Then a few select food souvenirs came through to help me out in making it a reality. I picked up a bag of maple sugar for the coating. I spent far too long in what I think may be my ultimate happy place (also known as the King Arthur Flagship store where – among other things – I found an amazing vanilla extract with VANILLA BEAN SEEDS (and a gnome cookie cutter which is patiently waiting for its turn in the cookie line-up).
But the moment when I knew my cookie apparition was destiny was when I was given a jar of maple syrup to take home which was harvested from a tree no less than half a mile where I slept.
With summer now officially behind us, it is time to re-stock your spice cabinet, get your hands on some pure maple syrup, and get serious about this cold weather business with a batch or two of maplesnaps.
Maplesnaps (Spiced Maple Syrup Cookies)
makes about 2 dozen
2 1/4 cups (281 grams) flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cornstarch*
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground white pepper (optional)
pinch of cloves
1 cup (200 grams) brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons or 70 grams) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup (78 ml) pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
maple (or turbinado) sugar, for rolling**
Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment.
In a medium saucepan set over medium heat melt butter – stirring constantly – until it begins to foam. Continue to cook and stir until the foam subsides and milk solids begin to form on the bottom of the pan. Keep a close eye on the pan and turn down the heat if things start to get too toasty. When the butter has deepened in color and smells wonderfully nutty, turn off the heat. Pour the butter (with the bits and all!) into a liquid measuring cup and let cool to room temperature while you measure out the remaining ingredients. You will need 1/4 cup brown butter for this recipe and you should end up with about that amount but if you happen to have a bit more then just spoon off any extra into a small bowl and use for any future butter needs.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and spices.
Combine brown sugar, 1/4 cup brown butter (with all those brown butter bits!), maple syrup and vanilla and mix until smooth. Add egg and stir until combined.
Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined and no streaks of flour remain. The mixture may be crumbly. Scoop into balls and roll in maple (or turbinado) sugar.
Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops are just beginning to crack. Let the cookies cool on the pan for several minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
*Just a teaspoon makes for an extra chewy cookie!
**Don’t have maple sugar? Make your own by combining 1/2 cup superfine sugar (granulated is fine too) with maple syrup, one teaspoon at a time. Use a fork to mix the syrup with the sugar (see other sugar tutorial on homemade brown sugar) and just like that: quick fix maple sugar!