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Caramel + Apples = ???: Salted Caramel Apple Cookies

The moment I saw a photo of Kelly Janke's Salted Caramel Apple Cookies in my Instagram feed, I knew I had to try the recipe. The cookies looked delicious, and I was intrigued by the description of a caramel apple crossed with a snickerdoodle. There is a lot going on in the caramel component of these cookies. First, you peel, core, and grate apples (I used Galas), and squeeze out the juice through a kitchen towel. You cook some of the extracted apple juice with sugar and cream of tartar until the mixture turns amber; and stir in cold butter, kosher salt, cinnamon, cardamom, and grated nutmeg. At this point, I had what was clearly liquid caramel. Then I added in the grated apple and things got weird as I continued to cook and stir the mixture. For some reason I was expecting the apple to melt into the caramel so that I would end up with liquid caramel flavored with apples and spices. Instead, what I got was something like a cross between membrillo paste and apple p√Ęte de fruit -- a

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