Streusel Apple Pie Cookies

1 cup shortening
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup, plus 2 teaspoons brown sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, divided
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1 large egg
2 egg yolks
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 medium apples, peeled, cored and finely diced
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
4 1/2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup jarred caramel sundae sauce (optional)

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly coat with baking spray.

To make cookie dough, in a large bowl use an electric mixer to cream together the shortening, the powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of the brown sugar, the vanilla, salt and 1/2 teaspoon each of the pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Scrape bowl with a silicone spatula.

Beat in the egg and egg yolks, scraping bowl as needed. Beat in the baking powder and flour, scraping bowl again as needed. Mix in the apples. Refrigerate bowl of dough for 30 minutes.

While dough chills, heat oven to 375 F.

Meanwhile, make streusel topping. In a food processor combine the rolled oats, the granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons brown sugar and remaining cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Pulse 2 or 3 times, or enough to just chop oats. Drizzle in the melted butter, then pulse 1 or 2 times to just mix. Set aside.

Drop 1-tablespoon balls of chilled dough on prepared cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each. Use your fingers to slightly flatten each cookie; they may be sticky.

Carefully sprinkle streusel mixture over each cookie. Bake for 13 to 15 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Be sure to let baking sheets cool between batches.

If desired, just before serving drizzle each cookie with some of the caramel sauce.

Makes 42 to 45 cookies.

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