1Soften the butter and shortening together until no solid chunks remain when mixed.
2Add applesauce and brown sugar and cream together.
3Add cinnamon and baking powder and mix well to distribute the cinnamon.
4Add eggs and vanilla and mix well.
5Slowly add in flour. You may need to add a little more until the dough is sticky but not wet looking.
6Add in the crushed caramels and the diced apple until evenly distributed.
7Refrigerate dough until firm(about 10 minutes)
8Use a cookie dough scoop or two spoons to make a ball of dough about the size of a ping-pong ball. Slightly flatten. Take a ball of soft caramel and place it in the middle and wrap the dough around it to close the caramel inside. Place the ball with the side where the opening was up on a cookie sheet sprayed with pam (this will prevent the caramel from "leaking" out)
9Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes depending on your oven. They won't look very brown on top but the edges on the bottom should be golden.
10Carefully remove from the cookie sheet using a spatula. These are tender and with the melted caramel hot they can break easily if you aren't careful. I suggest you move them to a separate pan or cooling rack soon after baking so that the caramel is still soft and easy to manipulate.
11***HOMEMADE SOFT CHEWY CARAMELS WITHOUT CORN SYRUP***
3 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk(regular not evaporated or condensed)
1 cup butter
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup molasses
1 tsp vanilla
1. Combine all ingredients in a soup-size pan(large) over medium-high heat.
2. Stir continuously until the mixture pulls away slightly form the sides of the pan and only slowly flows off the back of a spoon, or when a candy thermometer reaches 245 degrees F. (You can test it by pouring a little onto a cool plate, waiting a few seconds and testing to see if it's soft. If it's still runny and won't hold it's shape you need to keep waiting. This will take about 30 minutes. DON'T WAIT TOO LONG OR IT WILL HARDEN!!!)
3. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. It will steam and froth but just mix until smooth.
4. Pour into a 13x9 pan sprayed with pam and let cool.
***If you let it cook a little longer then you will have the hard caramels I used in this cookie recipe