Smooth & creamy homemade apple butter gets sandwiched between vegan shortbread cookie for the best Vegan Apple Butter Sandwich Cookies! If you have never had linzer cookies before, this is truly the best way to make them.
When it comes to cookie season, there is no such thing as too many cookie recipes.
If you're looking for a truly unique vegan apple cookie recipe, you're going to love these dairy-free apple butter cookies with homemade apple butter!
How to make apple butter
When trying apple butter recipes in the past, I found that so many of them were unnecessarily complicated or just took too long! That's why I wanted to create a simple, yet still delicious, apple butter recipe for you that can be ready in 1 ½ hours or less!
Cook the apples
First, core and chop the apples, keeping the peel on. Once the apples are chopped, add them to a large pot (or dutch oven) with the apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Then, bring to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes until the apples are soft and have absorbed a lot of the liquid.
The apple juice really adds a lot of natural sweetness to this recipe whereas the apple cider vinegar adds the perfect tart flavor. If you can't find apple cider vinegar, you can substitute it for white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar for similar results.
Blend with sugar and spices
Once the apples have softened, they will go from being a white color to a deep yellow color as they soak up the apple juice & vinegar.
At this time, add in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of salt. Then, use an immersion blender (or pour into a standing blender) and blend together until nice and smooth.
The mixture will be pretty runny and thin at this point. However, don't worry, it will thicken up a ton after cooking a bit longer!
Cook another 30-40 minutes
Once blended, cook the apple butter in the pot for another 30-40 minutes uncovered at medium heat. Make sure to stir every 5-10 minutes so the apple butter doesn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan.
You will know the apple butter is ready when it becomes super thick and can no longer be drizzled from a spoon. Just look at the picture below to see that golden thick texture!
Steps to make vegan butter cookies
As soon as the apple butter is ready, let it cool and make the cookies!
Make & chill the cookie dough
Luckily, this Linzer cookie dough can be made in one bowl!
First, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Then, mix in the vanilla and flax egg. Finally, add in all the dry ingredients and mix them into a thick dough.
Since there is no leavening agent added, it's super easy to make this dough without sifting the dry ingredients first. For this recipe, we use powdered sugar vs. cane sugar, pastry flour vs. all-purpose flour, and almond flour to give us really tender delicate cookies.
Once the dough is ready I like to add it to the fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes. This really helps to make this dough easier to roll out and cut out the cookie shapes. Plus, it's a great time to preheat the oven!
Roll out dough
My favorite trick for rolling out cut-out cookies? Rolling the dough between two sheets of parchment paper! This way, you don't have to waste any extra flour rolling out dough. It's one of my absolute favorite baking hacks.
Cut out cookies & bake
Now that the dough has been rolled out, use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out the cookies. I used these Wilton heart cookie cutters, but any cookie cutter will work.
After that, add the cut-out cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes or until firm and beginning to brown. Unlike my other sugar cookie recipes, you do not want to under-bake Linzer cookies as they need to hold their shape after baking.
Dust top cookies with powdered sugar
Once the cookies have cooled completely, take the top cookies and dust them with powdered sugar. This is totally optional, but leads to the most gorgeous vegan apple cookies!
Add apple butter & sandwich cookies together
Next, take the bottom cookies and put about 1 Tbsp of apple butter on top of each cookie. Then, sandwich them together with the top cookies for the perfect apple butter cookies!
FAQ & Expert Tips:
Can I make apple butter cookies gluten-free?
I haven't personally tried it, but if you do a 1:1 Gluten-Free Baking flour should work in place of pastry flour. Using coconut, almond, or other alternative flours in place of the pastry flour will not work in this recipe
Is there a substitute for pastry flour or almond flour?
For pastry flour, you can use 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch for similar results.
There is no good substitute for almond flour in this recipe.
How do I store apple butter cookies?
Since these cookies are filled with apple butter, they are best stored in the fridge or freezer and should not be stored at room temperature.
In the fridge, they can be stored in a closed container between sheets of parchment paper for 3-4 days. In the freezer, they can be stored up to 1 month. Please keep in mind the cookies will get softer as they are left to sit as the cookie layer will soak up some of the moisture from the apple butter.
You can also store the apple butter separately from the cookies and it will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. Apple butter can be used on toast, oatmeal, or even added to savory foods for a sweet twist.
I can't wait for you all to try these absolutely delicious Vegan Apple Butter Cookies! They are the perfect sweet treat for Valentine's Day or any occasion. Enjoy!
More vegan cookie recipes you will love:
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Vegan Apple Butter Cookies
- 3 large red apples cored & chopped
- 1 ¾ cups apple juice
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- dash of salt no more than ⅛ tsp
- ¼ cup organic powdered sugar
First, make the apple butter
- Core and chop the apples into large pieces. Then, add the apples, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar to a large pot or dutch oven. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes or until the apples have softened.
- Add in the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and a dash of salt. Then, use an immersion blender or pour into a standing blender and blend together until smooth.
- Pour the blended apple butter back into the pot and cook uncovered over medium heat another 20-30 minutes. Make sure to stir every 5-10 minutes so the apple butter does not burn. Apple butter will be ready when it is thick and can no longer be easily drizzled from a spoon.
Make the linzer cookies
- Add the butter and powdered sugar to a mixing bowl and cream together for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Once creamed, add in the flax eggs and vanilla and mix together. Then, add in the sifted dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough is formed.
- Form the dough into a large ball and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to help the dough firm up. While the dough is in the fridge, preheat the oven to 350F.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Then, roll the dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper until about ½" thick in height. Make sure not to roll the dough out too thin or it will be hard to cut out shapes.
- Next, use your Linzer cookie cutter to cut out an even amount of top and bottom cookies (with and without the heart-shaped insert). Each time you cut out cookies, form the scraps into a ball and roll out again until no dough is left.
- Add the cookies to a lightly greased baking sheet or a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are cooked through and beginning to brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking tray for another 5 minutes. Then, move to a cookie cooling rack to cool to room temperature.
Assembling the cookies
- Once cooled, take the heart shaped top cookies and dust with an additional ¼ cup of powdered sugar.
- Top each bottom cookie with about 1 Tbsp of apple butter. If you are using smaller cookie cutters, use less apple butter. Then, sandwich the cookies together and enjoy!
- Apple butter is best made the day before baking the cookies so it can cool completely.
- To sub pastry flour you can use 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour and 2 Tbsp cornstarch for similar results. There is not a good substitute for almond flour in this recipe.
- For this recipe, I used these Wilton Heart Cookie Cutters, but also highly recommend these linzer cookie cutters for a more traditional cookie.
- Leftover cookies can be stored in a closed container in the fridge for 3-5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month. Cookies are best stored between sheets of parchment paper so they do not stick together.
- Leftover apple butter can be stored in a closed container in the fridge up to 2 weeks.
- Apple butter can be subbed for any thick jam or filling in these cookies.