Each holiday season, I like to try at least one new cookie. This year I settled on Maple Pecan Refrigerator Cookies, a new (to me) cookie that I made for an annual cookie exchange with friends this past weekend. The original recipe appeared in Parade Magazine in 2012.
This cookie is grainy and crunchy, like pecan sandies, with a texture similar to shortbread or sable cookies. It's also very buttery.
The recipe appeals on several levels: One, it's a refrigerator cookie, which means you can make the dough ahead and slice and bake the cookies later. Two, it uses maple syrup, one of my favorite local products. Three, it's a cookie that's not too sweet. Enjoy it with coffee, tea or even wine. Four, it's not chocolate. There's always a chocolate cookie or two on the cookie plate, so it's nice to go with something different.
One thing I should have taken into consideration before making/baking these cookies is the color of the maple syrup. I used syrup labeled Grade A Dark Color and Robust Flavor (formerly known as dark amber and Grade B maple syrup) and the cookies came out a fairly deep brown. The next time, I'd go with a lighter, more mild syrup.
Happy holiday baking!
Maple Pecan Refrigerator Cookies
Adapted from a recipe in Parade Magazine
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar (see note)
3 tablespoons pure New York State maple syrup
1 large egg yolk (reserve white for other use)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 cups flour
1.5 cups chopped pecans (plus extra for garnish, optional; see note)
Beat butter for three minutes, or until creamy. Beat in sugar gradually. Add syrup, egg yolk and extracts and beat well. Stir in flour and pecans.
Divide dough in half (weigh it first; the eyes deceive) and shape/roll into logs that are 2 inches in diameter and about 7 inches long. Wrap tightly in wax paper and refrigerate until firm (overnight is best).
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brush dough cylinders with lightly frothed egg white and roll logs in ground pecans (optional). Otherwise, slice dough in rounds that are 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden. Cool cookies completely and store in a tin to maintain crispness.
Makes about 40 cookies.
Note: For extra maple flavor, use a mix of granulated maple sugar and white sugar.
Note: (Optional) Grind an extra 1/2 cup of pecans, brush cookie logs with reserved egg white (lightly mixed) and roll in ground pecans.