Happy Maple Syrup Day to everyone! Winter is the perfect time to celebrate this delicious sweetener. As the temperature drops, I dream of hot pancakes and warm maple syrup.
I could have made this easy on myself and simply photographed my breakfast. What fun would that be? Besides, I'm deep into holiday baking, so anything that can be added to my gift sweets bags is a plus.
For inspiration I turned to one of Canada's best bakers. Regan Daley's In The Sweet Kitchen - The Definitive Baker's Companion is a book I couldn't be without. It's almost 700 pages, the first half of which is an encyclopedia of ingredients, techniques and their uses. I often refer to both the Ingredient Substitution and Flavour Pairing charts.
Working with her Maple-Pecan Buttons recipe, I came up with this delicious variation. These cookies are firm and yet very buttery. The maple syrup and walnuts combine perfectly to recreate my favourite maple walnut ice cream. I dare you not to enjoy them!
If you need incentive to give this recipe a try, Maple Syrup World has generously given me 20 coupons worth 10% off maple products from their website. They sell maple syrup, organic maple syrup, maple cream, maple caramel, maple sugar nuggets - just about any maple product you might want.
If you'd like an e-coupon, please let me know in your comment and make sure you're linked to an email address.
adapted from In The Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley (page 496)
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, plus more for decoration
1 1/2 cups medium to fine ground walnuts
3 tablespoons amber (or darker) maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups flour
In a large bowl, cream the butter until fluffy.
Sift the confectioners sugar over the butter. Cream for 1 minute.
Add nuts, maple syrup and vanilla and stir until blended.
Add the salt and flour 1 cup at a time until thoroughly mixed. You might need to use a spatula or your hands to make sure there are no pockets of flour or butter.
Scrape the dough together and wrap in plastic. Chill for 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Line your baking trays with a silpat or parchment paper.
Roll teaspoons of chilled dough into 1 inch balls. Place 1 1/2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Put the trays into the oven for 5 minutes to rechill the dough.
Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 18 - 20 minutes, until the tops are just firm and the bottoms golden brown.
Set the trays on a wire rack and cool for 3 minutes.
Fill a small bowl with icing sugar. Roll the warm cookies in the sugar, coating them well and transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Once cool either reroll them or liberally sift icing sugar over the cookies.
Can be kept in an airtight container for 3 days at room temperature, but they won't last that long!