I've been wanting to make these cookies for a very long time. Ever since I first had Trader Joe's Maple Leaf Cookies, I have wanted to try my own recreation of them. Once a month at my work, we have a big pot-luck style feast to celebrate the birthdays in that month. I thought bringing these cookies would be appropriate, since it's also the beginning of the best season ever. Hoodies. Bonfires. Haunted houses and halloween parties. Thanksgiving. Hot drinks. Pretty leaves. Perfect weather. best. season. ever.
These cookies smell like pancakes. Crumbly, buttery shortbread cookies with maple-flavored cream cheese icing in between them. They're awesome! and possibly maybe even a little better than the Trader Joe's original. But only because they're homemade. I didn't have any leaf cookie cutters, but I did have a leaf press that I usually use on pie crusts, so I used that instead.
Maple Cream Cookies
Adapted from Gourmet and Martha Stewart
For the cookies:
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup (use grade B if you have it! That's the good stuff)
1 egg yolk
3 cups flour
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp salt
For the maple cream:
1 pkg cream cheese (8 oz), at room temp
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temp
2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
For the cookies: Beat together the butter and sugar, until light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add in the egg yolk and slowly pour in the maple syrup. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture until just combined. The dough will be pretty clumpy. Press together lightly and wrap tightly (ha, rhymed there) with saran wrap. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheets with parchment paper (or your favorite non-stick method of cookie sheet preparing). Roll out the cookie dough to about 1/8 of an inch thickness. I did this in portions, so that the dough I wasn't using wouldn't get too warm while waiting to be cut. Cut into desired shapes, and repeat with remaining dough, until it's all used up.
Bake for 8-11 minutes, until edges are lightly golden. Allow to cool completely before icing.
For the maple cream: Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and mix again until smooth and spreadable.
Spread about a Tbsp of icing on the bottom side of one cookie, and sandwich the cream with another cookie. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before you do this step, otherwise the icing will melt and become too runny.