce.