Halloween Jack~Apple Face Cookie Pies Win Raves from Kids, Young and Old!

j2 ack o' lantern halloween fruit & almond filled mini pies

Halloween’s tomorrow! And though we can’t give home baked goodies to the cute trick-and-treaters who come to our door, the following recipe for ‘Jack~Apple Faces’ (fruit & nut filled mini cookie pies) is one of my favorite baking projects for this time of year.

It’s an old recipe, cut from a newspaper or magazine 45 years ago, when I was 16. Time was plentiful then. I spent hours reading recipes, typing them up on 3×5 cards with my new Olympic typewriter that had a cool italic font… I never did figure out an ideal way to organize and cross reference all those recipes. Would this one go under DESSERTS or COOKIES or PIES or HOLIDAY?

Jack-Apple Faces are fun to bake with grade school or tween kids, which is exactly what I did last year when we were visiting our friends in Vancouver BC. My friend Kate and her daughter Lili Grace were game for some creative kitchen fun. They put together a favorite pie crust recipe, while I made the fruit & almond filling.

middle aged mother and tween daughter cooking together
Kate and her daughter Lili made the pie dough from scratch.

After gathering the ingredients from Kate’s well stocked kitchen (cooking is one of her passions), I cored, peeled and chopped the apples, whirred the almonds in the food processor, and mixed everything together for the filling. The whole family participated, except Ken who hadn’t gotten home from work.

white and brown spotted English lop eared rabbit eating apple peels
Apple peels are a treat for Thatcher, a sweet English Lop eared rabbit

Even Thatcher, their big lop eared bunny, ate the apple peelings and inspected the dishwasher while Ian hovered round looking for food and playing with the rabbit a bit.

brown spotted white English lop eared rabbit sniffing around an open dishwasher
Thatcher took on the role of sanitation inspector, checking to see if the dishwasher was functioning properly.
teen boy inviting a relaxed lop ear rabbit to play
Ian hung out with Thatcher while we did our baking project.

JACK-APPLE FACES (Mini Fruit & Nut Filled Cookie Pies)
Makes 2 dozen (or more)

INGREDIENTS (Organic, preferably):
* 2 crisp flavorful cooking apples (peeled, cored, and quartered)
* 1 cup dried apricots
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
* 1/8 teaspoon Sea Salt
* 1/2 cup finely ground or chopped nuts (We used almonds. Walnuts are yummy, too.)
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
and your favorite pie crust recipe or Trader Joe’s frozen pie crusts (enough for two, double crust pies)

cored and quartered apples, sugar, salt and flour for baking cookies
Simple, wholesome ingredients make these tasty creative cookies.

~ GRIND apples and apricots together in a food processor using the fine setting.
~ COMBINE sugar, flour, salt, and nutmeats.
~ MIX with fruit and ADD almond extract.

apricot on pile of chopped almonds and apple puree
Apricots, Almonds (or Walnuts) and Apples blend for a tasty filling. Use the most flavorful, organic ingredients available.
raw sugar, salt, and flour ready to mix into apple and almond filling
Mix the raw sugar, sea salt, and flour into the apple and almond filling.

If you’ve made the pie crust from scratch…
~ ROLL it out to 1/8 inch thickness on lightly floured wax paper laid over a cutting board.
~ CUT into 3 inch wide rounds with a large cookie or biscuit cutter. Fluted edges add charm.

senior woman and young tween girl baking cookies
Lili and I work on freeform design ideas for our mini cookie pies.

~ In half the rounds, CUT slits for eyes, nose, and mouths or any other seasonal design that strikes your fancy. Lili cut out different styled bats, the word BOO, and Kate did a dancing skeleton, a 6-pointed star, and a Yin-Yang symbol.
~ PLACE remaining rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet.
~ TOP with a heaping teaspoonful of the fruit-nut mixture.
~ MOISTEN pastry edges with water and ‘top’ with face rounds.
~ PRESS edges with finger or a fork to seal.
~ BAKE at 400 F (204C) for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.

fruit filled cookies being assembled on cookie sheet
After adding a heaping teaspoon of filling, dampen pastry edges with water, top with ‘face’ rounds and seal with a fork.
fruit filled Halloween cookies being taken out of the oven
Jack-Apple Faces are done when the pastry crust is lightly browned.
asian american tween eating a fruit filled mini pie
Lili Grace enjoying her fruity ‘bat’ design mini pie cookie.

The quality and flavor of the simple ingredients makes a HUGE difference: use tasty baking apples, fresh nuts, and an excellent almond extract. It’s a versatile recipe, which can be varied easily with the fruits you choose: dried cherries, cranberries, raisins or dates are some options.

You could also add a pinch of dried spices, like cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg or cardamon, and citrus zest, if  you want a bolder flavor.

The ‘faces’ or designs may be adapted to the holiday / season you’re celebrating ~ excellent Christmas cookies or tasty gifts for friends.

These mini pies aren’t too sweet, so grown-ups like them quite well, too! We took some to another friend we were visiting in Vancouver. And didn’t feel too guilty nibbling the rest.

senior man with a baseball cap enjoying a cookie
Bill happily taste-tested the baked ‘Jack-Apple Faces’ and went back for more!

4 thoughts on “Halloween Jack~Apple Face Cookie Pies Win Raves from Kids, Young and Old!”

  1. Hi,
    I just told my baking friends about this receipe. We are all in our houses today because of the storm and this is the perfect time to bake! Thank goodness for gas stoves and generators. Hope that you are out of the storm’s way where you are.

  2. Hi! This is a FUN kid-friendly recipe. The Jack-Apple Face Cookies are a bit like mini personal fruit pies, not cloyingly sweet…and could have a bit more tartness. Use tart baking apples if you have them. If not (since you’re all in your homes…hopefully safe and sound), use some lemon juice to add contrast. Enjoy baking (yay! gas stoves) and share your photos when you’re done.

    We’re in northern California. It’s a gorgeous sunny late October day. Stay safe!

  3. Hi there, I love your english lop rabbit, could you tell me how old he is please? also do you know if he is a pure english lop? I love him 🙂 Thank you very much.

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