Sunday, October 28, 2007

Maple Sugar Cookies

I have been extending my Canada sojourn virtually, first by attending the Ukranian Wave festival of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance here in New York, and now by making these cracking good maple sugar cookies in celebration of our dazzling local leafage. I looked at Maida Heatter’s sugar cookie recipe, and a few others, and then I used this very handy food blog search gadget to find this recipe over at The Old Foodie:

Maple Sugar Cookies
One cup of sugar, one cup of crushed maple sugar, one cup of butter, two well beaten eggs, two tablespoons of water, two teaspoons of baking powder, and flour enough to roll out. Do not make too stiff. Bake in a quick oven.
[The Good Housekeeping Woman's Home Cook Book; c1909.]

This is very close to what I ended up doing. I substituted coconut oil for the butter since these are for a dairy-free event, and I added extra yolks to make up for the lost butteryness. I also added some vanilla and maple extracts, which you can certainly leave out, but I do have this bottle of maple extract, and the last time I used it was seventeen years ago when I made this cake:

Those are the actual opening chords of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, a particularly difficult piece to render in chocolate. I don’t know if you can tell from a seventeen-year-old Polaroid, but click for the full-size image to read the notes.

These cookies are quite sweet, perfect with milk or coffee, and your house will smell like a sugar shack for days.

Maple Sugar Cookies

1 pound flour (about 4 cups)

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup coconut oil (8 ounces)

1 cup granulated maple sugar (5.5 ounces)

1 cup white sugar (7 ounces)

2 tablespoons water (not sure why this is needed)

1 egg

4 egg yolks

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)

½ teaspoon maple extract (optional)

Heat the oven to 400. Mix together the flour, salt, and baking powder. Cream the coconut oil with the sugars. Beat in the egg and yolks, the water, and the extracts, if you are using them. Mix in the flour, scraping down the sides. This will make a beautiful satiny dough. Chill the dough briefly, but not as long as you would chill a dough made with butter, just twenty minutes or so. Divide the dough into batches and roll ¼ inch thick. Cut with maple leaf-shaped cutters or plain biscuit cutters. Place the cookies on parchment-lined sheets and freeze them for about twenty minutes. I add this extra step of freezing the rolled cookies whenever I make cookies with coconut oil, since such cookies will spread during baking more than butter cookies. Bake them, two sheets at a time, for about 15 minutes for large cookies, slightly less for smaller cookies.

The Yiddish word for maple tree is נעזבױם (nezboym)
The Yiddish word for maple sugar is קליאָנצוקער (klyon tsuker)

I tried to make naturally colored sugar to decorate the cookies by adding a few drops each of yellow carrot juice, orange carrot juice, and beet juice to separate batches of granulated sugar. You can see from the photo that the resulting decorative sugar was too pale to be worth the effort. Has anyone had better luck coloring sugar? Any wild ideas?

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Blogger The Northernmost Jew said...

These look delicious!

If you could not get maple sugar, how would you adjust the receipe for maple syrup? I don't know where to get maple sugar. (Although turbinado sugar is pretty good! I could try using that.) Actually, since I like birch syrup better than maple syrup, if I knew how to make these with maple syrup, could I use birch instead? (I don't understand why, but they can not make birch sugar like they make maple sugar. They can make bircg caramels though, which are yummy!)

5:00 AM  
Blogger The Old Foodie said...

These do look fantastic! Oh for a good (affordable) supply of maple syrup and maple sugar. I am so glad you did this.
Janet [The Old Foodie]

6:48 AM  
Blogger Miriam Segura-Harrison said...

wow, how delightful!!!

12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Side issue: what was the Maple Leaf Rag cake for, back in 1990?

2:37 PM  
Blogger the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

northernmost jew,
i would not recommend making these with maple syrup, because the sugar is an essential component in the silkiness of the dough. On the other hand, I bet I could find some good maple syrub cookie recipes for you, or convert some honey cookie recipes.
old foodie,
I'm glad too! Hope you find your maple!
miriam, thanks!
I made the cake for a piano recital at which my venerable father (nom de blog Ponte Vecchio)played the Maple Leaf Rag. He played it yesterday, at my request, for our foliage celebration.

9:59 PM  
Blogger ilanchick said...

Wild ideas: pinch of turmeric? saffron? red cabbage juice? blueberry juice?

3:33 AM  

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