MAKES: 3 to 4 dozen
TIME: About 11/2 hours, largely unattended
These are not quite your grandma’s maple cookies, especially if you try any of the variations. Rice flour makes the dough tender and snappy, but if you don’t have any handy, cornmeal, semolina, or simply all all-purpose flour still make crisp cookies. Just be sure to give them space on the cookie sheet since they spread.
There’s some room for variation here, provided the additions are finely chopped or ground: Add up to 3/4 cup finely ground pecans or minced dried fruit (or a combination) if you like. Smear on Not-Too-Sweet Maple Buttercream Frosting. Or contrast the flavors of the glaze; see Orange Glaze or Apricot Jam Glaze and their variations for other ideas.
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup dark packed brown sugar
1/2 cup rice flour
11/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350В°F. Use an electric mixer set on medium to cream the butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar together; add the eggs one at a time and beat until well blended (it’s okay if the mixture doesn’t look smooth).
Combine the flours, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the batter by hand, a little a time, stirring to blend. (If you’re adding any nuts or dried fruit, now is the time.)
Drop tablespoon-size mounds of dough about 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool for about 2 minutes on the sheets before using a spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack to finish cooling. (If icing or glazing, wait until they are cool, then decorate them right on the rack for a cleaner look and let set for about 10 more minutes.) Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for no more than a day or two.
Coconut Snaps. Substitute 11/2 cups granulated sugar for the syrup and brown sugar. Add 2 cups finely chopped or ground shredded coconut and make a batch of Coconut Glaze. Proceed with the recipe, adding 1 cup of the coconut to the dough at the end of Step 2. After the cookies have cooled, put the remaining coconut on a plate; glaze each cookie and quickly dip it into the coconut, which will stick to the top.
Chile Snaps. Substitute 11/2 cups granulated sugar for the syrup and brown sugar and cornmeal for the rice flour. If you like, make a batch of Lime Glaze. Add 2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes or 1 teaspoon ground dried chile, like chipotle, guajillo, ancho, or New Mexico, at the end of Step 2. Proceed with the recipe, glazing the cookies after they have baked and cooled.
Coriander Snaps. Substitute 1 cup granulated sugar for the syrup and brown sugar and add 1 tablespoon freshly ground coriander seeds at the end of Step 2.