Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Double Maple Pecan Cookies

I feel like keeping the maple recipes coming since my confession last week. Now that it is all out in the open, I can embrace this ingredient shamelessly!

However if I have learned anything about my pineapple incident... I would calm down and put the maple syrup away.

This week I ate way too much pineapple. It doesn't sound like a huge deal, but I mean really way too much. I'm pretty sure it is not normal or recommended to eat a pineapple a day. I don't think there's a clever saying for that like apples... A whole pineapple to yourself for seven consecutive days is certainly too much and does not keep the doctor away. Let me just say that the acid does funny things to your lips. Just like with chocolate, cherries and strawberries, I learned yet again that there really is truth to "too much of a good thing". It pains me to admit it.

But there's this thing about me - a bad habit at its core. When I can get ahold of something so good, and it is fresh and it is cheap, then I need to have as much as I can in the moment until I just can't stand it! This moment lasted 7 days. In this tropical place that I am right now the pineapple is mind blowing. It has tastes of coconut and mango and it is juicy as ever! It is super sweet but still with that acidic tang. I can't help myself. Except now I can because I physically can't eat anymore.

One day I will grow up. Promise.

I also find these little Double Maple Pecan Cookies very addictive for their tangy sweetness, small size and delicate crunch. I say "crunch" with reluctance as they are not like biscotti in any way but have more texture than a buttery shortbread. Thankfully I have learned the strength not to eat these until my mouth goes sore. That is a sign of growing up.

It's the maple syrup that keeps these on the softer side. It keeps them delicately sweet and the winey tangy notes give them an almost savoury character. Don't even think of skipping out on the maple glaze - I couldn't forgive that. It is really something special when you bite into this cookie, you sink your teeth into the sweet maple glaze with hints of vanilla and the sugar quickly dissolves on your tongue. Brilliant!

I'm not so strict about the nuts - those are optional, although I love the crunch they provide and their buttery flavour. It really enhances the mapleyness.

It is particularly important in this recipe to not over-mix the dough since the maple syrup introduces additional. Being a liquid sugar, just like honey or golden syrup, maple syrup contains moisture and this moisture provides more opportunity for gluten development. Excessive mixing would coax this cookie dough into bread.

The dough is quite soft and needs time in the fridge to rest. A chilled and rested dough will spread less in the oven so that you get puffier cookies. They have a lovely warm mapley toffee (but better than toffee) caramelized flavour. They are slightly crisp at the edges when fresh and then soften over time.

I think they beg for a cup of tea. Have you ever tried Thai tea? Thai tea is refreshing and delicious, and it is almost always served over ice with sweetened condensed milk. It is brewed from concentrated Ceylon tea wih a bright orange colour and fruity flavour. If you can find it you will love it! Its orange flavours match perfectly with today's maple flavours.

I hope you enjoy the heck out of these, but best to do it in moderation... just like pineapple.

Double Maple Pecan Cookies
Makes about 35 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
10 tbsp (140g) butter, softened at room temperature
¾ cup (165g) packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Maple Glaze:
¾ cup powdered sugar
3-4 tsp maple syrup
¼ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp milk
Chopped toasted pecans

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to blend; set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream softened butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Beat in real maple syrup until combined. Turn the mixer down to a lower speed, and begin adding the dry ingredients until incorporated

Divide the cookie dough in half. Place each portion on a large piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper and shape into a log with about 2 inches diameter. Or, for balls, leave dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, until dough is firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; roll dough into 35 balls and place onto baking tray, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake for roughly 12-13 minutes, until lightly golden and puffed, for soft cookies; bake for 14-16 minutes until evenly browned for crunchy cookies. Alternatively, slice chilled dough logs into ½-inch thick rounds and place on baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the glaze, stir together icing sugar, 3 teaspoons of maple syrup, vanilla extract and milk in a small bowl until smooth and glossy. Stir in another teaspoon of maple syrup if the consistency allows. Add a bit more icing sugar if needed to achieve a consistency thick enough to hold a line but thin enough to drizzle.  Drizzle the glaze over completely cooled cookies, sprinke chpped pecans over top and allow it to set for about 20-30 minutes. Store in an airtight container.
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