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Fruity inspirations: apple-orange spice drops

Associated Press

These drop cookies may be fast and easy to make, but they deliver big, bold flavor just right for the holidays.

We take a basic brown sugar and butter-based drop cookie dough, then add tons of deliciousness with a blend of cloves, allspice, nutmeg and orange zest. We also tinker with the texture, adding the delightful chew of tender dried apples. Top it all off with an orange glaze and you have a cookie that begs for an eggnog accompaniment.

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APPLE-ORANGE SPICE DROPS

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Makes 4 dozen cookies

[1/2] cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

[3/4] cup packed brown sugar

[1/2] teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

[1/2] teaspoon baking powder

[1/2] teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground allspice

[1/2] teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 egg

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups chopped dried apple

[3/4] cup toasted slivered almonds (optional)

For the glaze:

1 tablespoon orange juice

[2/3] cup powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together the butter, brown sugar, almond extract, vanilla extract, baking powder, salt, cloves, allspice and nutmeg until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Stir in the orange zest and orange juice, then the flour. Stir in the apples and the almonds, if using.

Working in batches, scoop tablespoon-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, or until just pale golden brown on the bottoms. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet before moving to a rack to cool completely. Allow the baking sheet to cool slightly between batches.

To make the glaze, whisk together the orange juice and powdered sugar. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over each cookie. Once the glaze sets, store the cookies in an airtight container at room temperature.

Nutrition information per cookie: 70 calories; 20 calories from fat (29 percent of total calories); 2 g fat (1.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 12 g carbohydrate; 0 g fiber; 7 g sugar; 1 g protein; 40 mg sodium.

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