Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Maple Pecan Cookies
I love the combination of maple and pecan and was thrilled to find a new variation on a favorite theme in my Carole Walter Cookies book. This was my first choice for cookies from the new book so I made them right after I made Chris' first choice -- the Molasses Spice Cookies.
These maple cookies were made with the same method as the molasses cookies -- melt the butter in a pan, let it cool back down then mix all the ingredients in one at a time in the pan that you used to melt the butter. With the molasses cookies it produced a really thin, crispy, crackily cookie that had a fantastic soft middle layer. The interesting thing about the maple cookies is that I got two completely different textures depending on the cookie sheets I used. When I used insulated cookie sheet sprayed with pam, I got super thin and crispy cookie. With uninsulated cookie sheets and my silpats, I got a denser cookie with a soft middle and crisp edges.
I tried both variations and liked the soft cookie much better -- for the most part crisp cookies just aren't my thing. Crisp cookie lovers should like them -- well, as long as they like maple and pecans of course, but I'll stick with the soft version.
The flavor is great though, no matter the texture. A double helping of maple with maple syrup and maple extract, sweetened with both brown and regular sugar and toasted pecans for crunch and texture. The Maple Pecan Scones I made last week are still my favorite for the maple/pecan combination, but these are a nice twist on the theme and will likely find their way into Christmas boxes this year.
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg
2 tbsps orange juice
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup superfine sugar (I used regular granulated)
1/2 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Moderately butter the cookie sheets (or use parchment or silpats).
In a 3-quart heavy bottomed sauce pan, melt the butter and set aside to cool to tepid.
Strain together the flour, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a wooden spoon, add the maple syrup to the melted butter, mixing well. Blend in the egg, orange juice, and the maple and vanilla extracts. Whisk in the sugars, stirring until well combined and free of lumps. Stir in the dry ingredients in three additions, then fold in the nuts with a large wooden spatula.
Using the tip of a teaspoon (or a cookie scoop), drop mounds of dough the size of large walnuts onto the cookie sheets, placing them 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 to 14 minutes until the edges just begin to brown, rotating the sheets halfway through baking. Remove from oven and let stand for 2 to 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack