Apple Cookies Recipe

In honor of Earth Day, enjoy a batch of tasty cookies and help save the planet one (not-so-pretty) apple at a time


Photo: Adobe/Viktor

Bananas seem to get all the love when it comes to making good use of overripe and not-so-pretty fruit when they are turned into delicious banana bread. Well, it’s time to show some affection for the less-than-shiny apples still hanging out in your fridge. In honor of Earth Day on April 22, whip up a batch of these apple cookies, which are a great way to use up the aging fruit rather than throwing it away.

While you are enjoying your homemade cookies, you can also feel good about doing something to help avoid food waste and think about more ways to do so throughout the year. Food is being wasted at an alarming rate. And we—consumers—are the largest source of it, more than grocery stores and restaurants combined, according to Save the Food, a campaign of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a not-for-profit membership organization founded in 1970. Plus, food is the largest contributor to U.S. landfills today. The organization has resources on its website to help you along the way from grocery shopping tips, meal prep, a dinner party calculator (see below), and recipes—including these cookies.


A big part of avoiding food waste is planning. Save the Food features tips and interactive tools to help you start planning smarter and saving food right now. Keep these in mind:

Meal Prep Mate: A digital tool to help you create your shopping list and plan your meals before the next grocery run. Create custom meal plans and perfectly portioned shopping lists that help you avoid food waste.

Interactive Storage Guide: Save the Food’s encyclopedia on food storage. Learn how to store it best, how long it should stay there, and even what to do if it’s a little past prime.

The Guest-Imator: An interactive dinner party calculator that helps you estimate how much food you need to keep your guests happy while avoiding food waste.

With these tools in mind, and with tasty recipes like this one and more, you can feel good about doing something to help the cause even one small step at a time.

Apple Cookies

Makes 4 dozen | Recipe courtesy of Save the Food and the James Beard Foundation

Step aside, chocolate chips. There’s a new cookie in town. Ever heard of apple cookies? Well, all your friends are about to. Because in addition to being a great way to use up aging apples, James Beard’s Apple Cookies are a sweet twist on a classic recipe that, once you try for yourself, you won’t be able to stop sharing with your friends.

½ cup (8 tablespoons) butter
1⅓ cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
2½ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ cup apple juice (pineapple juice, orange juice, or milk can be substituted)
1 cup chopped, unpeeled raw apple
1 cup chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or pecans
1 cup raisins

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter, then cream in the sugar. Beat in the egg.
  2. In a separate mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together, then add to the creamed mixture, then add the juice and mix. Stir in the apple, nuts, and raisins.
  3. Using two spoons (rather than your hands), scoop up a small amount of dough with one spoon and push it onto a buttered cookie sheet with the other spoon, leaving about one and a half inches between each cookie.
  4. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, or until light brown. Transfer to a rack and let cool. Store in airtight containers.

Hungry for More?

Check out these posts for more information on saving food and recipes to help you avoid food waste.

Save Food, Save the Planet

Take a look in your fridge and at your habits—there are easy steps you can take to reduce food waste—from planning to recipes—to help save the planet, not to mention money.

Help Save Earth: Make Ugly Vegetable Pasta

Have ugly veggies? Instead of tossing them out, make them the stars of the show in this quick and easy pasta—plus help save the planet in honor of Earth Day (and every day).

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.