I love Christmas. Specifically, German Christmas. I love the multiple trees; I love nutcrackers; I love finding the pickle ornament (even though there is debate as to whether or not this one's really truly a German tradition). I love the food. Mmmmm... food....
So when presented with what cookies to make, I immediately knew that I wanted to try my hand at Lebkuchen, a traditional German Christmas cookie that is akin to gingerbread. Unlike gingerbread, however, I like to eat it.
Lebkuchen is spread out on a jelly roll pan, and then once it's out of the oven, cut into bars or other shapes. My plan was to make one batch plain and another one covered with chopped almonds. Then I'd cut them into diamonds.
I baked. I cooled. I cut.
And then I realized that the bottoms of the cookies were burned. Every. Square. Inch.
(Dear Santa, I think I might need some new jelly roll pans and cookie sheets. Love, Allison)
So those three food bloggers to whom I was assigned did not receive any Lebkuchen this year.
After I cleaned up the mess and dried my tears, I did a quick inventory of what I had, checked my favorited recipes, and BAM! Maple-walnut cookies.
So, after The Husband valiantly came home with a new bottle of maple syrup (I could mainline that stuff if given the chance, so we run out fairly regularly), I made these lovely adaptations of the traditional sugar cookie to send out.
(adapted from The Cooking Photographer)
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup maple syrup - the real kind people; let's not pretend that Mrs. Butterworth's® is actually maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (preferably homemade)
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or AP flour, or a combo of the two)
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts (or nuts of your choosing... or none if you're like that)
- granulated sugar (for rolling)
Preheat the oven to 350°.
Cream together the butter and brown sugar. Once smooth, add the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla. Mix until well blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture, slowly, to the syrup mixture until completely incorporated. Stir in the walnuts.
Shape the dough into one-inch balls; roll in the sugar. Place on cookie sheets that have been covered with parchment paper and press down slightly.
Bake 8-10 minutes. Take out when still slightly soft. Cool completely on cooling racks.
(The original recipe, linked above, states that this yields approximately 60 cookies. I got 42 out of mine, but I may have been a little generous with the size of my cookies)
Now, since I had been sick, I didn't get these babies mailed out until Wednesday, so I extend my apologies to addicted to recipes, Thursday Night Baking, and KarmaCucina for any delay in baked good deliciousness. Hopefully the intrepid employees of the United States Postal Service were up to the task of getting them to you by Friday, like they promised.I'd also like to thank Kathy at Panini Happy for the absolutely divine chocolate jam thumbprint cookies (that I may or may not have eaten in one sitting) and The Lives and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch for the chocolate drizzled shortbread bites with the secret mint chocolate inside (which were my lunch the other day, as I realized there was no way I could eat just one). Your cookies were amazing, ladies, and I can't wait to bookmark the recipes so I can try my hand at them at some point. My waistline, however, is pretty upset with the whole thing and will be pleasantly surprised once I start my half marathon training again.
If you're interested in getting in on the international fun and helping send over 22,000 cookies worldwide next year, make sure to sign up now in order to receive word about the 2012 Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Who knows - maybe by then I'll be able to make Lebkuchen without burning it!
December 13 Editor's Note - OK, so apparently, Madeline was NOT in NHS. No, I am not mixing her up with another student. I am just clearly confused and just want to take ownership of her as well as my other former students. :)