Maple Syrup Cookies with White Chocolate Chips
More maple syrup flavor and moist!
In our last cookie episode we made maple syrup chocolate chip cookies, which were tasty little devils. This post we move on to maple syrup cookies with white chocolate chips and up the ante on maple taste.
But before we get to cookies we need to talk about maple syrup and what it is briefly. This will help explain why the darkest maple syrup you can buy for baking is best…for baking, not necessarily for pancakes.
Sap from a maple tree is about 2%-5% sugar and the balance primarily water. The sugar maple (acer saccharum) is the most popularly tapped maple tree, with the black and red maples sometimes also tapped. Sugar maples are have about a 40:1 ratio sugar to water so one needs to boil 40 gallons of sap to get one gallon of syrup. Yup, that’s why is so expensive. When sap is boiled the water is evaporated out caramelization and the Maillard reaction begins to brown the sugars.
I’ll let Harold McGee, author of “On Food and Cooking” explain it in a nutshell. (McGee is somewhat of a god in the restaurant and culinary world for his easy to read and understand style of writing of complex cooking issues…not to mention he’s very thorough.)
“The characteristic flavor of the syrup includes sweetness from the sugars, a slight tartness from the acids, and a range of aroma notes, including vanilla from vanillin (a common wood by-product) and various products of sugar caramelization and browning reactions between the sugars and amino acids. The longer and hotter the syrup is boiled, the darker the color and the heavier the taste.”
In New York state, there are different grades of maple syrup ranging from golden color, amber color, dark color, and very dark color. The taste of maple syrup gets stronger the farther up the scale. Here is a link to the NYS Grading poster for maple syrup with the colors defined for your reference. Syrup grades are slowly becoming consistent from state to state and in Canada.
Okay, that’s out of the way, let’s get back to cookies again. We are using “B” grade maple syrup, what is now known as very dark color so the flavor is pretty heavy. To boost that flavor this recipe uses brown sugar, which is not caramelized. The flavor of brown sugar comes from molasses, a strong flavor for sure. When we combine very dark color syrup with brown sugar we are upping the flavor profile since my goal is to get a cookie with great maple flavor without having to use maple syrup flavoring. Of the two recipes this one has more maple flavor even though it uses less maple syrup.
Before we get to the recipe here are three things I would not be without when baking cookies. They will make your baking more consistent and easier. I always use a Silpat baking mat for cookies because the cookies never stick and Silpat mats are extremely easy to clean up. For cookie sheet pans I use the restaurant grade Vollrath 1/2 size sheet pan. If you are going to bake use these heavy duty sheet pans. They fit in home ovens perfectly, they don’t warp when heated, and they bake very evenly. Finally, I use a Vollrath size #40 ice cream scoop for consistent size cookies, it makes life a lot less messy as well.
Have you ever made maple syrup cookies? Want to share your recipe?
Links to Amazon for products mentioned in this post:
- On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen
- Silpat Baking Mat
- Vollrath Sheet Pan, 1/2 Size
- Vollrath Stainless Steel Disher, Size 40, 3/4-Ounce
- 1⁄ 4 cup butter, softened
- - 1 cup packed brown sugar
- - 1⁄ 4 cup pure maple syrup
- - 1 large egg
- - 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon maple extract
- - 1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- - 1 teaspoon baking soda
- - 1⁄ 4 teaspoon salt
- - 3⁄ 4 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup until well combined — the mixture will have the consistency of wet sand. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Add the flour, baking soda and salt (stir them together first only if you want to) to the butter-sugar mixture and stir by hand until almost combined; add chocolate and stir just until blended. It may seem dry at this point – I always find it easiest to get in there with my hands toward the end.
- Drop spoonfuls of dough (or roll rough walnut-sized balls) about 2” apart on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. Flatten each a little with your hand, just to give them a head start. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until pale golden and set around the edges but still soft in the middle. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.