Maple Leaf Wafer Cookies

maple-leaf-wafer-cookies-the-rowdy-bakerDelicate maple leaf wafers are perfect for decorating your favorite fall desserts, or, of course, for eating—one after another after another. They’re light and crispy, like the thinnest of potato chips, but the sweet maple flavor of these dainty cookies is even more addictive. (Bet you can’t eat just one!) Jazz them up with fall colors if you’d like, or leave them golden brown. Either way, these treats are quick, easy, and fun to make!

Crunchy brown leaves bursting with maple flavor.

Crunchy brown leaves bursting with maple flavor.

You will need either silicone baking sheets or parchment to bake the cookies on. Trust me on this! I was resistant to both for years, but have now fully embraced their usefulness. There are several ways you can make these leaves, and I’ll show you all of them, but my favorite method involves a stencil (I made my own by sacrificing a silicone sheet and cutting leaf shapes into it), parchment, and a broad pastry brush.

The photo below shows my stencil option on the top, and a simple printed template with parchment over it on the bottom. Both methods work, but the stencil definitely makes things go faster!

Two options: A stencil over the parchment or a template under the parchment. (For the template you would paint directly onto the parchment.)

Two options: A stencil over the parchment or a template under the parchment. (For the template you would paint inside the lines, directly onto the parchment.)

If you are making brown leaves, the maple flavoring will be added to the bowl along with the melted butter. If you are making colored leaves, separate the batter into small bowls (how many will depend on what colors you want to use). In one of the bowls, stir enough maple flavoring into the batter to achieve a rich brown color. Stir food coloring into the others.

This is pretty obvious, I guess, but it doesn’t hurt to mention: the colored leaves won’t taste like maple! If you add maple flavoring to the bright colors, they will turn muddy. And nobody wants THAT, so…if you want your leaves to taste like maple, you’ll need to use more brown batter in each leaf.

The leaves can be baked either on a silicone baking sheet or on parchment. I prefer parchment because the silicone sheet leaves a shiny, slightly bumpy texture on one side of each leaf. If you don’t mind that, the silicone sheets work really well. The parchment does tend to wrinkle slightly, giving some of the leaves a rippled effect, but I kind of like the look—like a soggy autumn leaf. And, having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, I remember a lot more soggy leaves than dry ones!

I brush the batter over the leaf shapes. Thin is best; they come out crispier, and can be beautifully lacy. But…they are also more fragile. Plan on losing a few. I think you’ll know what to do with the broken ones, right? Here’s a lovely brown leaf ready to go in the oven.

brushed-with-pastry-brush

Thinly brushed batter will result in a delicate, lacy wafer.

I’ll give you the recipe (oh, so easy) and then show you some fun options.

Maple Leaf Wafer Cookies
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Makes between 4 and 5 dozen wafer cookies, depending on thickness. You will need either a maple leaf stencil to go over the parchment (easily made by tracing a maple leaf cookie cutter onto a silicone sheet or cardboard and cutting shapes out with a craft blade) or a maple leaf template to slide under the parchment.
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 egg whites
  • ½ cup superfine sugar (or for more maple kick, use fine maple sugar!)
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream OR thick (Bulgarian style) buttermilk
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon maple flavoring (like Mapleine) if making brown leaves. If making colored leaves, maple flavoring will be added to a small portion of batter. See instructions below.
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 F. Cover two baking sheets with parchment or silicone baking sheets.
  2. In the microwave or in a small pan on low heat, melt butter. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and sugar together until foamy.
  4. Add flour and cream. Beat until smooth.
  5. Add butter and (if you are making brown leaves) maple flavoring. Beat on low until well mixed.
  6. If you wish to make colored leaves, separate batter into small bowls and add maple flavoring to one of the bowls until you get a rich brown color. Add food coloring of your choice to the others.
  7. If you are using a stencil, lay stencil on parchment covered baking sheet and brush batter over each leaf cutout. (Keep coating as thin as possible without leaving bare spots.) Carefully lift stencil onto the second baking sheet and repeat. If you are using a template, place it under the parchment and paint inside the lines, using a pastry brush or paintbrush.
  8. For colored leaves, dip the pastry brush into two or three colors at a time and brush onto stencils, keeping brush strokes to a minimum to avoid muddy colors.
  9. Bake one sheet at a time for approximately 6 minutes. Watch carefully and pull the leaves as they are beginning to turn a mottled brown. Even the colored leaves will pick up brown streaks.
  10. Remove from oven and quickly but carefully slide a thin metal spatula under each leaf, moving them to a cooling rack or a piece of crumpled up foil, to create a curled shape.
  11. If the leaves begin to harden before you've finished shaping them, they can be returned to the oven for 15 seconds to soften a little.
  12. Enjoy!

Brushing brown leaves on the stencils

Brushing brown leaves on the stencils

lift the stencil carefully and move to clean parchment for the next batch!

lift the stencil carefully and move to clean parchment for the next batch!

OR you can go with some bright fall colors. The best way I’ve found to make the colored leaves is to dip the pastry brush into two (or three) different colors, then brush onto the stencil, using the least number of brush strokes possible.

go-wild-with-pastry-brush

Go a little wild with the colors!

Ready to bake

Ready to bake

Remember that I told you there were other methods? If you are a free spirit, you can simply brush leaves free-style on your parchment, using a large artist’s paintbrush, or put a template under the parchment and use it as a guide.

Painting leaves.

Painting leaves. (These were filled in with streaks of color.)

Or…brush brown leaves onto the stencil and then highlight them with colors, using a paintbrush.

brushing-colors-onto-brown-leavesmaple-leaf-wafers

You can also use that paintbrush to paint different streaks of color onto the stencil.

Kids might have fun just painting random shapes. If you go this route, I’d advise using a silicon sheet, because the parchment will slide around on the baking pan.

They bake quickly – exactly 6 minutes in my oven. Yours might vary, so watch them closely. They go from anemic to charred very quickly!maple-leaf-wafer-cookies-from-the-rowdy-baker

HINTS:

  • Slightly crumple a big piece of foil and have it sitting on the counter. As you lift each leaf, immediately lay it on the foil. It will shape itself over the hills and valleys of the foil into appealing fallen leaf shapes.
  • If your leaves start to get too firm to shape before you can remove them all from the baking sheet, put them back in the oven for 15 seconds. OR lay them on a baking sheet with crumpled foil and return to the oven briefly. As long as they weren’t over baked to begin with, they should soften and bend into interesting shapes. Or just embrace flat leaves!
  • I learned that if I always had a parchment covered baking sheet on the counter I could lift the messy stencil from the pan I was finished with and move it to the empty sheet to wait to be painted. Otherwise, I obsessively washed the stencil between batches, wasting waaaay too much batter. OCD much?
  • You can make the batter several hours ahead and keep it chillin’ in the refrigerator, covered tightly.

Besides just eating these sweethearts hand over fist, I love to use them for decorating pies, cakes, or cheesecakes. Here’s a maple cheesecake with leaf decorations.maple-cheesecake-cut

(No…I’m not posting this cheesecake recipe. I’ve got to keep SOME of my good stuff for the cookbook I’m working on, and this is definitely one for the book!) I know, what a tease, huh?

Fun, easy, creative! This would be a wonderful project to do with kids. Perhaps to be arranged on little plates at each Thanksgiving place setting?

Or hey, just eat ’em!

Lorinda

 

Maple Streusel Rollups

Maple Streusel Rollups from The Rowdy BakerI guess it’s time to admit it: I think I need an intervention. This maple addiction has gotten completely out of control. I’ve replaced a lot of my processed sugar with maple sugar, and have developed a love affair (in moderation, of course) with maple whiskey. Pure maple syrup is my go-to sweetener for cereal and tea, though I add a little Mapleine to it for  more maple kick. Yep…I have it BAD!

Today I made Maple Streusel Rollups, which my husband said were “the best thing I’ve made in a long time”. There you have it, folks. You just have to make these!

I started with the recipe that I use for Maple Bars and Cinnamon Rolls,  but made it a wee bit richer with the addition of butter and buttermilk, and sprinkled maple sugar on the dough before rolling. Then I covered the raised rolls with streusel and drizzled the baked rolls with rich maple icing.

Do I have your attention yet?  If not, just look at THIS!roll

 

Light, fluffy, sweet and mapley (I’m pretty sure that’s a real word), and topped with a crunch pecan streusel, drizzled with a serious maple icing.

Oh.My.Word.

Here you go:

Maple Streusel Rollups
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Author:
Makes 24 rolls.
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup milk (I use whole milk)
  • ¼ cup shortening
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ cup buttermilk
  • ⅓ cup very warm water
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • FILLING:
  • ½ cup very soft butter (almost melted)
  • ½ cup maple sugar (or ½ cup white sugar plus ½ teaspoon maple extract)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • STREUSEL TOPPING:
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup flour
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped pecans (I toast mine first, but you don't have to)
  • ICING:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons maple extract (I use Mapleine)
  • 1 tablespoon milk (more if necessary)
Instructions
  1. In a small pan on medium low heat, combine the milk, shortening, butter and cinnamon. Heat until shortening and butter are melted. Remove from heat and stir in the buttermilk. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine the warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Allow the mixture to sit until bubbly (about 5 minutes).
  3. In a large bowl, preferably using a stand mixer, combine the milk mixture, yeast mixture, eggs, and ⅓ cup sugar. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook.
  4. Slowly add flour and salt and knead by beating on low for 5 minutes. Dough should come cleanly away from sides of bowl, but still be slightly sticky. (If kneading by hand, knead for 7 minutes on floured surface.)
  5. Place dough in greased bowl and allow to rise until double - about 1 hour.
  6. Prepare a large 11x15-inch pan by either lining with parchment or spraying with an oil/flour mixture like Baker's Joy.
  7. Punch down dough and divide in half.
  8. Working with one half at a time, roll out on parchment (or lightly floured surface) to a 15x9-inch rectangle, with the long side facing you.
  9. Spread half of the butter (1/4 cup) on surface of dough and sprinkle with half of the sugar. Roll snugly.
  10. Cut roll into 12 pieces. and place in prepared pan, filling half of the pan. Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  11. Cover with a clean dishtowel or plastic wrap, and allow the rolls to rise until almost double.
  12. Heat oven to 400 F.
  13. Combine the streusel ingredients in a small bowl. Taste a spoonful (optional...just thought you might want permission to indulge) and sprinkle over the raised rolls.
  14. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the streusel is a browned - then remove from oven and place on rack to cool.
  15. While slightly warm, combine the ingredients for the icing in a small bowl and spoon icing into a piping bag or a plastic zipper bag with one corner snipped off. Drizzle over the top of the streusel.
  16. Serve!

Add buttermilk to heated mixture.

Add buttermilk to heated mixture.

Yeast mixture should be bubbly.

Yeast mixture should be bubbly.

The dough comes cleanly away from sides of bowl, but is still slightly sticky.

The dough comes cleanly away from sides of bowl, but is still slightly sticky.

Punch down the dough.

Punch down the dough.

Add maple sweetness and roll!

Add maple sweetness and roll!

Slice...

Slice…

Sprinkle risen rolls with streusel.

Sprinkle risen rolls with streusel.

Drizzle the baked rolls with icing.

Drizzle the baked rolls with icing.

This is where I should tell you I’m through with maple recipes for a while…but I’m not. I have another idea I’ve been playing with – not with great success – but it’s given me an idea. A mapley idea.

Oh, and if maple isn’t your thing, I AM working on a savory, hearty dish for the Super Bowl. Come back – please come back.

Lorinda

Maple Croissants (with a sweet, nutty filling)



Maple CroissantsFlaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth maple croissants – it just doesn’t get any better than this, right?

Oh, but it really does get better. Add a nutty filling and a drizzle of maple icing to create a perfect combination of flavors and textures…and be prepared for the clamoring for “MORE!” that will occur.

It’s no secret that I’m a maple fiend, and I’ve posted several croissant recipes over the years, like Chocolaty Croissant Puffs, Croissants – ooh, la la!, and Pumpkin Cronuts, but I never thought to combine my two passions until my husband suggested it. I guess he’s a keeper!

I’ve got to give you my standard disclaimer when it comes to croissants: they take some time. Not a crazy amount of work, but time. The dough must be chilled and rolled out several times, and though the rolling doesn’t take more than a few minutes, you have to wait at least 30 minutes between each roll. And then the dough should sit overnight. Once you shape them, they take a while to rise. You can’t try to rush this by putting them in a warm spot, because you do NOT want the butter to melt and puddle around the rolls.

So…ideally these should be started the day before you want to bake them. Or two, since the dough just gets more flavorful as it sits in the fridge. That’s a good thing, because it breaks up the process so you can do other things. A few hours before you need the rolls, fill and shape them and leave them to rise slowly. They only take 10-12 minutes to bake.

You won’t believe the fragrance that will fill your house while these beauties are in the oven!

Layers of flakiness surround that nut filling.

Layers of flakiness surround that nut filling.

This recipe makes 32 rolls. You could always cut the recipe in half, but you’ll be sorry! Remember, the dough stays good for days in the fridge, and I’m guessing you won’t let it go to waste. But…if that’s too many for you, freeze some of the filled croissants on a cookie sheet before they’ve risen, and then put them into an airtight container for another day. When you want to use them, simply put them on a baking sheet, cover with a clean towel, and let them thaw and rise slowly (approximately 6 hours) before baking.

I know this recipe looks scary, but it’s for the dough, the filling and the icing. And I’m kinda wordy.

Maple Croissants (with a sweet, nutty filling)
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Author:
Makes a lot - approximately 32 croissants. The recipe can be halved, or you can save some for later by freezing shaped rolls before they rise. To use, simply place frozen rolls on a baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let them rise slowly (about 6 hours) before baking.
Ingredients
  • CROISSANT DOUGH:
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 2¾ cups warm milk (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons Mapleine (maple flavoring)
  • 6½ cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon salt (I use Kosher)
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) cold butter, unsalted
  • egg wash (1 egg + 1 teaspoon water, beaten well)
  • FILLING:
  • 3 cups walnuts or pecans (raw, NOT toasted)
  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mapleine
  • ICING (optional) :
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mapleine
  • ⅛ cup water
Instructions
  1. CROISSANT DOUGH:
  2. In a large bowl (a stand mixer works best), mix the yeast and warm milk together. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Using a dough hook, mix in the Mapleine, 2 cups of the flour, the sugar, and the salt. Beat until well combined, then add the remaining flour gradually.The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Cover with a dishtowel or plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for about an hour.
  4. Split the dough in half and on a lightly floured surface, form each half into a ball. Put each half into a heavy plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  5. Bring one stick of butter out of the refrigerator at a time and cut lengthwise into 4 equal slices. Place them snugly together with two pieces end to end on top, and two pieces end to end directly below the first two on a piece of plastic wrap or waxed paper, forming a rectangle approximately 6-1/2 inches by 3 inches. Cover with plastic wrap and roll gently to make a solid rectangle, 6-1/2 by 4 inches. (If your butter comes in the long, skinny sticks, you'll have to improvise!) Wrap and place it back in the refrigerator while you repeat the process with the other 3 sticks of butter.
  6. Remove one bag of dough and two butter rectangles from the fridge.
  7. Roll dough out on a floured surface until it is approximately 13 inches by 8 inches, with the long side facing you. You may have to do a little stretching to get a nice rectangular shape.
  8. Place one piece of butter directly in the middle of the dough, with the short side of the butter facing you. Fold the right side of the dough over the butter and press all around it gently to seal the butter in. Put the other piece of butter on top, and fold the left side over it, pinching well to seal. So...your layers at this point are: dough, butter, dough, butter, dough.
  9. The short side should be facing you, and it should be like a book - with the open edge to the right. Now roll it gently, being careful not to squeeze butter out of the dough, until it measures 12 inches by 8 inches. Fold it in thirds again, press edges gently, and put it back in the plastic bag in the refrigerator. Repeat with the other bag of dough and remaining butter.
  10. Let dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, then remove dough, turn the open side to your right (like a book) and roll each one to 12 inches by 8 inches, fold into thirds, press edges gently, and return to the refrigerator for 30 more minutes.Oovernight is best.) At this point you can let the dough sit in the refrigerator for several days if you wish. The flavor just gets better.
  11. FILLING:
  12. Process nuts in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Add softened butter and brown sugar, and process briefly. Add Mapleine and process until mixture begins to stick together. Cover and set aside.
  13. FORM CROISSANTS:
  14. To form the croissants, work with one bag of dough at a time, leaving the other bag in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll it out to about 12 inches wide and 20 inches long, trimming the edges to make them neat and tidy. Cut in half, lengthwise, using a sharp knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter. Working with one half at a time, mark the edges every 5 inches on one long side. Cut into triangles. This will give you 7 full triangles and 2 half triangles on each half of the dough. Press the small halves together for a total of 16 triangles per bag of dough
  15. I find it helps to lightly roll each triangle with a rolling pin so it is thinner and sticks to the counter a bit. It helps with the rolling process. Place approximately 1 tablespoon of filling along the wide bottom of each triangle, pressing the mixture gently onto the dough. Roll each piece up, starting at the wide end, and stretching lightly as you go. Place each croissant on the baking sheet, tip down to hold it in place, curving the ends to the middle. You can make them "hold hands" if you want. They'll come apart when they rise, but it helps them retain their crescent shape. Repeat with the other bag of dough, or save it for later.
  16. Allow the croissants to rise at room temperature. Depending on the temperature of your home, this can be anywhere from 1-1/2 hours to 3 hours. They're ready to bake when they're plump and doubled.
  17. Heat your oven to 400 degrees. Brush the croissants lightly with the egg wash, and bake for approximately 12 minutes.
  18. Remove croissants from the baking sheet and allow them to cool on a rack.
  19. ICING: Combine powdered sugar, Mapleine, and water. Beat until smooth, and drizzle over cooled croissants.

The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

The dough should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.

Form dough into 2 balls, bag them and refrigerate.

Form dough into 2 balls, bag them and refrigerate.

Combine ground nuts, butter, brown sugar, and maple flavoring.

Combine ground nuts, butter, brown sugar, and maple flavoring.

Filling should hold together when sqeezed.

Filling should hold together when sqeezed.

Cut each stick of butter into four slices. Roll between waxed paper to proper size.

Cut each stick of butter into four slices. Roll between waxed paper to proper size.

Place one rectangle of butter in the center of rolled dough.

Place one rectangle of butter in the center of rolled dough.

Fold the right side over the butter and press to seal.

Fold the right side over the butter and press to seal.

Fold the left side over. The opening will be on the right, like a book. Press edges.

Place second rectangle of butter on top. Fold the left side over. The opening will be on the right, like a book. Press edges.

Chill, roll, chill, roll, chill and then...this puffy dough gets rolled thin and cut into triangles.

Chill, roll, chill, roll, chill and then…this puffy dough gets rolled thin and cut into triangles.

Add filling to the wide end and roll 'er up!

Add filling to the wide end and roll ‘er up!

Maple croissants with a sweet nutty filling

So…I can’t promise I’m through with maple recipes, but I can pretty much guarantee that I won’t need another croissant recipe. This is my best friend forever.

I can assure you, though, that even though it looks complicated, it’s just one easy step at a time. You can do it! And because I’m not out to scare you away, my next post will be super easy – I promise!

Lorinda

Maple Nut Cupcakes



038
If you’ve been following my blog, you already know that I’m a maple addict. I fell in love with maple everything when I was very young, and my obsession hasn’t abated with age. Today I indulged myself in the kitchen, and used almost an entire bottle of my beloved Mapleine. May I just say it smelled like heaven in here?

Not only did I make Maple Nut Cupcakes, I made maple crumbles and hard candy maple leaves for decoration. The cupcakes delighted me, because they came out extremely light and fluffy. The crumble was just as I expected, too. The leaves – those were a bit of a challenge. I know what NOT to do now, and can steer you in the right direction if you want to try making them.

If you like to lick cake beaters, you are going to love this batter. Seriously. It tastes just like maple nut ice cream, and is irresistible.

I used cream cheese frosting for these cupcakes, adding Mapleine (my favorite maple flavoring) to about a half cup of it for painting stripes in my pastry bag…giving the frosting some pretty brown accents when piped.

This recipe makes at least 36 cupcakes – maybe a few more. I have a tendency to fill my cupcake liners too full, giving my cupcakes that dreaded “muffin top” look. If you are more restrained, you’ll probably get 40 much more attractive cupcakes. The folded in egg whites are what make the cakes so light and tender, but also a little more delicate, so I recommend that you walk gently and avoid slamming doors while they are baking, just as a preventive measure.

Maple Nut Cupcakes
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Author:
Makes 36-40
Ingredients
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon white sugar, divided
  • 4 eggs, divided
  • 1 tablespoon maple flavoring (more if you want a stronger maple flavor)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 3¼ cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and 2 cups of sugar together until very light.
  3. Separate eggs. Put whites in a small bowl and set aside. Add egg yolks to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl often.
  4. Add maple flavoring and vanilla and beat well.
  5. Sift the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together twice.
  6. Combine the sour cream and milk. Stir well, but don't worry about getting all of the lumps out.
  7. Add approximately ⅓ of the dry ingredients to the batter and stir until combined. Add ⅓ of the sour cream/milk mixture and stir until combined. Repeat until all has been added and mixed.
  8. Stir in the walnuts.
  9. Beat the egg whites until foamy and slightly thickened. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently but thoroughly fold the egg whites into the batter.
  10. Spoon into lined cupcake pans, approximately ⅔ full.
  11. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center.
  12. Cool in the pans on a rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pans, letting the cupcakes cool completely before frosting.

 

Ingredients

Ingredients

Cream butter and sugar together

Cream butter and sugar together

Add egg yolks and flavorings

Add egg yolks and flavorings

Stir in walnuts

Stir in walnuts

Fold in egg whites

Fold in egg whites

Fill liners 2/3 full

Fill liners 2/3 full

CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
8 ounces cream cheese (room temperature)
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds powdered sugar, divided (about 7 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and creamy.
Add salt, and gradually add 6 cups of powdered sugar, beating well.
Slowly add whipping cream, beating well for 1 minute.
Add additional powdered sugar if needed for desired piping texture.

 



maple nut cupcakes vertical

To make the Maple Crumble, all you need is a candy thermometer and pure maple syrup. I used Grade B organic syrup from Trader Joe’s for two reasons:

  1. Grade B maple syrup actually has a stronger maple flavor, which is a good thing in my book!
  2. My sister had just given me a bottle, so I didn’t have to go to town and buy some.

The recipe for making crumble is the same one you would use to make those lovely little Vermont maple candies that come out during the holidays. The pure-sugar-melt-in-your-mouth candies that many of us have overindulged in, making ourselves sick even after our parents warned us not to eat more than one or we’d be sorry. Whew. I feel better.

To make crumbles, you simply stir the mixture a little longer than you would if you were pouring it into molds. Spread out on a lightly buttered cookie sheet, it dries quickly and can be crumbled easily with your fingers. If you have any left over, it would be wonderful on hot cereal or mixed into a streusel topping for muffins!

MAPLE CRUMBLES:
1 cup pure Grade B maple syrup (don’t try using regular syrup – it won’t work!)

  • Lightly coat a baking sheet with butter.
  • Pour syrup into medium sauce pan (to give it room to foam) and turn heat between medium and medium-high.
  • Cook, stirring gently, until it reaches the soft ball stage – 235 F.
    Remove from heat immediately and allow the mixture to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  • Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Spread onto the prepared pan. If it is too thick to spread evenly, cover with a piece of foil and press to flatten.
  • When dry and firm, crumble it with your fingers and keep in a airtight container until ready to use.
Syrup is at soft ball stage.

Syrup is at soft ball stage.

If too thick, cover with foil and press to flatten.

If too thick, cover with foil and press to flatten.

 



maple nut cupcakesHard candy leaves would have been easy if I’d had hard candy molds, but I had to improvise, using a small maple leaf cookie cutter. The recipe made a little more than I expected, so my candy was thicker than it should have been, making it hard to form the leaves. So…I learned how to get around that, and am passing it on to you.

You’ll need a small leaf-shaped cookie cutter, a large baking sheet with sides (think jelly roll pan) and a candy thermometer.

This recipe was slightly revised from a Taste of Home recipe.

HARD MAPLE CANDY
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup water
4 teaspoons Mapleine (or other maple flavoring)
a stick of butter for greasing the cookie cutter

    • Butter a large baking sheet with sides.
    • In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, and water. Turn your burner to a temperature between medium and medium-high. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a boil.
    • Cook, stirring occasionally, until the candy thermometer reads 300 F. Immediately remove from heat.
    • When the bubbles have settled a bit, add maple flavoring. Stir well and pour into pan. Lift and drop pan several times to spread the candy. You may have to help spread it with a metal spatula.
    • Watch the candy carefully. Once it is beginning to firm, but is not yet hard, press the cookie cutter lightly into butter and then into the candy. Butter the cutter for each leaf. Once all of the leaves have been cut, go back over them with the cutter to make sure they are still cut clear through.
    • Once the candy is hard, carefully punch out the leaves. The extra candy can be eaten in broken pieces or crushed as a decoration for cookies or pastries.

      Too thick! Pan was too small, but you get the idea, right?

      Too thick! Pan was too small, but you get the idea, right?

Hard candy maple leaves

Hard candy maple leaves

The most important part of this post is the cake recipe. I loved eating mine without any frosting or decorations, which – with my sweet tooth – is saying a lot! Whether you use canned frosting, sprinkles from a jar, or jump through all the hoops above, what really matters is that cake. I think I’m in love!

Lorinda

 

Maple Bacon Pockets

IMG_0861Okay, I’m kind of cheating here, since I already posted a Maple Bar Recipe a while back, but this is a little different.

Maple Bacon Pockets are mini maple bars with a chewy piece of bacon in the center. For anyone who has ever dipped a piece of bacon in maple syrup, this is a flavor combination that is irresistible.

They are delicious when fresh, but also freeze well. They disappear quickly, so you might want to consider making a double batch!

Maple Bacon Pockets
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Makes about 30 pockets, depending on the thickness of your dough and size of the bacon!
Ingredients
  • 6-7 slices of bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter or shortening
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ cup warm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • Peanut oil for frying
  • ......
  • Icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Slice bacon into 1" pieces and fry until cooked but not crispy. Drain well between paper towels and set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the butter (or shortening.) Add the milk, sugar, salt, and cinnamon, and stir until the mixture is lukewarm. Remove from heat.
  3. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the warm water, yeast, and ¼ teaspoon sugar. Let sit until bubbly - about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the warm milk mixture, egg, and 1 cup of flour. Mix until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour. If using a stand mixer, switch to a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. Dough will be very soft, but should come cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. If dough is sticky, add additional flour a little at a time until it can be easily handled. If kneading by hand, drop dough on a floured surface and knead for 7-8 minutes. Dough should be very soft and elastic.
  6. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and allow it to rise until double, approximately 1 hour.
  7. Punch down dough and roll it out to a thickness between ⅛" and ¼" on a floured surface. Cut into strips a little wider than the pieces of cooked bacon. Cut each strip into rectangles long enough to fold easily over each piece of bacon. Pinch the edges to seal. HINT: Once the bacon is folded up in the dough, neaten up the sides of each pocket with a pizza cutter; they will seal better and look nicer when cooked. As each pocket is formed, place it aside on a lightly floured surface.
  8. When all of the pockets are made, cover with a kitchen towel and allow them to rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Pour at least 1½ inches of oil in a large pot and heat to 350 F. Watch the heat carefully; it can spike quickly. Reduce heat if necessary to maintain a 350 F. temperature.
  10. Beginning with the first pockets you formed, drop a few in the hot fat. They will puff up quickly, so don't put too may in at a time...they need room to move. When the bottom of the pastry is a rich golden brown (approximately 1 minute), flip each one over with a spoon. When both sides are brown, use a slotted spoon to move them to paper towels to drain.
  11. Combine all of the ingredients for the maple icing, whipping until light and fluffy, and spread on slightly warm pockets. You can also add a little more liquid to the icing and dip the warm pockets.
  12. Keep loosely covered.

 

Prettiest dough ever!

Prettiest dough ever!

Cut up the bacon

Cut up the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Cut strips a little wider than the bacon

Wrap that piece 'o bacon up nice and snug!

Wrap that piece ‘o bacon up nice and snug!

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Trim the edges neatly with knife or (my favorite) pizza cutter.

Frying in peanut oil.

Frying in peanut oil.

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Ice them while slightly warm and enjoy!

Is there anything that I haven’t already said about maple? If you’ve been reading my blogs, you’ve heard me wax eloquent on the subject over and over, and I think I’ve finally run out of new ways to praise it.

Did I mention I could just sit and eat the icing with a spoon, as long as I had a nice strong cup of coffee to go with it? True story.
Addictive little buggers. Betcha can’t eat just one!

Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies

Blog6 038You will rarely find me in the cookie aisle at the grocery store. Oh, believe me…I love store-bought cookies. Chips Ahoy are my favorite road food! Vanilla wafers make a lovely dessert crust. Ginger Snaps really call to me once in a while. However, for the most part I avoid the temptation because I know I can make a better quality cookie for less money.

BUT (you knew that was coming, right?) occasionally I just have to buy a package of those lovely maple leaf shaped cookies with maple frosting in the middle.

I’ve posted my recipe for Maple Shortbread before, and absolutely love those cookies, but this time I wanted to make a sandwich cookie with a sturdier dough since shortbread is a little fragile.  My first batch was a flop. Too crispy and buttery, though definitely yummy (there were no complaints from the menfolk) but not what I was looking for.

So I played with my shortbread dough a bit and think I have found a winner. I’ll never get the dense crunchy texture of the store bought variety, but this is very close, and satisfies my craving in a big way. The dough itself has a very mild maple flavor, with the frosting in the middle carrying the maple “punch”.

I even thinned some of the dough and piped leaf veins on the top cookies. I love the look of it, and will probably play with the dough-on-dough decorating idea in the near future.

Piping dough accents.

Piping dough accents.

Baked and frosted.

Baked and frosted.

Maple Leaf Sandwich Cookies
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Makes about 18 sandwich cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter. Mine was approximately 3" x 3".
Ingredients
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ............
  • Frosting:
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons maple flavoring (like Mapleine)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • milk for thinning frosting
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350F.
  2. Lightly grease two baking sheets. (Or use parchment.)
  3. In a large bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.
  4. Add egg yolk, maple syrup, and milk. Blend well.
  5. Add the flour and cornstarch and mix until it forms a smooth dough. The dough should be very stiff. If it's sticky, add a little more flour.
  6. Working with half the dough at a time, roll the dough out on a generously floured surface. (To make it really easy, roll it out between pieces of floured parchment.) You want the dough to be no more than ¼" thick. A little thinner is even better.
  7. Cut out shapes with a maple leaf cookie cutter.
  8. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of dough with a couple of drops of maple flavoring and enough milk to make it easy to pipe. Put the dough in a pastry bag, or in a plastic zipper bag with the tip cut off, and pipe leaf veins on half of the cookies.
  9. Bake 9-10 minutes, or until the cookies are just beginning to show a little brown around the bottom edges.
  10. Cool completely on a rack. Frost the plain half with maple frosting (instructions below) and top with the decorated half.
  11. TO MAKE FROSTING:
  12. In a medium pan, combine the brown sugar, white sugar, milk and butter. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
  13. Add the maple flavoring and powdered sugar, beating well with a wooden spoon or whisk.
  14. Add milk, if necessary, a little at a time until the frosting has a consistency that's good for spreading. If it gets too firm while you're working with it, heat it on low or add a little more milk.

 

Flour generously. You actually want these cookies to be tough and crunchy!

Flour generously. You actually want these cookies to be tough and crunchy!

Cooking the frosting.

Cooking the frosting.

Add some frosting and top with another cookie.

Add some frosting and top with another cookie.

Now THIS is a cookie!

Now THIS is a cookie!

These are incredibly rich. Two is my limit, and I’m usually satisfied with one. They do disappear quickly though, so hide a few for yourself and savor the flavor when you have a peaceful moment.

Maple Pecan Spiral Bread

Blog4 070My love affair with maple just got wilder and more obsessive. Torrid, even! It knows no bounds, respects no limits, takes no prisoners. There…every cliché I could come up with at the moment. (Sorry, Mr. Bass. You tried to teach me better.) I truly have no self-control when it comes to maple.

Here is a tempting loaf of white bread with sweet swirls of maple and toasted pecans. Toasting the pecans is what really takes the flavor over the top, and is such an easy thing to do. You can use your oven, but I just put them in a skillet on the stove at medium low for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until the fragrance drives me crazy. They’re done at that point, but you might need to test them to be absolutely sure. Actually, you might need to test them a few times!

toasting the pecans in a ceramic skillet.

toasting the pecans in a ceramic skillet.

Although this bread is delightful just as it is, I recommend trying it toasted. Yum! It also makes scrumptious French Toast. Making a spiral bread is easy, and very attractive, but I wanted to try a layered bread because I envisioned stripes of maple pecan instead of a spiral. I don’t know why…sometimes I just have to do what the little voices in my head tell me to do.

Maple Pecan Bread - the layered version.

Maple Pecan Bread – the layered version.

Here’s the recipe in all its glory. I would like to mention that the filling calls for one tablespoon of Mapleine (a maple flavoring.) If you have plebian controllable maple cravings, this is the perfect amount to give your bread a pleasant maple flavor. Frankly, that’s like adding a precise jigger of vodka to a Bloody Mary. Adequate, but a little more is always better! I usually add a bit more (to both mixtures!)

Maple Pecan Spiral Bread
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Author:
Makes two loaves. Hide one. Trust me! Hide one.
Ingredients
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1¾ cups hot water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup butter, softened (you may use oil if you prefer)
  • 5½ - 6 cups all purpose white flour
  • MAPLE FILLING:
  • 1½ cup toasted pecans, finely chopped (please don't skip the toasting step!)
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon Mapleine
Instructions
  1. Test the yeast by adding it to ¼ cup warm (not hot) water and a pinch of sugar in a small bowl. (Note: this water and sugar is in addition to the amounts listed above.) Stir lightly and set aside for 10 minutes. If it doesn't bubble and rise up, try again with another package of yeast.
  2. In a large bowl (a stand mixer is best) combine the hot water, sugar, salt, and butter. Stir well.
  3. Add 3 cups of the flour and stir.
  4. When your yeast mixture is bubbly, pour it into the flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Gradually beat in the remaining flour until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl.
  6. Knead until smooth (about 8 minutes by hand, 5 minutes if using a dough hook.)
  7. Place dough in a large oiled bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm spot to rise just until doubled - about 1 hour.
  8. While the dough is rising, Make the maple filling by combining the toasted pecans, brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and Mapleine in a small bowl. (To make sure it's well mixed, use your hands!) Set aside.
  9. Grease or spray (I like Baker's Joy) two bread pans.
  10. Punch down the dough and let it stand for 5 minutes. Divide into 2 equal parts and, working with one at a time, roll out to a rectangle, approximately 12"x7", with a short edge towards you.
  11. Lightly brush (or spray) the dough with water. (This will help keep it from developing air pockets.)
  12. Cover generously with maple mixture and pat down firmly. Beginning with the short end, roll away from yourself. Don't worry if a little filling comes out the sides. Turn the seam to the bottom and pinch both sides to close. Set the dough seam down in prepared bread pan. Repeat with the other piece of dough. If you have leftover filling, put it in an airtight container - it's wonderful on hot cereal or as a streusel topping for muffins.
  13. Cover loaves with a dishtowel and let them rise until almost doubled - approximately 1 hour.
  14. Heat oven to 375F.
  15. Bake loaves for 40-45 minutes, until they're a rich golden brown. Let cool slightly, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. I like to butter the crust a little while the loaf is still warm.

 

Adding the yeast.

Adding the yeast.

Dough is kneaded.

Dough is kneaded.

Rolling up the dough.

Rolling up the dough.

and...in the pan to rise!

and…in the pan to rise!

Dig in!

Dig in!

To make layered bread, follow the recipe until step #10. After you divide your dough into two parts, roll each part into a 8″x16″ rectangle. Cut four pieces, each 8″x4″. Put one piece into the prepared pan, Lightly brush (or spray) with water, cover it with a layer of maple filling, and repeat, twice, with the fourth piece of dough on the top. Tuck the sides down gently, and allow to rise as usual. After baking, turn them out right away onto a rack. If you let them cool in the pans, the gooey sides will stick. Be gentle, and let them rest on their sides to cool completely.

Cutting strips of dough for a layered effect.

Cutting strips of dough for a layered effect.

Dough, filling, dough, filling...etc.

Dough, filling, dough, filling…etc.

I’ll admit it’s not the most attractive bread I’ve ever seen (maybe we can just call it “rustic”, ok?) but the slices themselves are very pretty!

Funny looking from the side!

Funny looking from the side!

Now I’m imagining the maple filling in cinnamon rolls, with a maple frosting. Oh oh…I barely get the kitchen clean from one baking spree and another is already building. Stand back – I’m going in there!

Maple Bars for Breakfast (Move over, Paula!)

MmmmMAPLE Bar

By now you know that I will eat just about anything if it’s dipped in maple, filled with maple, or has maple in its top ten ingredients. I didn’t ask for this addiction…just playing the cards that were dealt me. So (because I’m so rational) to celebrate a two pound loss at the weekly weigh-in of my weight watching club today, I decided to sabotage myself and make MAPLE BARS!

A truly fresh maple bar disappears in your mouth before you have a chance to chew, which is heaven. Pure heaven. I’ve also been known to eat maple bars that were so stale the only redeeming quality was the icing – which is all that matters, really. That’s where the maple flavor is…the pastry is just there to guide the icing to your mouth.

Even if you aren’t stoked about making fresh, warm, succulent maple bars, please scroll to the bottom of this blog. I’ll show you how to make a REAL breakfast sandwich. This started out as a spoof of Paula Deen’s horrifying video about making a hamburger with glazed doughnut buns, and turned into a new guilty favorite. Yummy and disgusting at the same time!

A good way to use those pesky leftover maple bars!

I found a maple bar recipe I liked on Food.com, and of course I tweaked it a bit. A little more sugar, a little more water, a little less cinnamon, rolled out a whole lot thinner…etc. If you have absolutely no trust in me, (pfffft!) here’s a link to the original. Maple Bars  This is probably a really old recipe because it has you scald the milk, which you rarely see anymore in recipes. They did it years ago (mostly to kill any bacteria) but it can make a little bit of difference in the rise of yeast breads, so we’ll do it just in case.

Grab your apron and let’s make some…

MAPLE BARS!

1-1/2 cups milk (2% or whole milk is best. I added a little half & half to my 2%)
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
½ teaspoon sugar
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
peanut oil (if you prefer to fry them)

ICING
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon maple flavoring (like Mapleine)
Milk

  • In a small pan on medium-high heat, scald the milk. To do this, let the milk heat until there are bubbles all the way around the outer edge, but catch it before it boils. Remove from heat.
  • Add 1/3 cup sugar, shortening, salt, and cinnamon. Allow the mixture to cool down until it’s lukewarm.
  • In a large bowl (I use my stand mixer) combine the warm water, yeast, and ½ teaspoon sugar. Let it sit until bubbly – about 5 minutes.
  • Mix the lukewarm milk mixture into the yeast mixture. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  • Slowly add the flour, mixing until combined. Knead well–5 minutes with stand mixer using the dough hook, or 7-8 minutes by hand on a lightly floured surface.

    Nice, soft, elastic dough.

  • Set the dough to rise in a large oiled bowl, turning once to coat the dough with oil. Allow to rise until double–about an hour. Punch down.
  • Roll out the dough into a rectangle. The dough should be a little less than ½ inch thick. Trim off the rounded edges to get nice straight sides, and cut into 12 rectangles. They will look thin, but trust me…they puff up like crazy when they’re cooked!

    Cutting out maple bar dough with a pizza cutter.

These can be baked or fried – they’re wonderful either way, though I’m partial to the texture and flavor of the fried version.

The bar on the left is baked, and the one on the right is fried. Your call – both are delightful!

If you want to bake them, space the dough evenly on a cookie sheet. cover with a dishtowel and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. They’ll still look a little skinny, but don’t worry! Heat the oven to 425 F.  Bake for approximately 8 minutes, (until golden brown) and move them with a spatula to a baking rack to cool.

If you want to fry them, just leave them right there on the counter. Cover with a dishtowel and allow them to rise for 30 minutes. Pour at least 2 inches of peanut oil in a large pan and heat to 350 F. Drop in a few pastries at a time, giving them lots of room to move around. Once the bottom is golden, flip the bars over. If yours are like mine, they’ll have minds of their own and might insist on flipping right back over. Don’t let them win! When both sides are brown, remove and drain on paper towels. Move to a baking rack to cool.

Fry, baby…fry!

To make the icing, mix the powdered sugar, butter, salt, and Mapeline in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in milk until it’s the consistency you want. (Make it thick for spreading, or make it thin for dipping.) I really like to use an electric hand mixer for this…it comes out so smooth and creamy that way.

Maple frosting makes me swoon!

Ice the bars (if you haven’t already eaten the icing) and leave them uncovered so they can dry a bit. If you plan to store them, cover them loosely; they’ll get really gooey if they’re covered tightly with plastic wrap or foil. My guess is they won’t be around long enough for that to happen!

Barely warm and beckoning to me…I obey.

So…I was watching this video of Paula Deen making a hamburger. She used two glazed doughnuts for the buns and added a fried egg and bacon. If that wasn’t funny enough, I saw her lick her finger while she was putting it together, and then she gave it to the other gal to eat. Here’s a link:  Paula Deen’s Mess  Even as I was busy being grossed out, I was thinking: “now if she had only used breakfast sausage…” Oh-oh, you know what’s coming, don’t you?

Oh, yeah. Slice the maple bar. ADD SAUSAGE!

And EGGS!

And BACON! Over the top? At this point, does it really matter?

A breakfast masterpiece! Move over, Paula!


MAPLE PECAN CAKE

Maple Pecan Cake (with rum!)


Talk about “The Agony and the Ecstasy!” My emotions (that’s a nice word for temper) vary from minute to minute when I’m baking and decorating a cake. It’s not that I’m a diva…I just don’t deal well with distractions, and the phrase “GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN!” has echoed throughout the house more times than I care to admit. I’ve had more than my share of cake disappointments over the years,  though I wouldn’t call them failures since I usually managed to patch them up and turn them into something presentable-if not prizewinning. Happily, there have also been enough rousing successes to keep me coming back for more!

No celebration is complete without a cake, and that cake should be baked with love, rather than selected by its past-pull date at the grocery store. The exception might be a wedding cake; I’ve done a couple of these, and they are a royal pain in the ass rear. I’d definitely leave that for a professional – one who has teams of kitchen workers to clean up the gargantuan mess.

Every cake doesn’t have to be a creative masterpiece, but once your ideas get flowing it’s comparable to what I imagine an artist sees in a blank canvas: endless possibilities! My goal is to make a cake that’s so lovely no one will be able to cut into it. There have been some beauties, but never one that stopped the knife from descending. Yet.

If you’re used to cake recipes that begin: “empty 1 box of yellow cake mix in a large bowl”, you’re out of luck here. We’re going to make this baby from scratch, and when you take a big bite of maple-rum goodness, you’re going to thank me! (When you step on the scale…not so much.)

I love, love, love maple. My favorite treats are those little maple sugar candies from Vermont that are pressed into the shape of maple leaves or Santa Claus. They’re so rich you have to nibble them very, very slowly. One year I made them myself by boiling down pure maple syrup and pouring it into special little rubber molds. They turned out great, and I sampled them. I sampled them a lot. It was years before I could face anything maple again.

I’m happy to say that I’m fully recovered, and here is the perfect cake to prove it! (You’ll want to make one to celebrate the first day of fall, or to serve at Thanksgiving.)

MAPLE PECAN RUM CAKE
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups white sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons maple flavoring (“Mapleine”)
3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 cup rum (or skip this and reduce the flour to 3 cups)
1 cup chopped pecans (more for decoration if desired)

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Prepare two 9 inch cake pans. You may simply grease and flour them, but I prefer to spray them with a flour-oil combination like “Baker’s Joy”, then put a 9 inch round of parchment paper in each and spray them again lightly.
  • Thoroughly cream the butter and sugar together. It should be very light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg is added. Stir in the maple flavoring.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk separately, in 3 additions, beginning with the flour and ending with the buttermilk. (This means you’ll add a heaping cup of flour mixture and mix until combined. Add 1/3 cup buttermilk, mix until combined. Repeat until it’s all gone.) Stir in the rum, then fold in the pecans.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes, and then turn out on rack to continue to cool completely.

Put one cake on serving platter, flat side up. Cover with buttercream frosting. Place the other cake over the frosting, flat side down. Don’t worry if the top is domed a bit – this is one cake that doesn’t need to be level. The maple topping will “flow” better if it’s a little rounded.

Note: The top photo is a 3 layer cake, smothered in chopped pecans. You’ll have to make two batches of cake batter to make it look like that. (Freeze the extra layer for midnight snack attacks.) At the bottom of this blog is a photo of a two layer version topped with white chocolate leaves.

BUTTERCREAM FROSTING
1 cup butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons cream

  • With an electric mixer on low speed, beat butter and powdered sugar together until thoroughly blended.
  • Add the vanilla and cream and mix on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. If you need to adjust the consistency for spreading, use a little powdered sugar or cream to thicken or thin the frosting.

Once cake is frosted, top with maple icing. Ladle warm (not hot!) icing…or pour it right out of the pan, if you’re brave…on the center of the cake top and, with a knife or spatula, encourage it to cover the top of the cake completely and ooze over the edge. It hardens rapidly in the pan, so work quickly, but don’t despair if this happens. You can always reheat it very gently on the stove, adding more milk if necessary.

MAPLE ICING
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (Mapleine)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tablespoons cold milk if necessary

  • Boil together brown sugar, milk, and butter for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool slightly.
  • Add vanilla, maple extract, and powdered sugar. Beat well to avoid lumps. This should be thin enough to ladle onto the top of the cake and have it drip appealingly over the edge, but not so thin that it pours down the sides all over the plate! Add a little cold milk if necessary, and stir well, cooling as much as possible without letting it harden.

 

Maple Pecan Cake decorated with white chocolate leaves.


Decorate however you wish. Consider candy corn, chopped or candied nuts, or (if you can find them) those lovely maple sugar leaf candies from Vermont! I drew leaf shapes on waxed paper and outlined the leaves with white chocolate. Once it hardened, I filled in the shapes with melted white chocolate in various autumn colors. Simple and fun!

The best thing is, there should still be plenty of rum left in that bottle to toast a perfect cake!