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Apple Pie Cookies

1/2 cup and 2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cup butter
1 1/4 cup cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1/4 tsp pie spice

2/3 cup white or turbinado sugar or 1 cup less 2 tbsp if not using apple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 or 4 smaller green apples
3/8 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp flour
2-3 tsp apple syrup

Grate apples and mix them thoroughly with the lemon juice, cinnamon,
flour, and lemon zest. Set aside in refrigerator. Stir butter and
sugar together over low heat till the mixture melts together and
bubbles thoroughly; you want a light caramel. Remove from heat and
stir in apple syrup and the refrigerated apple mixture. Cool the
filling a bit before using.

Reduce 1 cup apple juice or cider (cider is preferable) to 2 to 3
tbsp of liquid over low heat. Watch it carefully, lest it burn.
Apple brandy can be substituted, but the amount of sugar has to be
increased to 1 cup less 2 tablespoons, maybe a bit more if the
apples are very tart.

When I make these I roll the dough thickish (1/6 to 1/4 inch) and
go scantily on the filling; this filling may well make a double
recipe of cookies relative to this crust.

Once assembled, bake these at 350 degrees until golden brown and
pastry-set. That took 10 minutes for 2-inch-long ones.

I used a 2" dough press to make them. A regular piecrust dough
could be used, but I've found that rugelach dough keeps its shape
even if the pastries leak, while piecrust dough pastries rupture.

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