Sunday, March 13, 2011

Labbits Like: Cardamom Spiced Maple Cookies

Hedgehog, moose, pine tree, bear cub, fox, snail and squirrels!
Rising daytime temperatures mixed with cold nights mean something very special in Vermont: maple sugaring season! The labbits see more and more snow melting and patches of ground appearing, which makes them anxious for spring. This prompted the labbits to come up with a cookie especially for this time of year: Cardamom Spiced Maple Cookies! They combine the warm spices associated with winter soups and stews, and the sweetness of Vermont Maple Syrup all in a cute woodland creature shaped package, decorated to look like any Vermont animal during mud season.


Did you know that Vermont is the biggest US producer of maple syrup? Vermont produced 890,000 US gallons (3,369,016 litres) of maple syrup in 2010, according to the USDA. The labbits' new mau5 friends were quick to point out that Canada is the world's biggest producer of maple syrup, but why let things get competitive? The labbits and mau5e5 let the friendly rivalry go, and got together to bake these delicious cookies. You can print out the recipe here.



Above, Joel Mau5 points "oot" some of the uses for maple syrup, but like many Canadians (and Vermonters), he'll tell you it goes on just "aboot" anything!

By the way, if you like these woodland creature cookie cutters you can buy them at IKEA. (That's right, you have to head to the city to get woodland creature cookie cutters.)


Cardamom Spiced Maple Cookies aka Hurry Up Spring Cookies

NOTE: The dough for these cookies requires overnight refrigeration, so plan ahead!
Ingredients: 
5 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp coarse salt
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
8 oz (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces and softened
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 

For Frosting:
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar, plus more for decoration
3 Tbsp maple syrup

Preparation: 
In a large saucepan, bring sugars, maple syrup and water to almost a boil, stirring until sugars dissolve to a syrupy consistency.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, cardamom, allspice, cloves and pepper.

Place softened butter in a mixing bowl.  

In a small bowl, beat cream, egg and vanilla, then add to butter. Beat on medium speed until well combined.

Reduce speed to low and alternate adding dry mixture and syrup mixture in small batches to the butter mixture. Mix well, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. This produces a thick, moist dough, so you may want to use a dough blade on your food processor/stand mixer/hand mixer, because the whisk blades may not handle the 5 3/4 cups of flour very well.

Divide dough into thirds or fourths and flatten into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.






Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Have some friends help if you can't reach the dials.










Joel is Canadian and uses the metric system: 3 mm





Lightly flour a clean work surface, parchment or wax paper and roll out one disk of dough to 1/8" thickness. Press cookie cutter firmly into dough, creating shapes close to one another to conserve dough. Combine scraps from all disks, re-roll and cut shapes once more. 





Transfer cookies to parchment lined cookie sheets, baking similarly sized cookies together, spaced 1" apart. Rotate sheets halfway through baking, until edges of cookies are slightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool.

For the frosting: place 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar in a small bowl. Add 3 Tbsp of maple sugar and whisk until icing is smooth and opaque. Taste, and adjust with more confectioner's sugar or maple syrup, as desired.

Using a small basting brush, brush a little icing on the bottoms of the cookies. Sift a little confectioner's sugar on the bottom 1/3 of the cookie. Set aside until icing hardens.

If you don't eat all the cookies right away, store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks, with a layer of wax paper between layers. But really, will they go uneaten that long?

Yields: About 5 - 6 dozen cookies, depending on size of cookie shapes.
Cookie recipe adapted from Martha Stewart Living, December 2008, and icing recipe from NPR.org.

1 comment:

  1. I love the fact that the ruler Joel is using to measure the dough is actually a needle-sizer for knitting needles.

    ReplyDelete