Source: Food Network .com, link below. Recipe provided by Dennis Brady, and apparently part of Emeril’s cookie contest show.
Yield: 3-4 dozen
It has been years since I have experienced such an epic failure in cookie making. It was quite disheartening, to tell you the truth. But I have decided to learn from my mistakes, and share my *ahem* wisdom with you.
Honestly, these Maple Cookies sounded great when I first saw the recipe on Food Network. I love those maple donuts, so maple cookies sounded like a natural choice. Plus, it is a little unusual, something you don’t have everyday. I kind of like standing out, so it totally appealed to me.
Okay, let me start with the recipe, then I will tell you a little more specifically of my experience.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. maple extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
4 cups flour
It all went well until I put in the flour. Maybe it’s because I’m not big on sifting. But, I prefer to think that I just didn’t follow my instincts. 4 cups of flour sounds like a lot, because it is a lot. Too much, in fact. This dough turned out seriously dry, as you can see in the picture. The thing is, I have never made this recipe before, nor do I know anyone who has made this recipe, so I had no frame of reference at all. Am I sounding too defensive here? I’d like to tell you that I didn’t know it was too dry, but I did. It looked like it was going to be a problem.
The next step is to wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill it for at least 4 hours, until firm. My dough got very seriously firm. The directions call for you to roll out the dough to a 1/4″ thickness, and cut out circles. (To see what that 1/4″ looks like, see my post about Soft Sugar Cookies.) When I rolled it out, it practically fell apart.
I ended up with something resembling a chain of small islands, rather than nice soft cookie dough.
Anyway, they did look very pretty on the baking sheet. I baked them at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. They came out all lovely and cakey. The super heavy dough meant that the cookies didn’t spread or change shape at all. Not even a little bit. It was almost creepy.
The plain cookies are really plain. The flavor was bland, almost non-existent. I had high hopes that some maple icing would resurrect these cookies.
And, that was when I noticed it. The thing I missed when I read the recipe too quickly the first time. Maple Sugar. What is that? Who buys that? And no, it’s not brown sugar. Brown sugar is made with molasses, which comes from sugar cane, not maple, which comes from trees.
4 T. butter
1 tsp. maple extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
I have a hard and fast rule about making cookies. It might be a little snobby, but I am not willing to give it up. I never use ingredients from specialty stores. I refuse to make cookies that require a trip to anything other than my local grocery store. Sorry, but rules are rules. (Well, actually, I’m not sorry, but that is a post for another day.)
I decided to make do. I just left the maple sugar out, and let the maple extract do all the talking. It did fine, by the way. The frosting actually turned out great, with a wonderful mapley flavor. It totally did remind me of the maple donuts. Once the cookies were frosted, they tasted much better. However, you will definitely need a glass of water or milk with this cookie, it dries out the mouth something fierce.
In the end, I threw away about half the dough because I had such a hard time rolling it out. And, the frosting wasn’t nearly enough for an entire batch. My husband’s comment was that I should never make these cookies again. I might have to disagree with him though. I committed to only posting great cookies on this blog, and this post seems to have gone against that directive. However, I think I may try them again, because I believe they have potential. If/when I make them again, I will certainly use less flour. I think these will taste much better if they are soft and pliable. I may increase the amount of maple syrup and maple extract in the cookie dough, to make the actual cookie more flavorful. But I will keep that wonderful maple frosting as-is!
By the way, if you decide to attempt this recipe yourself, I beg you to e-mail me and tell me about your experience. I’m always looking for compatriots!