Here in Wisconsin it's been a long, cool spring. This week we've started to signs of Spring. My hens & chicks are popping out of the antique typewriter, the daffodils are blooming, and the strawberry plants are peeking through the soil.
Long before the plants were popping there was another sign of Spring. Maple syrup season. Wisconsin is on the edge of the maple syrup belt. Like coffee and chocolate is to the equator, there are few places on earth that support this product's production. The temperature must be above freezing in the day, and down to about 20 F at night. Sap runs into buckets or through hoses to be boiled into the liquid gold.
The land we live on was once a maple syrup farm. When we walk through the woods, we see tubing and pans from years and years ago. So far, we haven't tapped any trees, but someday we'll give it a try. Did you know that it takes gallons and gallons of sap to make just one pint of syrup? I was lucky to get to watch a sap cooking session this year - with a taste of the sap. It's much lightly sweetened water, almost like a fresh coconut water.
Now, on to the recipe! I promise there's a connection here.
Back in January, I went to a class in Brooklyn for a class. After class I met up my niece and her beau, they told me about "the best bakery in Brooklyn". Ovenly. They told me all about the gluten free items and raved about the cookies. I was hoping to get there during my stay but it didn't work out. Instead, I contacted the bakery when I got home to ask about their cookies. Would they share a recipe? You bet! And, it's a perfect recipe for spring. Delicious nuts, and sweet maple syrup.
It wasn't until about half way through the preparation that I realized these are gluten free. The cookies are amazing. A perfect tea time afternoon pick-me-up, or great for travel.
I didn't have any hazelnut flour on hand (who does?), so I ground the nuts in the food processor. I was about 2/3 cups short, so I made up the difference with almonds.
The nuts are blended with the egg white, zest, sugar and touch of syrup. Rolled into ping-ping sized balls, then rolled in the maple sugar and topped with a hazelnut half. Easy and fast. Here the the cookies ready for the oven. I would suggest pushing the nuts into the cookies just a little more. They look nicer that way.
After 12 minutes, and the best smell from the oven, the cookies are finishes. The maple sugar melts and creates and a crisp crust, with the nutty inside, perfectly baked. Wish you could smell them! The orange zest is a great addition, be sure not to leave it out.
Thank you to Erin and Agatha for sharing this great recipe, and Lauren for the tip. When you're in Brooklyn, stop by and see them. Their flagship shop is at 31 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn.
I hope you enjoy the cookies as much as I did!
To print this recipe, click HERE
Hazelnut Maple Cookies
Ovenly Bakery - Brooklyn
4 1/3 cups hazelnuts
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
zest of 1/2 orange
3 egg whites
Maple sugar for coating cookies
hazelnut halves for garnishing cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until they form a coarse meal; the pieces should not be larger than about 1/8 inch in diameter. Transfer the ground nuts to a bowl. Add the sugar, syrup,egg whites and zest. Using a rubber spatula, mix the ingredients together until well combined. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit until slightly dry to the touch, about 10 minutes.
Using your hands or a small scoop, form or roll the dough into 1-ounce balls. Coat in maple sugar and top with a half a hazelnut by pressing it into the dough. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes, turning at 6 minutes. Let cool completely