Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Maple Cookies From Our Maple Weekend

M. and I attended Tioga and Potter County's Maple Weekend while in the mountains - we were able to visit 11 of the featured maple farms.  It's fascinating to us how the producers run the gamut - one place we visited was manned by two employees whose owner sells maple syrup in large quantities to stores and restaurants.  On the other end of the scale was a small-time family operation who purposefully don't expand and have the business simply to teach their children values and create memories.  Also interesting is the fact that many of these families have been making sugar for generations.  One woman shared that her father's great-grandfather began making syrup from a sugar bush when he came back from the Civil War - her family has been harvesting maple ever since!

Our favorite thing is interacting with each producer - especially the farms that use the open house as means to a big family reunion.  What a privilege it is to have complete strangers open their home to you because they love what they're doing and want to share it with others.  And not only do they share themselves and their passion for sugar-making but their food as well!!  We enjoyed hot dogs cooked in maple syrup, maple-coated popcorn, maple nut fudge, sundaes with maple peanut butter topping, tender pork with maple sauce and maple granola. 

An elderly woman who has been making maple syrup with her husband for decades offered maple cookies and maple sticky buns in her candy kitchen.  After inquiring what she put in her cookies, she promptly dug out her cookbook with a piece of paper and pen for me to write down the recipe - so I did! 

Chewy Maple Cookies

1/2 C. shortening
1 C. brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 C. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 C. coconut (optional)

Cream shortening and brown sugar until fluffy.  Beat in egg, syrup and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture.  Stir in coconut, if desired.  Drop by tablespoon 2" apart onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.

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