Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Maple Syrup - Springtime Ritual

Warm, sunny days and cool nights have ensured that the maple sap runs. Earlier in April, we attended a traditional meal at a cabane à sucre in the Laurentians , north of Montreal. It's a ritual of spring with family and friends, a chance to catch up after pseudo hibernating for parts of the winter. Having feasted on pea soup, ham and scrambled eggs, I was anticipating the dessert offerings. I passed on the grand-pères, a puffy pancake deep fried in oil and opted for sugar pie. The pie had a very thin layer of filling, leaving me with a hankering for something else maple and sweet. Arriving home I began to sift through my recipe collection and decided to make some Maple Spice Cookies. Maple syrup provides just the right about of sweetness without overpowering the spices used in baking these cookies. The recipe is from Food & Wine, March 1994.

Maple Spice Cookies

2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground allspice
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks( 1 cup) of unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1 large egg
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl sift the flour with the ginger, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar and the granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in the maple syrup, molasses and egg. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the dry ingredients. Stir in the raisins and pecans.
Spoon rounded tablespoons of the dough 2-inches apart on a large cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the cookies are set and browned at the edges. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. The cookies can be stored for about a week in an airtight container.

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