Why This Recipe Works
Applesauce spice cake is a comforting snack; we wanted to transform its flavors into a portable treat—one that would be perfect for the kids' lunch boxes or as a grown-up accompaniment to coffee or tea. But applesauce baked goods frequently are so overwhelmed with spices that they're apple in name only. In addition, they are typically weighed down by moisture, making them dense, wet, and gummy. We wanted a light, fluffy applesauce cookie loaded with apple flavor. To achieve our goal we needed to find ways to eliminate water in the dough without decreasing the applesauce. Because applesauce acts as a binder, we found we didn't need a lot of egg; just one yolk gave us structure and richness without added water from the white. Browning the butter, a technique we use for other cookies, further cut down on water and imparted a nutty depth, while blooming the cinnamon in the warm browned butter intensified its flavor. Finally, a healthy amount of baking soda gave the cookies lift, lightening the crumb; it also contributed to a nicely browned exterior.