When I think of fall flavors, pumpkin and apple are almost always the first to come to mind. Warm and nicely spiced, these two flavors are perfect when the days start getting shorter and the wind gets blustery. There’s nothing quite like a pumpkin spice latte or an Apple Pie Cinnamon Roll to warm you up. But as these things become available earlier and earlier in the year, it is possible to tire of them before autumn is over. So, I am writing today to remind you of another fall flavor: maple. While you might not yet be bored of pumpkin and apple, you might need a little change of pace, courtesy of these Maple Creme Sandwich Cookies. Chewy, crunchy maple cookies are sandwiched together with a thick maple filling–perfect for your cookie jar.
These cookies are chewy with crunchy edges and a pronounced maple flavor. The dough begins with creaming room temperature butter, dark brown sugar, and a little granulated sugar until it’s all light and fluffy. Then we add in two egg yolks for chew, but no egg whites. Egg whites, in combination with a liquid ingredient like maple syrup, would make these cookies cakey, and why would we make cakey cookies when we can make chewy ones?! Egg whites also give structure to baked goods, so their omission will make these cookies a little thinner and flatter, perfect for sandwiching with creamy filling. Next up is a 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup. This extra sweetener, in addition to the brown and granulated sugars, will allow for crunchy edges. Then we add a little vanilla and an optional touch of good-quality maple extract just to make sure there’s no doubt that these cookies are maple-flavored. Then comes the flour, a bit of cornstarch for tenderness, a dash of nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. The dough will be sticky and very thick. Cover it with plastic wrap and chill it for at least 90 minutes, until it’s firmed up and easy to form into balls. These cookies are small–only about one teaspoon each–since each sandwich cookie involves two of them plus the filling. They bake for 7-9 minutes at 350F, until they are no longer doughy and the edges are turning golden brown.
While the cookies are cooling, make the filling. Beat butter until it is light and fluffy, and then mix in confectioner’s sugar and a little salt for balance. Then add in maple syrup, vanilla, and optional maple extract. That’s it! Super simple. The result will be a very thick paste, much denser than a buttercream frosting. If it’s too fluffy, the filling will squish out the sides of the cookie when you take a bite. While that would still be delicious, it would also be a mess. Cookie-eating should not be followed by having to change your shirt. When you bite into these cookies, the filling will stay intact. I recommend using a sandwich bag with the corner snipped off to pipe little circular dollops of filling onto the cookie. If you are not comfortable with a piping bag, an offset spatula will do the job.
These cookies will keep very well covered at room temperature for up to five days. The flavor and texture will actually get even better on the second day! Make a batch of these for your cookie jar so that you can grab one or two to have with your coffee or tea. They’ll be a welcome treat after a cold, windy fall day.
Maple Creme Sandwich Cookies
makes about 3 dozen sandwich cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks, room temperature
4 tablespoons real maple syrup, preferably Grade B Dark Amber
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)*
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2 1/4-2 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter with a hand mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in sugars until completely combined. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing until combined. Then mix in the maple syrup, vanilla, and optional maple flavoring. Turn the hand mixer to low, add in the flour mixture in two installments. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and chill for 90 minutes or up to 2 days.
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop the dough in one teaspoon increments. Roll dough into balls, and set them two inches apart on your prepared pans. Bake cookies for 7-9 minutes, until the tops no longer look doughy. Let cool on the baking sheets for 7-10 minutes before transferring to a rack to cool completely. Repeat process until all dough has been used.
To make the filling, place the shortening or butter in a large mixing bowl, and beat with a hand mixer on low speed. Once it’s smooth, add in 2 1/4 cups confectioner’s sugar and salt in two installments, until smooth. Beat in maple syrup, vanilla, and optional maple flavoring. If you’d like the filling to be thicker, add an additional 1/4 cup of confectioner’s sugar. If you would like to pipe the filling, place it in a plastic sandwich bag, and snip off a corner.
There are two options for filling.
- To assemble a sandwich cookie by piping, apply filling by pipe a circle in the middle of the underside of one cookie, leaving about 1/4″ around the edge. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.
- To assemble a sandwich cookie by spreading, use an offset frosting knife to spread 1/2-1 teaspoon on the underside of one cookie. Top with a second plain cookie, with the underside filling-side-in. Repeat until all cookies have been used.
These cookies keep well covered at room temperature for up to five days.
1. I use Boyajian Maple Flavor.