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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

DAY 11: Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

Today’s cookie is a bow to the Canadian heritage here in our home.

Tiny maple cookies filled with a maple cream cheese frosting. You could always make them bigger, but I love these cute little bite-sized cookies.

My big mistake with these cookies, however, was in thinking that my cookie cutter was symmetrical. Turns out it is not quite the same on both sides! (As you can see if you look closely at the top of the cookies.) This didn’t bother my kids at all. They all disappeared before any made it onto cookie trays.

Lesson for next time: if your cookie cutter is not perfectly symmetrical, before baking, flip half of your cookies over. Then you can put the back-sides of two different cookies together and your edges will line up.

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies 2

 

RECIPE:

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies

Maple Cream Sandwich Cookies
—–
(adapted from Bon Appetit, December 2005):

Maple Cookies:
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp maple extract

Maple Cream Cheese Filling:
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
½ tsp maple extract
¼ tsp salt
2 cups powdered sugar

Cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat butter, sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and maple extract until combined.

Add flour gradually and mix until just blended. Divide dough into two balls and flatten each ball into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap (or place in a Ziploc bag) and refrigerate for one hour.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.

Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼”. Use small maple leaf cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Place cookies on prepared sheets.

Note: If your cookie-cutter is not perfectly symmetrical,  turn half of your cookies upside down before baking.

Bake for 8-10 minutes (exact time will depend on size and thickness of cookies). Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.

Filling:
In a mixing bowl, beat butter, cream cheese, maple syrup, maple extract and salt until light and fluffy. Slowly beat in powdered sugar.

Spread the backside of cooled cookie with about ½ Tbs filling.  Top with another cookie. (If cookies are not symmetrical, be sure to pair cookies with their inverted match.)

 

Makes about 3 dozen sandwich cookies (using a 2” cookie cutter)

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Twelve Days of Christmas Cookies: Maple Cookies

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DAY 8: Maple Cookies

A simple maple flavored cookie. No frills; just a quiet, unassuming cookie.

RECIPE:
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Maple Cookies
———-(from AllRecipes)

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup real maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tsp maple extract (optional)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups all-purpose flour
Granulated or raw sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease cookie sheet or use silicon baking mat.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar. Add the egg, syrup, vanilla and maple extract (if using). Mix until well blended. Stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir into mixture until well blended. Shape into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on cookie sheets about 2 inches apart and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

Makes about 60 small cookies.

 

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Homemade Maple Syrup

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Homemade Maple Syrup
————-(adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
2 Tbs honey or corn syrup (dark or light)
1 cup water
1 tsp pure maple extract
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a large 5-6 quart pot, combine the sugars, honey and water. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce the heat to low so the mixture gently simmers. Cover the pot and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before stirring in the maple and vanilla extracts. Pour the hot syrup into a mason jar and immediately seal with lid and ring. As it cools the jar seals. Store unrefrigerated for 1-2 weeks, or in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. Reheat before serving, if desired.

*Makes about 2 1/2 cups

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Apple Butter (or Applesauce if you quit halfway through)

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One more apple recipe (actually two, because you can make either applesauce or apple butter with this recipe.

There are two ways to make apple butter (many more than two actually, but two main ways): with a food mill or without a food mill. I highly recommend using a food mill. It saves tons of time on the initial prep work, and is easier on the finishing end as well.

DSC026412What to do if you don’t own a food mill? Borrow one from a friend (Many thanks, Sherry!). Still don’t have a food mill? You can still make this recipe, just get out your apple peeler and start peeling (and have a food processor or blender handy).

If you are using a food mill you can skip the whole apple peeling and coring process. Just cut your apples into about 8 chunks/slices and place in a roasting pan. The peels and core are full of pectin and will help the apple butter set (but it will still set if you are using peeled apples). The recipe I like is adapted from the cookbook Cooking with Shelburne Farms.

Roast the cut apples with cinnamon sticks and pure maple syrup for a fabulous flavor. Grade B maple syrup is actually recommended in the cookbook because it has a stronger maple flavor, but I only had Grade A, so that is what I used.

When the apples are soft they are ready to go through the food mill (remove cinnamon sticks) or food processor. A food mill will automatically separate the good part of the apples from the skin/seeds/core.

STOP!

You have just made applesauce. Go ahead, taste it! You can stop now, or keep cooking to make apple butter.

DSC02637Return the applesauce to the roasting pan (with more maple syrup and ground spices) and cook for 60 – 90 minutes, stirring often, until apple butter is thick and caramel colored. It is done when a spatula drawn through the mixture leaves a clean trail.

The apple butter can be processed in jars in a boiling bath canner, frozen in plastic containers, or stored in the refrigerator.

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Apple Butter

1 peck apples (about 10 lb)
1 cup apple cider
1 cup maple syrup, divided
4 whole cinnamon sticks
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut apples into wedges and place in a large roasting pan (if you do not have a food mill, peel and core apples as well). Place cinnamon sticks on the apples and drizzle with the apple cider and 1/2 cup maple syrup (use more for really tart apples).

Roast 45 minutes, or until apples are very soft. Remove cinnamon sticks. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

Use a food mill to puree the apples (it will remove the skins and seeds). If you do not have a food mill, place peeled, cooked apples in a food processor and blend until well mixed. Stir in additional 1/2 cup maple syrup, ground cinnamon, cloves and allspice, and any liquid left in the roasting pan.

Return apple mixture to roasting pan, spreading mixture evenly (to avoid burned places). Cook for 60 – 90 mins, stirring every 15 – 20 minutes. Apple butter is done when a spatula can be drawn through it and leave a clean path. Taste and add additional spices and syrup, if desired.

Process in a boiling bath canner for 5 minutes (for half-pint jars), if desired.

FOR APPLE SAUCE: Roast apples as above (with maple syrup and cinnamon sticks) and process through food mill. That’s it. You’re done.

 

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Apple Zucchini Muffins with Maple Streusel Topping

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I love apple season and the smell of warm baking apples and cinnamon, in all of their varieties: apple pies, apple crisps, apple butter, and now apple muffins. These muffins also have a little bit of summer thrown in, in the form of  some shredded zucchini frozen from our summer harvest.

DSC02037This is a pretty simple muffin recipe to throw together and it leaves your house with that wonderful smell of fall baking for the rest of the day!

Start with peeling an apple and finely chopping it. Also shred your zucchini. Set aside.

Combine your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.

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Mix two beaten eggs with maple syrup (not pancake syrup, but REAL 100% maple syrup), melted butter, vanilla and maple extract. Stir in zucchini and apples.

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Prepare Maple Streusel Topping: Stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. With a fork, mix in maple syrup and maple extract and then butter. Mix until crumbly.DSC02057

Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir just until moistened. Add nuts, if using.

Spoon batter into muffin tins, either lined with paper liners or sprayed with baking spray. Fill each cup about 3/4 of the way to the top. Sprinkle with streusel topping. I ended up with a little bit more of the topping than I had muffins.

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Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes. This recipe makes about 15-18 muffins.

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RECIPE:

Apple Zucchini Muffins with Maple Streusel Topping

2 ½ cups flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten slightly
½ cup maple syrup (use 100% pure maple syrup)
½ cup melted butter
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp maple extract
1 cup peeled, finely chopped apple (about 1 medium apple)
1 cup shredded zucchini
1 cup chopped nuts, optional

Streusel Topping:
1 cup flour
2 Tbs brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
3 Tbs maple syrup
¼ tsp maple extract
3 Tbs butter, softened

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners, or spray with baking spray.

Combine flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, maple syrup, melted butter, vanilla and maple extract. Peel and chop apple; shred zucchini. Stir into egg mixture.

Prepare Streusel Topping: Stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. With a fork, stir in maple syrup and extract. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly. Set aside.

Stir together wet and dry ingredients (not topping) just until moistened. Add nuts, if desired.

Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans. Top each muffin with 1-2 Tbs streusel topping, crumbling the topping with your fingers. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Yield: 15-18 muffins

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