Apples deliver the cozy fall twist on oatmeal cookies that's been missing all your life

The combination of seasonal ingredients, warm spices and cranberries taste like a warm hug a crisp autumn day

By Joseph Neese

Deputy Editor in Chief

Published October 24, 2020 5:30PM (EDT)

Filled with applesauce, cranberries, dark chocolate and walnuts, these cozy oatmeal cookies are a must bake! (Buttercream Blondie/Meghan McGarry)
Filled with applesauce, cranberries, dark chocolate and walnuts, these cozy oatmeal cookies are a must bake! (Buttercream Blondie/Meghan McGarry)

When times are tough, sometimes you just need a cookie. And when it's fall, there's no cookie that Salon's resident pastry chef Meghan McGarry of Buttercream Blondie craves more than an oatmeal cookie.

This classic dessert is the inspiration for her latest dessert makeover, which uses the flavors of fall to reimagine a favorite childhood treat. Fall is all about cozy, and that's the simplest way to describe McGarry's Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. Loaded with apple, cranberries and a splash of cinnamon whiskey, the combination of seasonal ingredients and spices tastes like a warm hug on a crisp autumn day. 

It's the fourth apple recipe featured in McGarry's series of go-to seasonal bakes for Salon Food. It follows an apple loaf cake, which was a warm welcome to fall; and apple crisp bars, which magnified the star fruit of the season; and apple crumb cake, which served up nostalgia in a no-fuss bake. Now, it's time to move on to the uncharted world of cookies.

One thing that these cookies apart from traditional oatmeal cookies is the texture. By adding unsweetened apple sauce to the batter, McGarry brings Salon Food reader's favorite fall fruit into the mix. Apple sauce ensures your cookies will come out of the oven soft and chewy in the middle with crisp edges. Whether you're a fan of chewy or crunchy cookies, you won't be divided about these cookies, which offer the best of both worlds. 

Recipe: This nostalgic apple crumb cake is the ultimate no-fuss dessert to bake at home

While apple is the star ingredient in this cookie, the fall upgrade is rounded out by a cast of supporting players. Cinnamon, cinnamon whiskey and nutmeg deliver the spicy quality of a traditional oatmeal cookie. Meanwhile, opting for cranberries instead of raisins provides a seasonal swap with the holidays around the corner. The sweetness of the cranberries contrasts perfectly with the walnuts, which add a crunch to every bite. Dark chocolate brings the lush that rounds out this flavor parade.

What's even better about these cookies is that you can choose your own adventure, because substitutions are easy. If you're making these for the kids, you can skip the whiskey. If you have semi-sweet chocolate chips on hand in your pantry, you don't have to make another trip to the store. If you're looking for something on the sweeter side, you can toss in white chocolate instead. If you're a traditionalist, you can stick with raisins instead of cranberries. If you've got pecans on hand (because it's pie season), you can throw some of those in instead of the walnuts. Cookies should be low-stress and make you happy, so don't be afraid to make them personal. 

RELATED: These cozy apple crisp bars redefine a classic fall dessert

McGarry's number one tip with this recipe is to make sure your cookie dough is chilled before you throw it into the oven. Cold cookie dough will ensure that the cookies bake evenly. As always, the pastry chef created a step-by-step guide for how to scoop the dough. Be sure to check out her tips here before you pre-heat your oven. Then pair these beauties with a mug of hot apple cider.


Recipe: Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies


  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 3/4 cups quick oats
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or extract 
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon whiskey (optional)
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) semisweet or dark chocolate chips/chunks
  • 6 ounces (1 cup) dried cranberries
  • 4 ounces (1 cup) chopped walnuts
  • Sea salt for sprinkling, if desired


  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream butter and sugars for about 5 minutes.

Click here to access the remainder of Meghan McGarry's Apple Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies. And don't forget to follow @ButtercreamBlondie on Instagram for more ways to bake through it.

By Joseph Neese

Joseph Neese is Salon's Deputy Editor in Chief. You can follow him on Twitter: @josephneese.

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Apples Baking Buttercream Blondie Cookies Crisps Fall Food Meghan Mcgarry Oatmeal Cookies Recipe