We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cookie Recipe #350 - Maple Log Cabins and Trees

Oh, the sweetness of maple syrup...almost like eating a pancake or waffle drizzled in it without the stickiness. Make whatever shape you would like-experiment!

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups butter, softened, 1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup maple-flavored syrup (the real stuff is the best), 4 cups all-purpose flour, 1 cup finely chopped toasted pecans (or untoasted), 1 slightly beaten egg white, 1 tablespoon water. Maple Frosting: 2 tablespoons butter, 3/4-1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons maple-flavored syrup, food coloring, if desired.

Instructions: In large mixing bowl, beat butter for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and beat until combined. Add in eggs and syrup, mixing well. Stir in flour and pecans and beat until thoroughly incorporated.

Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide each half of dough into 12 portions. Roll each portion into a 10-inch-long rope on lightly floured surface. For a cabin, cut a rope into five 2-inch logs. To assemble, place the three logs horizontally on an ungreased cookie sheet; press together slightly to form cabin. Place remaining two logs in an inverted V shape above cabin; press ends against cabin corners to form roof.

For a tree, cut a rope into six pieces: one 3-inch piece, one 2 1/2-inch piece, one 2-inch, two 1-inch, and one 1/2-inch. To assemble, place the 3-inch piece horizontally on the cookie sheet; add the 2 1/2-inch piece, the 2-inch, a 1-inch, and the 1/2-inch piece; press together slightly to form tree. Place remaining 1-inch piece vertically below tree; press in place to form trunk.

Brush trees and/or cabins with a mixture of egg white and water. Bake in preheated 375 degree oven 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute before carefully tranferring to wire racks to cool.

Make Maple frosting: In medium mixing bowl, beat butter. Gradually beat in 1/4 cup of the powdered sugar. Mix in maple syrup. Gradually beat in enough of the remaining powdered sugar to make of piping consistency. If desired, tint with food coloring. Decorate cookies with frosting. If desired, while frosting is still wet, add nonpareils or chopped nuts.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

"Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Cookies", Meredith Corporation, Des Moines, IA, 2003.

Cookies Rule!!!

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