It's starting to feel like spring around here. (Well, one of the first springs. We usually have about 15.) The sun is shining. Snow is melting. Birds are singing. But before we rush and trade in our winter comfort food for light springy salads, I offer one last holiday-spiced food that you simply must make. Because I have good news, bloggy friends. My cookie curse has been lifted!
After many attempts, recipes and undercooked-overcooked-sticky-crumbly fails, I finally made an amazing light cookie. And it didn't have any chocolate chips. Or cocoa. Or peanut butter. Or *gasp* even white sugar.
But yet these flavorful beauties were sweet, soft and chewy, perfectly spiced, and extremely addicting. Like gingersnaps or spiced oatmeal cookies without the oatmeal. And even better...they were a cinch to make. So you must, must make them. Promise me. If not now, then come fall or winter. I take that back. Just go make them now.
This is all they entailed. First I mixed up the batter, which contained a cornucopia of aromatic spices – ginger, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon. I mixed them with a little maple syrup and the usual baking suspects and in no time I was scooping them onto pans.
The recipe was a little off, however. Using a tablespoon definitely won't get you 30 cookies. More like 20 slightly larger cookies. But trust me...bigger is definitely better when they taste this good.
Once the cookies were completely cooled, I made the frosting, which was a breeze as well. Just powdered sugar, maple syrup, butter and a little milk. I noticed that a lot of online reviewers complained about runny frosting, so I added the milk gradually, just until I had the perfect consistency.
Instead of frosting all the cookies and then sprinkling them all with nuts, I frosted and sprinkled one by one. I learned my lesson with the honey-lemon drop cookies and I wanted to make sure the nuts had a chance to adhere. I highly recommend this. The glaze dries uber fast, and you want those nuts to stick. Oh and don't forget to toast the walnuts... like me. (But they do taste fine either way.)
When I was nearly finished and had just one cookie left, I decided that instead of frosting it, I'd just be lazy and eat it. I was itching for a taste test anyways. So I tore off a piece of the soft, chewy cookie, dipped it into a little frosting, then into the bowl of nuts. I tasted. And I flipped out.
I jumped from my seat and went over to the counter where there was more room. I set out my frosting and nut bowls and began a maniacal assembly line of dipping and licking and scarfing. I scraped every last atom of sweet maple frosting out of that bowl. Licked up every spiced crumb. Every walnut particle. Seriously, if I hadn't made these cookies myself, I would have assumed the secret ingredient was crack.
So yes, these cookies are fantastic. The best cookie I've ever made. It's true that I am a little biased toward autumn and Christmasy-spiced foods. But even Luke, the man who insists that a real dessert must contain chocolate to deserve the title, absolutely loved them. So now we're just two hopeless maple-walnut spice cookie addicts who will just have to wait until next fall to get their fix. Or at least next week.
Maple-Walnut Spice Cookies
Adapted from Cooking Light, December 2005
Yield: 30 cookies (serving size: 1 cookie)
Cookbook Note: Store these frosted cookies between layers of parchment paper or wax paper to keep them from sticking together. You can bake and freeze the cookies up to a month in advance; bring the cookies to room temperature before frosting them.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 ounces)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 large egg
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon fat-free milk
2 teaspoons butter, softened
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts, toasted
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare cookies, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
Place brown sugar and 1/4 cup butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add 2 tablespoons syrup and egg; beat until well blended. Beating at low speed, gradually add flour mixture; beat just until combined.
Spoon batter evenly into 30 mounds (about 1 tablespoon) 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-9 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
To prepare frosting, combine powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons syrup, milk, and 2 teaspoons butter, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Spread frosting evenly over cooled cookies. Working quickly, sprinkle cookies with nuts.
Nutritional Information: Calories: 98 (30% from fat), Fat: 3.3g (sat 1.1g,mono 1g,poly 1.1g), Protein: 1.2g, Carbohydrate: 16.3g, Fiber: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Iron: 0.5mg, Sodium: 58mg, Calcium: 12mg.