Learn how to make these easy maple shortbread cookies that are glazed with maple syrup and sprinkled with maple flakes after baking, for extra maple flavour.
These maple shortbread cookies are so easy to make. These cookies get their flavour from maple sugar, used in the dough instead of granulated sugar. The cookies are brushed with a little maple syrup and sprinkled with maple flakes after baking, adding even more maple flavour to these maple cookies.
Just like traditional shortbread cookies with a 1:2:3 ratio of sugar/butter/flour, these cookies are not too sweet, but have a lovely texture.
What you need to make these
Like most shortbread cookie recipes, you don't need many ingredients to make them!
- butter, preferably unsalted butter is used to make these, but salted butter could work, but then skip the salt if you are baking with salted butter
- maple sugar adds sweetness and maple flavour to the cookies
- egg yolk adds a little moisture to the dough, helping bind the ingredients together and making the dough easier to roll, but can be replaced with 30 mL (2 tablespoons of whole milk). The egg yolk also contributes to the texture of the cookie
- all-purpose flour gives these cookies structure so that they don't spread
- salt, preferably Diamond Crystal kosher salt. If using table salt, you may want to halve the salt to avoid these cookies being too salty
- maple syrup and maple flakes to finish these cookies, adding extra maple flavour and crunch to the exterior.
Use real maple syrup and maple sugar
Don't forget that real maple syrup is not the same as maple-flavoured syrup or maple pancake syrup. Flavoured syrups and pancake syrups are made from corn syrup or glucose that is flavoured with artificial maple extract (or even real maple flavouring). For this recipe, use real maple products that are produced from the sap of maple trees and sold in the New England, Quebec, and Ontario areas at sugar shacks, in grocery stores in the specialty aisle.
In general, maple flavour is very delicate and subtle, especially when combined in cookie doughs, so you should always buy a dark maple syrup with a more robust flavour to bake with.
Since this shortbread cookie dough is rolled out and cut, you will need a rolling pin and maple leaf-shaped cookie cutters for this recipe. If you don't want to buy a maple leaf cookie cutter, you can print out a maple leaf shape online and cut it out to use as a stencil, cutting the dough with a small pairing knife.
Enhancing maple flavour in cookies
Since the flavour of maple tends to get lost when mixed with other ingredients, you can brush these maple cookies with maple syrup as soon as they come out of the oven, and then sprinkle them with maple flakes. The maple syrup will add lots of flavour and act as a glue for the maple flakes, which add both texture and flavour to these cookies.
You could also incorporate a little maple extract in the cookie dough to help reinforce the flavour of these.
These maple shortbread cookies are perfect for making the quintessential maple cream cookies (also called maple leaf cookies) that are maple-flavoured sandwich cookies filled with a maple butter filling.
You can bake the leaf shapes of dough by pressing them over an inverted mini muffin pan to make cookie cups that you can fill with maple mousse.
Maple shortbread cookies
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the maple sugar for several minutes until smooth, creamy, and light.
- Add the egg yolk, and mix to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Stir in the flour and salt with the mixer on low, scraping the bowl as needed so that the butter mixture is incorporated with all the flour. Continue mixing until the dough holds together when pressed.
- Divide the dough into two equal disks, pressing the bits of dough together to form two smooth disks. Wrap half in plastic wrap to prevent drying while you work with the rest. If your kitchen is warm, you may have to chill the dough for 30 minutes at this stage to help the butter firm up.
- Roll out the first disk of dough on a lightly floured surface until it's ⅛" thick. Cut into the maple leaf shapes with a 2¼ inch cookie cutter. Transfer all the cookies to a parchment-lined sheet pan. You should be able to fit 15 per sheet.
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Bake until the edges begin to brown lightly, 13–15 minutes, rotating if necessary partly through the baking time so that the edges brown evenly.
- As soon as the sheet pan of cookies is out of the oven, immediately lightly brush the top of each cookie with maple syrup and sprinkle with a few maple flakes. Let cool before storing in an airtight container.