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.