Recipes so good it oughta' be a sin!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Maple Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

Maple Brown Sugar Pecan Cookie frosted with Maple Glaze.
What a week! Since last weekend I've been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis which makes it difficult for me to get around on a very sore left foot. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot to do about it since I'm limited in what types of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication I can take. So, we're trying an orthotic and stretching exercises. It's a bit better, but that first step is still a killer!

On Thursday we went to the Fourth Avenue Street Fair for a bit. It was interesting and there were lots of people looking at the various items for sale. We decided to take advantage of the food vendors there and eat lunch. Needless to say I was floored when two orders of curly fries, a philly cheese steak and two lemonades topped out at almost $30. Maybe it would have been worth it if the food had been incredible, but it wasn't anything extraordinary. Still, we purchased a few things at the fair including a Christmas gift for a family member.

Normally, I don't discuss politics here but the end of the week really left me depressed. Recently, Jan Brewer, our governor, decided that transplant patients who are on AHCCCS (the Arizona version of Medicaid) would not be allowed to get transplants. In one pen stroke she sentenced 98 people to death. It is so bad that Keith Olbermann of MSNBC has begun a fund to try to raise money to get these people back on the transplant lists. Just amazing!

Then, earlier today I found out that Pima County is attempting to shut down all the programs that feed homeless people. Citing various restaurant codes, Sharon Browning their "Food Sanitarian" has decided that giving away food now qualifies as a restaurant and those doing it must be licensed and own a "Food Service Truck" (about a $50,000 investment). In addition they must work in a commercial kitchen with annual fees to her agency of over $300. Honestly, I wonder where common sense is these days. She continues to protest both to the press and in her letters telling people to cease feeding the homeless that she has their best interests at heart. Somehow, I really doubt it. Perhaps, I'm just a cynic when it comes to bureaucrats, after all the Federal Government passed a specific law to allow restaurants to give away expired food in order to feed the hungry. Now, Browning and Arizona say that healthy and fresh food made by people who care can't be given to people. Expired food... OK. Fresh food.... tough luck.

Shortly after finding out about Ms. Browning's efforts I learned that Jan Brewer and her Brewercare death panel had decided to stop funding medications for HIV patients. I have a friend here in town who relies on the program (funded by the Federal Government, by the way) for his medication. He now is out of medication and has no prospects of getting more. In essence, another death sentence by Mrs. Brewer and friends in Phoenix. Folks, this is what Republican healthcare reform looks like.

Needless to say, I'm quite depressed by the lack of compassion, caring, and charity in Arizona. I don't think I've ever been in a place less caring than this one and  it truly saps the spirit.

So, while Michael was teaching and no good football games were on TV (I can't possibly bring myself to cheer for the Cardinals today) - I decided to take my mind off things with some baking.

I had some Fisher's Brown Sugar Pecans that I found in the seasonal section of the grocery store last week. They're made by Fisher's. I wanted to do something with them and finally hit upon a Maple drop cookie with pecan pieces.

This turned out very nicely. Similar to a sugar cookie made with brown sugar, these are soft and chewy with a crackled surface. I used two approaches to decorating them. In one batch I used a maple glaze made with powdered sugar, maple extract and water and topped with pecan pieces and in the other I simply rolled the dough in Turbinado sugar before baking.

I love the taste of these. The maple extract gives them a nice maple flavor and the brown sugar pecans finish off with a great praline taste. I used a bit more salt in the dough than usual because I love the little hit of salt against nuts in a sweet cookie. It also helps cut the sweetness of the double hit of sugar and maple.

These are lovely and a great pick me up on a day when it seems the world has stopped caring.



Recipe: Maple Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 tsp. maple extract
  • 1/4 cup Fisher's Brown Sugar Pecan Pieces
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Instructions

  1. In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and maple extract and mix until combined and smooth. Stir in pecan pieces. Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda. With mixer running, add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  2. Drop by rounded spoonful onto a parchment lined baking sheet. (If rolling in sugar place 1/4 cup Turbinado Sugar in small bowl and roll each ball of dough in sugar before placing on baking sheet.) Bake at 375° for 12-15 minutes until cookies begin to brown at edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 3-5 minutes. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 25 min
Number of servings (yield): 36
Meal type: snack
Culinary tradition: USA (Southern)
Copyright © Buck Bannister & Sugar Pies.
Recipe by Buck Bannister.

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