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Saturday, February 7, 2009

Maple Pecan Lace Cookies

You know how families always seem to have the food that just shows up every Christmas? It's not the "family specialty" but it always seems to be there nonetheless. This cookie is just that for my family. Blame it on my grandmother's sweet tooth, but it seems to me that these cookies are always around for the holidays.

I am so not complaining.

Look at these things! Basically just butter, sugar and maple flavoring, these cookies beg you to mush them into your mouth and let them melt, melt, melt away. I would make them once a week, if I wasn't sure that eating that many would render me unable to fit through my doorway. I suppose saving these for special occasions has a bit of practical reasoning.

If you have a special occasion coming up (like birthdays, holidays or a weekend), I suggest these cookies. They are one of the easiest baked goods I have ever come across. Additionally, the time from mixing bowl to hand is remarkably short (just 15 minutes!).

What are you waiting for? Grab your mixing bowl already!

Maple Pecan Lace Cookies
Makes approx. 40 cookies

What You'll Need:
a wooden spoon
a large mixing bowl
a medium bowl
a teaspoon
2 baking sheets (to alternate)
A cooling rack or sheet
Parchment Paper (this is NOT optional, trust me)

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg, room temperature
2 tsp maple extract
1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp fine grain salt
2/3 cup pecans, very finely chopped

* I used whole wheat pastry flour, but the recipe was originally developed for white. Use whichever you prefer.

What You'll Do:
Cover your baking sheets in parchment paper. Position rack at center of oven, and preheat oven to 400°.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together baking soda and salt into the flour until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Using a wooden spoon, cream butter and sugar together in your mixing bowl. When smooth, beat in your egg and maple extract. Slowly add your flour mixture into the butter mixture and stir until well combined.

Stir in your pecans.

Drop by teaspoons onto your baking sheet. Make sure to space at least 2 inches apart, as these will spread quite a bit.


Place in center of rack and bake until cookies just begin to brown in the center. Your ideal cookie will look slightly undone in the center and a little crunchy around the outside. This will take about 6 minutes. Immediately remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for another 6 minutes. Once cooled enough to be firm, remove cookies with a clean spatula and transfer to rack to continue to cool.

Enjoy warm, crumbled over ice cream or with coffee. Or, if you are like me, you could just leave them out on the table and enjoy them all the time. Yum!

Notes:
  • You must use parchment paper if you ever want to remove this batter from your cookie sheets. We've battled these sticky little monsters for years before discovering the parchment paper miracle. I'm just saving you the disappointment and heartbreak.
  • Additionally, to help remove these cookies from the baking sheet: Keep your spatula clean of cookie 'gunk', and make sure you let the cookies cool enough on the baking sheet. If the treats are still too warm, the centers will not set and you will end up with scrunched up gooey balls (these are perfect as ice cream topping!).
Enjoy!

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