Maple Syrup Cookies

I was walking with Kid #2 the other day.  We were meandering, filling time before picking up Kid #1 from dance class.  Truth be told, we were on our way to the bakery.  We have our routine.  First we walk to the local health food/organic food store and stock up on whatever we need for the week that we're not getting from the food box.  Next we might hit the bookstore or just slowly begin walking back to dance class location making a little pit stop at the bakery.  On our way though, we passed an LCBO.  I've written before about our rather archaic and unique liquor/wine/beer retailer.  Yes, here in Ontario there is essentially one company who distributes any kind of alcohol.  That 'company' is our provincial government!  I won't go on again about how bizarre and/or problematic that is.  I will, however, remind you all that the silver lining is the Food & Drink magazine that is issued quarterly (I think - maybe it's only bi-annually).  The magazine is Free, well done and I've always had great luck finding interesting recipes in it.

So, while walking slowly along the street and passing the LCBO, the most recent (and therefor the Holiday issue) issue of Food & Drink magazine caught my eye.  In we went and picked it up.
Once i had a chance to leaf through the magazine, this cookies recipe held my interest.   We LOVE maple syrup in this house.  It's pretty much sacrilege to use anything else on pancakes or waffles.  In fact, we don't even have other kinds of syrup in the house.  So using dark maple syrup in cookies - Wow!  Awesome.
I also had some of this stuff...

I picked it up at our local farmer's market and thought that it looked really interesting.  I swapped some of it in for the sugar in this recipe.  If you can get your hands on some of it then awesome - go for it.  The cookie itself is a little crispy and the dollop of maple syrup sugar on top is exactly the thing that the cookie needs to pull it out of something almost savoury.   So our little pit stop has already paid off AND we still made it to the bakery.

Maple Syrup Cookies adapted from LCBO Food & Drink magazine
made about 3 doz for me

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar (just opt for 1 full cup of regular sugar if you don't have it)
1 lg egg
1/4 cup dark maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts or pecans, finely chopped

1 cup icing sugar
6 - 8 tbsp dark maple syrup
1 cup large walnut pieces or pecan halves (optional)

Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Beat in egg, maple syrup and vanilla.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Mix and add the flour mixture to the egg mixture.  Make sure that everything is combined.   Add in the finely chopped walnut pieces.
Divide the dough in half and form two logs.  Wrap the dough logs and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Line a cookie sheet with parchment or non-stick mat.
Slice each dough log into 14 - 12 inch slices.  Place 1 inch apart on the cookie sheet.  Bake for 13 - 15 minutes or until the cookie is just turning golden.  Remove cookies to cool on a rack.

Combine the icing sugar and maple syrup to form a thin icing.  Once the cookies are still a little warm, place a dollop of icing on each.  If you opt for it, place a walnut or pecan half on the very top.


A cool thing happened the other day.  I was cooking away and the doorbell rang.  B, our new next door neighbour was at the door.  She was holding a quiche.  A couple of months ago when they moved in next door with their adorable little J, we took over some cupcakes.  A little something to welcome them to the area and also to butter them up so that they can check in on our house if we're away... ;-) You know how it goes.  So, B decided to reciprocate by bringing over this yummy quiche.  So Sweet!!!  And Yummy!!!

So, B and I were chatting about life and cycling (they are a big cycling family - like BIG) and food and parenting and running and... stuff.  I was kinda smelling something funny but D was sitting right in front of the stove and I thought that for sure if something was burning then he would catch it.  Well, he didn't catch it.  I would say that I lost about 1/3 of this recipe because I let it burn.

Dumb.  However, it was burnt over a great conversation though, so... silver lining? 
Here's another bit of silver lining.  This recipe is HUGE.  Like way too huge.  If you want to feed a large gathering of people maybe.  Say, like a wedding reception, family reunion or large birthday party.  We honestly could never have eaten it all.  If you'r family is like mine (and aren't necessarily in love with anything containing green lentils then I would cut this recipe significantly.  However, even burnt the taste was decent.  I think that it's a nice side.  Truth be told, there is supposed to be a tomato sauce served along with but I didn't bother with that.  Don't think that you need it if you are serving this along with some other things that are in a sauce.  Delicious and nutricious and, in my case, BURNT!

Kosherie adapted from 'Ottolenghi: The Cookbook'
serves 10 - 12 at least
300 g (2 cups) green lentils
200 g (1 1/3 cups) Basmati rice
50 g (1/2 cup) vermicelli (or spaghettini/capellini) noodles, broken into 4 cm lengths
400 ml chicken or veg stock
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tbsp sugar or honey (my addition)
2 white onions, halved and thinly sliced
lots of unsalted butter or olive oil

In a seive, rinse the lentils under cold water and then simmer in salted water for 25 min.  Drain and set aside.
While the lentils are cooking:
Saute the onions (over medium/low heat) in butter, let them take their time adding butter a tbsp at a time only as needed.  Once the onions are caramelized remove from the pan and set aside.

In a large bowl cover the rice with cold water.  Drain the water and set the rice aside.
Melt a couple of tbsp of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the vermicelli noodles and heat until they are just turning golden brown.  Add the drained rice and mix well, everything should be coated with the butter.  Add the stock, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper and honey.  Let it cook, covered for 10 minutes.  Add in the drained lentils and finish cooking, covered, for about another 10 min.  Keep an eye on it so that it doesn't burn (duh!)

Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

I have a cold.  A stupid November cold.  Right there in my chest.  And you know what?  I don't care.  It's the weekend and I'm not staying in 'cause of a stupid cold.  Look, you wait the whole work week to do whatever you want on the weekend and I'm not staying in bed with a cold because, well, I don't want to.  I'm going out.  Taking the kids out, doing my shopping and going out for date night tonight.  I'm just determined.  That's it.  I'm not staying in bed the whole weekend so that I can get up and go back to work on Monday.  That just seems dumb.  I'm going to enjoy myself, dammit!

I got up late this morning and made these because kid #1 and kid #2 begged me to.  I don't mind really.  I'm not a big 'sleeper-in'.  8:30 is pretty decadent for me.  So, I made these puppies and we had a nice breakfast.  D was still in bed.  He got home at about 3:30 a.m. after a gig.  He can sleep in for a while if he wants... that's cool.
This recipe makes a lot, which totally works for me.  I just put them in the fridge and heat them up for the kiddies during the week.  They get a nice, hearty breakfast and I don't have to make it.  Win/Win.
The recipe comes together easily.  The hardest part really is staying near enough to the stove so that you can turn them over before they burn.  Also, this recipe calls for using 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour.  I didn't have any in my pantry so I just used all-purpose for the whole thing and reduced the amount of milk to 2 cups - worked out just fine.

I feeling pretty good right now in spite of feeling pretty crappy.  I got my weeks worth of kids breakfast (ok I give them more than just a pancake - yeah) already done and we all had a yumm, lazy breakfast to boot.

Apple Cinnamon Pancake adapted from
Makes about 15 med/small pancakes

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I skipped it)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 lg eggs
2 1/2 cups milk (I used 2 cups)
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tbsp brown sugar or maple syrup
1 1/2 cups shredded apple (2 lg)
butter for cooking

Heat a skillet for cooking the pancakes
In a bowl combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.
In another bowl combine the eggs, milk and melted butter.
Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture.  Combine.  Add in the sugar and apples.  Mix well.
Add some grease or butter to the skillet and drop the pancakes onto the skillet by about 1/3 cup at a time.

Cook on each side until just browned and turn over.

Serve with warmed up maple syrup (if at all humanly possible - I am Canadian after all)

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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