Forgive me for being a bit repetitive, but I can’t seem to stop myself from baking almost every pumpkin treat I see on Pinterest. Today, I baked snickerdoodle cookies that have gone through a seasonal makeover with the addition of pumpkin purée, nutmeg, allspice, and ground ginger. Another ingredient I added is maple sugar, an intriguing new item in my pantry I recently found at Trader Joe’s.
Maple sugar was originally developed by Native American inhabitants of what is now New England, New York and other areas where maple trees are abundant. It is what remains after maple tree sap is boiled longer than necessary to make maple syrup. Once the water has boiled away, the solid sugar is left. It was prized for its smooth robust maple flavor, low moisture content, ease of storage and transport, and long shelf life. Maple sugar, a natural alternative to cane sugar, is almost twice as sweet so adjust the amount accordingly.
I love these cookies, and I’m so glad that my cookie jar is filled with them. They’re so soft and cake, just like most cookies I make. The pumpkin purée is very well complemented by the maple sugar, which gives the cookies a delicious hint of caramel. In addition, the pecans give the cookies a lovely crunch. For cookies with three types of sugar, they are, surprisingly, not very sweet.
How about you? Are you familiar with maple sugar? How have you used it?
Pumpkin Pecan Snickerdoodle Cookies with Maple Sugar
Makes about 3 to 4 dozen cookies
For the Cookies
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup, or 2 sticks, unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin purée
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup toasted unsalted pecans, chopped
For the Sugar Coating
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon allspice
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In the work bowl of stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the pumpkin purée, egg, and vanilla extract and mix until incorporated. Reduce the mixer to low speed and add in the dry ingredients and pecans and mix just until incorporated. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with Silpat (silicone baking mats) or parchment paper.
Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Scoop 1 tablespoon (or up to 2 tablespoons, if desired) of dough and roll into a ball. Dredge the dough ball in the sugar coating and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, placing the dough balls 2 inches apart. Gently flatten the dough balls slightly and recoat with more of the sugar coating.
Bake until cookies are just set and browned, about 12-15 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container.
Adapted from Amy Bites.
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