Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Maple Nutmeg Butter Cookies

First of all, you should know that you can only make these cookies for people you love.  Because cookies that require chilling, rolling, and cookie cutters are only worth it for people you love.

That said, you should make these cookies.  You should make them on a night when you don't have a lot else going on, because they are going to take some time and you are going to make quite the mess, my little cookie queen (or king).

You should also be aware that when these cookies are implemented as a bargaining tool in a cookie exchange, they are both a blessing and a curse.
Blessing:  You get mad compliments.
Curse:  You don't want to give them away.  Blast, that buttery, maple goodness is so sneaky like that.

I found this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen.  This woman is the heat, no lie.  She has performed a great miracle and has achieved a lofty goal.  A goal that I aspire to.  This snazzy lady makes her living by literally rolling out of bed, cooking whatever she feels like at that particular juncture in time and blogging about it.  And she's worked hard to get there.  Rock on, Deb.  Live the dream.

Maple Nutmeg Butter Cookies
Ever-so-lightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter, at room temperature (I used Plugra)
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B makes for an explosion of maple flavor, but use Grade A in a pinch)
1 large egg yolk
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt

You know what?  "They" say you should bake with unsalted butter.  I never do, probably never will.  I think it tastes more buttery with the salt, thank-you-very-much.  Do what you feel.

Use a stand mixer (if you have one and are obsessed with it like me) to combine butter and sugar with the paddle attachment until fluffy.  Add egg yolk.  Drizzle in maple syrup.  Lick cup measure. What?  Sorry.
In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt and nutmeg.  Add flour mixture into butter mixture, just until combined.  Divide your crumbly dough into 4 balls, wrap each in plastic wrap, chill in the fridge for at least two hours, or overnight.  Don't skip this step even though you're tempted.  I have skipped this step a million and a half times, and then I pout about why I can't roll out my dough and make pretty shapes.  Cry baby.

Preheat your oven to 350 and line at least a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.  If you use wax paper instead, you'll set your ever-loving house on fire.  True story.

Flour your very clean counter top or kitchen table with a handful of flour.  Keep the flour handy so the dough doesn't stick to the table, your hands, or your rolling pin.  Yes, you're going to need a rolling pin.  Don't have one?  Use an empty wine bottle, you lush.  Take one of your four doughballs out of the fridge.  Unwrap.  Plop in flour.  Beat the living daylights out of it with your rolling pin until it sweetly submits.  Roll out your dough about 1/8 inch thick and cut fun little shapes out.  If you don't have cookie cutters you are a terribly boring person, you can use the mouth of a jar to cut perfect little circles.  Cut cookies go on the parchment and into the oven for 8 minutes.  For smaller cookies, watch them and maybe take them out at 7 minutes, depending on how browned you want your cookies.  Ball up your dough scraps and wrap them and refrigerate them for after you have used up your initial dough balls.  When your cookies are done, remove the batch from the oven and slide the whole sheet of parchment and cookies off the pan so your pan can cool and be reused for another batch.  If you have cooling racks, use them now.  If you are like me and you don't have cooling racks, ask for some for Christmas.

Confession time.  I got so sick of all that leftover dough (that I had already worked and thus was more pliable than I wanted) I threw out at least a handful of it at the end.  By the Beard of Zeus, I already had like 5 dozen cookies!  Remember, there's no judgement here.  I won't tell the baking police, I promise.  Take that last batch out of the oven, clean your flour coated kitchen filled with destruction and cookies, and go have a glass of eggnog with a cookie.  You deserve it.

And how did that cookie exchange go?  I think I came out on top with some pretty good loot (and some of my leftover maple cookies I secretly hoarded).


the actor's diet said...

i need to organize a cookie exchange next year!

Melody Ann said...

They're so much fun! And perfect if you organize one right before you're headed to a party. Just bring your tin of assorted cookies as a hostess gift!

Jen said...

Love it! I wanted to make these cookies when they first showed up at SK, but alas- I have no hand mixer - and lets not forget I cannot bake.

Pretty. Good. Food. said...

Sounds soooo good :)!

Davenport Dame said...

Hehe. I typically eat four cookies directly after baking them as well. I am loving the idea of a cookie exchange. Next year!