I've always been a fan of oatmeal cookies and my family loves maple flavoring, so when I saw these cookies that incorporated both, I knew they would be a hit.
A couple years ago I was sent a review copy of a cookie cookbook called "The Daily Cookie, 365 tempting treats for the sweetest year of your life" by Anna Ginsberg. Since my nest became empty so many years ago, I don't bake as much as I did when there always seemed to be a group of teenagers passing through my kitchen. As a result, I glanced through the book and laid it aside. When I began thinking of a recipe to make for this issue, I came across the book and decided to check it out again.
The book is fun to browse, especially because of all the different cookie recipes that make up an entire year. Because the recipes are categorized by date, I turned right to October to see what was in store for fall.
This cookie jumped out at me for a few reasons, not just because I am a fan of oatmeal cookies yet am not a fan of raisins. Most oatmeal cookies, whether they are store-bought or homemade, contain raisins, so I often pass them by.
But what really caught my attention was the maple flavored glaze on top of the cookies. Maple glaze has more than once prompted conversations in my house.
My daughter is a fan of the maple-glazed creamsticks sold in our local grocery store's bakery. Since she moves often to various military bases with her Army husband, she found that these treats aren't available in many parts of the country. When she lived in North Carolina, she even asked a bakery in her area if they ever made maple glazed doughnuts. The bakery owner's answer was, "Why would I do something like that?"
Maple-Glazed Brown Butter Oat Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2/3 cup firmly packed light or dark brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. maple flavoring
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup toasted and chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and place a rack in the center. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
Place the butter in a heavy saucepan and melt over medium heat. Keep over the heat until the butter starts to bubble and turn brown. Turn off the heat and swirl the browned butter. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a large bowl, stir together both sugars. Add the browned butter and stir until thoroughly mixed. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and maple flavoring followed by the flour mixture, oats and pecans. Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake one sheet at a time for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets for one minute, then transfer to a wire rack set over paper towels.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup whole or 2 percent milk
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. maple flavoring
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and milk. Bring to a boil and boil for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and stir in the confectioners sugar, vanilla and maple flavoring. Drizzle over the cookies and allow the glaze to set before serving.
Source: "The Daily Cookie, 365 tempting treats for the sweetest year of your life" by Anna Ginsberg
She encountered the same response when she lived in Maryland and Arizona. Bakeries in other parts of the country evidently don't get the concept of maple flavoring.
Each time we or anyone from northeast Ohio visited, instructions were to bring maple-glazed creamsticks, but we had to go early to the store because these treats are usually gone by mid-morning. It's obvious she isn't their only fan.
Now that she lives across the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, it is doubtful she will see a maple-glazed creamstick for a while, but this cookie recipe with the maple-flavored glaze on top is a good alternative. With the oats and pecans, it's not all that unhealthy either.
I've made plenty of cookies over the years, but this cookie recipe also was the first time I made browned butter. The recipe calls for one cup (two sticks) of butter to be melted in a saucepan and cooked until it bubbles and turns brown. I have cooked enough to know that butter can easily burn, so I diligently stood over the stove watching the butter until it began to foam. I had to move the foam aside with a spoon to see when it turned brown, but as soon as it did, I immediately turned off the heat before it crossed that fine line from brown to burnt.
Though the butter turned out well, it became apparent that my oven wasn't working. Obstacles are nothing new to the average cook, but I managed to get the entire batch of cookies baked in my toaster oven without any casualties.
As far as the glaze, I have made caramel sauce, peppermint candy and even homemade marshmallows, so putting together the maple-flavored frosting wasn't a difficult process.
It's best to wait until all of the cookies are baked to make the glaze as once it cools it becomes too thick to drizzle. I used a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the completed cookies, but next time I think I'll pour it into a bottle with a nozzle to make the process faster and easier.
Even with the extra dishes to wash that included two saucepans for browning the butter and the glaze and two bowls for the dry and wet ingredients, I will definitely add this recipe to my holiday cookie list.