This has been the strangest fall. Winter came early, I was scrambling to put my winter tires on, but then it warmed up again. We have already had a couple of decent snowfalls, then everything melted. Yesterday I noticed that most of the trees still had their bright yellow leaves. This morning when I woke up to let the dogs out one large birch tree had shed all its leaves overnight. A stiff breeze was blowing and the others were losing them quickly, but that one poor tree didn't have a single leaf left. October is probably my second favorite month in Fairbanks (behind March). We originally moved to Fairbanks this time of year. It was a pretty spectacular and late fall, much like this one. I'm still stunned how beautiful the sunrise is this time of year. The sky catches fire each morning. This morning I stood in my driveway in my pajamas unable to look away. Stunning.
I also like October because it is officially the time of year you can pull out all those comforting, warm spices. I'm not a fan of pumpkin latte, mainly because I like my coffee to taste like coffee. Don't be fooled I still love those flavors of fall. Gingersnaps are one of those cookies that just feels like October to me, and I love to dunk one or two in my coffee in the morning. This past weekend I was making a batch of gingersnaps and I got to thinking about what would happen if I swapped out maple syrup for the molasses. Actually, I wonder this every time I make them. I knew it would take a little more than just maple syrup to get them to taste like maple, also I didn't want to mask the flavor of the maple with a lot of spice. The molasses in gingersnaps can take it, but maple syrup isn't quite so bold. So I adapted my favorite gingersnap recipe and turned them into maple snaps. This recipe does call for both maple sugar and maple extract. I know these can be hard to find in some places, I order mine online from King Arthur Flour. You could certainly make the recipe without them, but the maple flavor won't be as intense. Another tip for better maple flavor is to use Grade B maple syrup. You could also make your own maple extract by cooking down maple syrup. Even if you don't get quite a strong enough maple flavor, these are still the perfect cookie to enjoy with a cup of coffee on a beautiful fall morning.Maple Snaps
adapted from Batter-Splattered and Transplanted Baker
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar, plus additional for rolling
1/4 cup maple sugar, plus additional for rolling
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup grade B maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium sized bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment; cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy (this should take several minutes 4-5). Beat in the egg, then the water, maple syrup, and maple extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until thoroughly combined. Scoop out teaspoon size portions of dough and shape them into balls, then roll them in equal parts maple and regular sugar mixed together. This will make standard size cookies (you will end up with about 5 dozen cookies). You can make them larger if you like a chewier cookie, but you will need to increase the baking time. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly using the bottom of a drinking glass.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Less baking time will create a chewier cooking, the longer time with make them crunchier. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely. Store for up to two weeks in an airtight container.