Sunday, November 22, 2009

Glazed Maple-Pecan Cookies

This could very well be the unofficial start to my holiday baking. Although all future baking is at the mercy of our move and me getting my kitchen set up before Christmas Eve, at least I have a solid cookie recipe to fall back on and a back-up plan for my contribution to that upcoming cookie swap.

We're moving in two weeks! Everything is half-packed, boxes line the hallways and fill the corners and the walls are bare. It's an exciting time, despite the stress, and we can't wait to get settled in our little house in the woods.
I haven't spilled much about our new place, but I'll informally introduce you once all the craziness of the move is over with. I will say that we feel extremely fortunate to have found a home where we can enjoy the serene country life that we love so much, yet still be relatively close to the perks of the city with it's markets and gourmet shops. We have a little piece of land that we intend to utilize to the maximum, and that may mean tapping those giant maples in the back and getting a few chickens in the spring. Everything in it's season.

OK, obviously, I'm excited. This post was supposed to be about cookies, perfect little maple-pecan cookies with just the right amount of crunch and a decadent maple glaze to dress them up. Pardon me for getting sidetracked; these stellar cookies deserve better.

We made these and delivered several dozen to the nurses that took such good care of Mateo when he was in the hospital. I didn't stick around to see if they were a hit, but with so much pure maple syrup inside and on top, what's not to love?

Believe it or not, this was my first time to make a slice and bake cookie. I certainly loved the 'make ahead' aspect. My freezer is going to feel naked without a few logs of this Maple-Pecan cookie dough stashed for hard times. I'm going to have to remedy that soon - as soon as I unpack my measuring spoons and cups, that is.

Glazed Maple-Pecan Cookies

From Fine Cooking
Yields about 6 dozen 2-inch cookies.

11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. table salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup very firmly packed, very fresh dark brown sugar

1-1/2 tsp. maple flavouring (available in supermarkets)

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, slightly softened

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

8 oz. (2 cups) toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

For the glaze:

3/4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup, warmed

Hot water as needed for thinning

Mix the dough:

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In a food processor, pulse the granulated and brown sugars to blend and then add the maple flavouring. Pulse five or six times and then process for 15 seconds. Scrape the bowl to be sure all of the flavouring has been incorporated.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until very smooth, about 2 min. Add the sugar mixture in three additions. Mix until lightened in colour, about another 3 min. Add the egg and then the maple syrup and vanilla, mixing just until blended. Scrape the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low.

Mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, and then add the pecans and mix just until blended.

Shape the dough:
Have ready three 15-inch sheets of plastic wrap. Portion the dough into three equal pieces and roll each piece back and forth until it forms a log about 10 inches long. (You needn’t flour the rolling surface.) Position each log on a sheet of plastic wrap, centreing it at the edge closest to you. Roll tightly, twisting the ends firmly to seal. With your hands on either end, push the log firmly toward the centre to compact the dough. The finished log should measure about 9 inches long and about 1-1/2 inches thick. Refrigerate the logs until firm enough to slice, 2 to 3 hours, or freeze for up to three months.

Bake the cookies:

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Heat the oven to 350°F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.
Working with one log at a time, use a tomato knife or other small serrated knife to cut the dough into 1/4-inch rounds using a gentle sawing motion. Set the rounds 1 inch apart on the prepared pans and bake until the cookies are lightly browned, about 18 minutes, rotating the pans as needed for even browning.

Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup until smooth and pourable.
Remove the sheets from the oven and let rest on the baking sheets for 2 min. While the cookies are still hot, use a pastry brush to brush a thin layer of the glaze on top of each cookie. (If the glaze becomes too thick as it stands, thin it with a few drops of hot water.) Transfer the cookies to a rack; the glaze will become firm within minutes.

Store the cookies, layered between sheets of waxed paper, in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to three months.


Half Baked said...

A new house for Christmas! How exciting!!! I love that these cookies are made ahead then sliced and baked...perfect for the hectic holiday season:)

Susan @ SGCC said...

What a great recipe! These are perfect to keep in the freezer for when you need a little something sweet.

Good luck with the move. Hope you get all settled in time to do some holiday baking!

Melissa said...

I may have to make this cookie for the holidays. I always make one hubby favorite, one of my favorites and a new cookie of the year.

On a separate note: I'm thinking of making the cran-vanilla pavlova for Thanksgiving. How well do you think it will travel???

Melissa said...

Travel unassemble, that is.

Evelyne said...

Congrats one the house, I hoep you ahve a smooth move. Cokies look sooooo yummy.

Jan (Mixing Bowl Kids) said...

These looks so yummy to me right now...I wish I could gobble some up. I haven't made many slice and bake cookies myself, but am thinking of experimenting this year imply because I can make ahead and bake when needed.

CookiePie said...

GORGEOUS cookies! I love anything maple and certainly love a nice slice-and-bake cookie, so I'll have to try these.

All the best in your new home!! Here's to many years in it, filled with laughter and love :)

Amber said...

Yum I love pecans in baked goods, my fave muffins call for pecans and I made apple pie waffles tonight (minus the apples for Little Miss Picky Eater) with pecans. Looking forward to trying the cookies and hearing more about our new place!

Hilary said...

Christmas baking while moving house and juggling two small kids? I'm impressed.

Your new house and lifestyle sound idyllic - I absolutely cannot wait to hear all about it.

Amanda said...

Oh yum, those look really great!

Maria said...

I love the glaze on these cookies!

Cheryl Arkison said...

Yum! Here's hoping the move and the recovery go well.

Ingrid_3Bs said...

I'm so not fond of cookie baking but those look seriously good! They're very tempting!

What do your little guys think of the move? Good luck with it and getting settled in before the holidays!

LyB said...

Slice and bake are my absolute favorite cookies to make. And they're quite handy to have in the freezer when the kids demand cookies. :) Hope the move goes smoothly and that you get a little time to relax.

Jen said...

These look like a great holiday cookie! Thanks:)

Abby said...

Can't wait to see your new home! It sounds lovely.

And I like to freeze cookie dough and give it as birthday gifts, with the recipe and a little ribbon, of course. Always well received!

Valerie Harrison (bellini) said...

Sliced cookies are perfect to keep around for the holidays since they can be pulled out and baked at a moments notice.

Amy said...

Those look absolutely delicious! I'll have to give them a try. Good luck with the move!

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molly said...

The dedicated cookie baker can bake through ANYTHING, even a move. And three kids. And no power. I know. I tried. Good luck! (And these look divine)

Lucy said...

Good luck for the move - sounds exciting, especially the maple trees on your very own land. As for the cookies well, these look gorgeous! I love Christmas baking and all the wonderful recipes shared :)

Nutmeg Nanny said...

These look delicious! I made something similar a few weeks ago. I love that glaze..yum!

Barbara said...

The best Christmas gift: a new home! Happy moving!

These little cookies are divine. Love the maple glaze and even more, the fact that you can make and freeze them- ready to bake when you want. Kudos!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Those look perfect Aimee! I think I'll be adding them to this year's Holiday baking.

Kelsey said...

How exciting that you are moving - good luck!

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel said...

How do you get your cookie dough log to stay so perfectly round? There is a recipe I make each December that calls for rolling it into a log and refrigerating overnight... my problem is that it is always flat on one side the next day and too solid to make round again at that point. Any tips?


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