Sunday, March 10, 2013

Maple Cookies

We're getting lots of good mud here.  I think Maine's official Mud Season has begun.  There are ruts galore, potholes sinking down everywhere and frost heaves making stunt ramps!  We dodge and weave like we're in invisible traffic.  But when it's mud season, it is also maple syrup season!  The maples have all begun to carry buckets.  It's the beginning of the sap run, so maple syrup lovers will have a fresh batch shortly.

I told Elsie that I'd make maple cookies in honor of the spring smells that are happening lately.  I'd never made maple cookies before, so I went online and looked for a promising recipe. This is the one I found: Maple Cookies Recipe at Simply Recipes.  The cookies turned out absolutely delicious.  I followed the recipe to a "T"..pretty much...right until I made a mistake.  Then I veered off.

Mistake 1: The recipe calls for 1 tsp of vanilla.  I reached up and grabbed my vanilla out of the cupboard.  I poured out a tsp.  I noticed that it was a clear liquid, but it still didn't register that vanilla should be dark.  I quickly dumped it in on top of the brown sugar that was in the bowl.  The vanilla wasn't supposed to go in then, but I was saving time - it shouldn't make a difference.  I could smell immediately that it wasn't vanilla I'd just poured all over my cup of sugar.  I looked at the bottle.  Almond Extract.  I had to make a decision.  Do I try to get some of it out and add some vanilla and more sugar to replace what I had to ditch?  Or do I go with the flow and see how they taste with almond instead of vanilla?  I decided to go with the flow.

Mistake 2: The recipe calls for 1/2 c of maple syrup preferably Grade B.  I only have Grade A.  I decide to go with the Grade A and just see if we like it.  However, Grade A does not have a strong a taste as Grade B, and I've just put almond in the recipe instead of vanilla.  Will the almond just really overpower the syrup flavor?  Okay, if it does, we may like it anyway.  Go with Grade A.

Mistake 3: The recipe calls for 1/2 c of maple syrup...didn't I already say that?  Yes.  But I wasn't through messing that up. I took out my 2 cup measure.  I filled it half full.  Half of a two cup measure is what, everyone?  That's right class.  It is 1 cup.  I dumped it in with the sugar, almond and butter that had been blended together.  I stared at it aghast.  What did I just do?  I looked at the recipe again to see if there was some other liquid in the recipe that the maple syrup could be a substitute for.  Nope.  No water, no oil, no milk, no honey.  I had twice as much maple syrup as I needed in the mixture.  Time to double the recipe.

Mistake 4:  I doubled the recipe.  Almost.  I mixed all ingredients again, so the syrup would be the correct amount...another egg, more butter, double flour, baking soda, salt, etc.   No nuts yet.  I needed to wait on folding in the nuts until everything was mixed.  Instead of almond, here was my chance to get this part half right.  I added 1 tsp of vanilla.  Next the nuts.  I reached in the refrigerator for the walnuts.  I didn't have walnuts.  I got out chopped pecans instead.  Those should be fine, I thought. They would be richer than walnuts.  I even liked them better.  They are much more expensive, but I'm worth it.

Mistake 5:  I got out chopped pecans. I know I already said that, but again I wasn't through messing this part up.  I forgot that I was doubling the recipe.  I read the recipe 3/4 c walnuts.  I put in 3/4 c pecans - half the amount I should have.
I didn't realize this until my husband took a bite of a cookie and said, "These would be good with nuts in them."
He must have gotten a cookie from the wrong half of the bowl of batter.

Mistake 6:  Oh, wait.  There was no mistake 6.  There were no mistakes at all for that matter.  We decided the amount of nuts was just right after all.  We liked the almond extract mixed with the vanilla.  Grade A maple syrup had just the right flavor.  I just made up my own recipe for delicious Almond Pecan Maple Syrup Cookies.  They are really delicious.  Try one, you'll like it.  Go on. Take two; I have twice as many as I need.
   
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If you have young ones, try finding the Curious George video called Maple Monkey Madness from season 6 episode 7 on PBS, or somewhere out there in video land.  It is a great way for the young ones to learn about making maple syrup.

And at last, here's a video of how to make maple syrup.
In two weeks it will be Maine Maple Sunday.  Celebrate it.  Get some maple syrup and pour it over pancakes for breakfast and over ice cream for dessert!  Make half a batch of my Maple Almond Pecan Cookies!

9 comments:

  1. It's way too early for eating and we have no maple syrup. But that photo... your process of baking... I want in :)

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  2. Would you believe that maple syrup is one of the staples that is "exotic" and "international" food here in Indonesia? I miss it so much!! I resonated with this recipe because I have to do so many substitutions here--intentional--but I've also done unintentional ones, like you, because the celery is so skinny that its leaves look like parsley. Thanks for sharing! Have you read the story of Post-it Notes? This is a great parallel. Thanks for the video also.

    Miracle on Maple Hill was one of my favorite books growing up.

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  3. You could write a HILARIOUS how-to story from this and we don't have enough of them for our younger students! What a great slice--thank you!

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  4. I'm seriously drooling. Your cookies sound wonderful. I love the way you brought us along to follow your "mistakes" on a path to a delicious ending.

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  5. I had to laugh all the way through as one change begat another change. That's the way cooking goes. A recipe is just a suggestion is what I keep telling myself when I change things intentionally or unintentionally. Loved the way you talked to the reader!

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  6. Alrighty then...I need some of these maple cookies, too! I loved your sense of humor about the recipes - you cook like me, Donna - whatever works, no worries, it's all good!

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  7. I truly believe that your WOM should be flexible, Donna, or maybe humor too. This is so funny, & I've done some of those things, like open an egg right into the batter only to realize that something is 'off' with the egg. So glad the cookies were still good-maple syrup time is special!

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  8. This was fun to read. It made me laugh as you went from one change to another. You invented a new cookie. Bravo for a great attitude of exploration and discovery.

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  9. This is exactly how most of my baking happens. Trial and error. But, just like you, most of the time everything turns out all right! Thanks for sharing, this was very funny and I am definitely going to use it as a reference at a later time to prove to my mom that I'm not the only haphazard baker.

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