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Maple Leaf Cookies

These cookies are inspired by the changing colors of maple leaves in autumn. The dough can be made up to several days ahead. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar, plus more for dusting
  • 16 Tbs. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room
      temperature
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the 3/4 cup sugar and the butter on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the maple syrup, vanilla and egg yolk and beat for 1 minute. Sift together the flour and salt directly onto the butter mixture, then beat on medium speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Shape the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Butter 2 baking sheets.

Divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and, using a rolling pin, roll out 1/8 inch thick. Using a maple leaf–shaped cookie cutter 4 inches across at the widest part, cut out as many cookies as possible. As the cookies are cut, place them 1 inch apart on a prepared baking sheet. Then, using a small paring knife, mark each cutout in a pattern resembling the veins of a maple leaf. Gather up the scraps, reroll and cut out as many additional cookies as possible. Repeat with the second dough portion, placing the cookies on the second prepared baking sheet. Dust each cookie with about 1/2 tsp. sugar.

Place the baking sheets on separate racks in the oven. Bake the cookies until the edges are light golden, 10 to 12 minutes, switching the pans and rotating them 180 degrees halfway through baking. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Makes 24 to 30 cookies.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Seasonal Celebration Series, Autumn, by Joanne Weir (Time-Life Books, 1997).