Hazelnut Maple Thumbprint Cookies

By Julie Van Rosendaal on May 19, 2016

A new cookbook by Katie Webster celebrates real maple syrup - it's so Canadian, eh? Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup is right up my alley - maple season came early this year, and our shelves are stocked with the sweet stuff. Maple syrup is a staple in our house - I add it to vinaigrettes and toss roasted veggies in it - and occasionally attempt to turn it into fudge This hardcover cookbook is gorgeous, packed with recipes from appetizers to mains and desserts - and of course breakfast - using pure maple syrup in ways we'd never have thought of.

These thumbprint cookies caught my eye immediately - I love a good old-school thumbprint, especially ones made with hazelnuts and maple sugar and maple butter - both which I have in my cupboard and had been wondering what to do with. Thanks Katie!

Hazelnut Maple Thumbprint Cookies with Maple Butter

The first time I made these cookies, I brought a few up the hill to my neighbor Jack, an experienced sugar maker. His opinion on all things maple is as good as gold! He gave them his seal of approval and added that he would be happy to serve as taste tester for any future batches.

Makes about 35 cookies | Active time: 45 minutes | Total time: 2 hours 10 minutes

¾ cup whole hazelnuts (about 3 ½ ounces)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup white whole wheat flour
¾  cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4cup maple sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup maple butter (also called maple cream)

1. In food processor, process hazelnuts and sugar for about 40 seconds, until finely ground. Scrape the bowl sides with a spatula. Add flours, baking powder, and salt and pulse to combine. Set aside.

2. Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 ½ minutes, until light, fluffy, and smooth. Add maple sugar and beat until combined. Add egg and vanilla extract and beat until completely incorporated. Add hazelnut mixture and beat until just combined. Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes, or until firm.

3. While dough chills, place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

4. Form 20 1-tablespoon scoops of dough into balls; refrigerate remaining dough. Arrange balls on a prepared baking sheet. Gently press the center of each with your thumb, creating a slight indent.

5. Bake, rotating the tray once halfway through, 10 to 12 minutes, until cookies are lightly golden. Repeat step 4 with remaining dough, forming about 15 more balls.

6. Allow cookies to cool before spooning a small dollop of maple butter into the center of each.

Make ahead: Batter can be froze for up to 1 month.

Credit: Excerpted from Maple: 100 Sweet and Savory Recipes Featuring Pure Maple Syrup. Reprinted with permission from Quirk Books.

By Julie Van Rosendaal| May 19, 2016

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