14 tbsp. butter (two sticks), separated
1/2 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar, lightly packed
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. nutmeg, fresh grated if possible
2 tsp. vanilla (or 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. apple cider, gives a lovely flavor to the dough if you have it around!)
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp. butter
3 small apples, peeled and diced into 1/4" pieces (about 1 1/2 c.)
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prepare apples first. In a 10" skillet, melt 2 tbsp. butter over medium heat. Allow to cook until lightly browned and golden in color; will begin to smell nutty. Add apples and cook until browned in butter, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt and cook for 2-3 minutes longer. Spoon into small bowl and set aside.
Wipe out skillet with paper towel. Return to stove over medium heat. Add 10 tbsp. of butter to pan, cook until lightly browned just as you did for the apple preparation. Remove from heat and pour into heatproof bowl. Add remaining 4 tbsp. of butter to browned butter and whisk to incorporate and fully melt all butter.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg together. Set aside.
To melted butter, add both sugars and vanilla (or vanilla and cider, if you're using). Whisk together until fully incorporated.
Add egg and egg yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth and lightened in color, about 30 seconds. Let stand for 3 minutes. Whisk for another 30 seconds. Repeat twice more.
Add flour mixture on top of butter mixture, then add apples on top of flour (this will allow them to be lightly coated in the flour so they disperse throughout the cookies more easily and with less clumping). Stir together until just incorporated and you see no more pockets of the flour mixture.
Allow cookie batter to chill in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Once dough is chilled, use a cookie scoop (or about 1 tbsp. of dough) to drop dough onto baking sheet, spaced about 2 inches apart.
Bake cookies for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned on edges. Return dough to refrigerator while each batch bakes to keep dough chilled.
Let cookies set on pan for about 2 minutes, then using a spatula, transfer to a wire cooling rack.