My experience with maple flavoring is pretty much limited to the maple syrup I douse my pancakes and waffles in. I love it - which explains my husband's quips like, "Would you like a little pancake with your syrup?". But I have always categorized maple as a "breakfast" flavor (or occasionally "brinner" - as we affectionately call breakfast-for-dinner at our house). So, when I decided to try this Chocolate Topped Maple Acorn Cookie recipe, I didn't know what to expect. I mean, I could probably get used to the idea of cookies for breakfast, but...
First things first. To begin, mix together your softened butter, white and brown sugars, egg, salt and maple flavoring. Use a spatula to scrape the edge and make sure that all the ingredients get thoroughly mixed.
Once your creamy mixture is prepared, add the flour a little at a time until thoroughly combined.
Now, spread out three squares of plastic wrap or wax paper. Divide the dough into thirds and place one on each square. Shape the dough into a pattie shape and fold the wrap around it like we did for the Fall Leaves Cookie recipe. Place the three dough patties in the fridge to cool for at least an hour.
After your dough has had time to chill, set your oven to 350 degrees F. Take one pattie out of your refrigerator and unwrap it. The goal is to make 1-inch balls, so to simplify the portioning, I cut my patties into cubes first. Then used my hands to roll them into balls.
I tried two different ways to flatten the cookie balls. The first was by using the lid from a Tupperware® set. This made the cookie depth evenly distributed, but left more work in shaping the dough to look like an acorn.
The second approach I used was pressing the dough ball with the middle of my hand. I managed to find a rythm that would shape the ball into an acorn shape right away. Any cookies that didn't seem pointed enough, I pinched a bit with my fingers.
Roll a little bit of dough between your fingers to make a thin log-shape. Break off half-inch pieces to attach to the top of each acorn shape as a stem.
Once your acorn shapes have been made, sprinkle the dough with a dusting of sugar and then place the pans in the oven. Bake for 9 - 11 minutes or until your cookies are lightly browned. Remove the cookies to a cooling rack.
When your cookies are completely cool, spread out a large sheet of waxed paper on your counter. I didn't have any waxed paper on hand, so I prepared a clean, flexible cutting board as my cookie-setting spot. Warm up your candy coating or confectioner's chocolate. When it's nice and smooth, you're ready to dip the "caps" of your acorn cookies.
As soon as you dip the cookies, place them onto your waxed paper and promptly layer your almonds to make the acorn top design. As you can see from my process below, the bottom row shows my scattered attempts, but the middle row shows how I got into a groove. I developed this pattern for my almonds: 1) Place three almonds pointing to the acorn "stem", 2) fill in the gaps with four more almonds, and 3) place smaller almond bits in any remaining chocolate spaces.
Let the chocolate set for an hour, and then enjoy your delicious maple treats! I shared my Chocolate Topped Maple Acorn Cookies with my coworkers (so Ryan and I wouldn't eat two dozen cookies ourselves!) and got great responses! Many commented that thy were kind of like a sugar cookie, but had a hint of flavor they couldn't quite put their finger on, but definitely liked (It's the maple!). I agree that the subtlety of the maple makes this cookie out-of-the-ordinary without being too wild. Some enjoyed the flavor of the cookie itself so much that they said they would would make the cookies without the chocolate and almond "extras" for a speedy version of this sweet treat! Needless to say, there were no left over cookies for me to bring home that evening.
I hope you will get rave reviews when you try these Chocolate Topped Maple Acorn Cookies too (maybe not at the breakfast table, though)! Let me know how the process goes for you by posting your comments here. And, don't forget to rate this recipe and more at LandOLakes.com.
Check back in a few days to learn how to make cute smiling scarecrow cupcakes!