Maple Sugar Cookies

In Ithaca Commons, there is a cooking store directly across from a used bookstore. As you can imagine, this is my favorite part of the pedestrian mall. Naturally, we stopped in at the cooking store while showing my mom around town this weekend.

The second I saw the adorable leaf and squirrel cookie cutters, I had a flash of inspiration. Why not shake up the typical sugar cookie recipe by adding a dash of rich maple flavor? And even better, why not form said maple sugar cookies into seasonally appropriate leaves and squirrels?


This cookie making became an all-day endeavor. The cookies themselves didn’t take long to bake, but this was also my first time decorating with royal icing, so I wasn’t very speedy with the finishing touches. Plus, I also made some green tea shortbread (recipe to come!) at the same time. The final products were definitely worth it, though!

This recipe was spot-on. The sweet maple is noticeable without being overwhelming. And while the bottoms of the cookies are crisp, the cookies are tender and chewy.


Maple Sugar Cookies

Maple Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Beat the butter with the sugar until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, syrup and vanilla, and beat until well-mixed with the butter. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt until the dough is smooth.
  2. Divide the dough in half. Place each half between two sheets of wax paper and roll out to 1/4" thick. Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375F. Pull one dough sheet from the refrigerator and peel off the top sheet of wax paper. Cut into shapes using your favorite cookie cutters and space 1" apart on greased cookie sheets. Bake for 7-9 minutes at 375F until the edges start to brown. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  4. Savvy Tip: Leave the other half of the dough refrigerated until you need it. As the dough warms up, it will not hold its shape as well and will stick to the wax paper more!
  5. When you can't get any more cookies out of your dough, mash the scraps together and roll the dough out once more. Cut out all the additional cookies you can, then do what my grandpa always did: piece together the scraps into random shapes and place them on the cookie sheets. Inspired by my grandpa, I created an acorn cookie to go with my leaves and squirrels!
  6. Savvy Tip: If you roll the dough out more than twice, the cookies will be tough. Use the 'random shapes' method for the scraps after the second rolling instead!
  7. The acorn was prized, while the really random shapes were great for 'taste testing' and practice decorating! 😉
  8. Allow the cookies to cool completely before decorating. To ice and embellish the cookies, follow the royal icing tutorial on Brown Eyed Baker. If you're new to decorating like me, she can tell you a lot better how to do it than I can!

Make Ahead and Storage

I love my fall-inspired sugar cookies, and think they can be easily adapted to fit into my holiday cookie selection as well. Maple snowflakes and evergreen trees? Sound good to me!

What’s your favorite fall-inspired recipe?

Spicy Ginger Cookies


Spicy Ginger Cookies. They look so innocent sitting there. Like any other cookie.

Except they aren’t. They somehow manage to evoke both fresh-baked crispy cookies and cinnamon graham crackers at the same time. That makes them, what? Crookies? Cookers?

It doesn’t matter. All I know is they taste amazing. These are so enticing, in fact, that they may or may not have made up the bulk of my lunch… hey, it is Cookie Friday after all.


Spicy Ginger Cookies

Adapted from Spiced Ginger Cookies by Food & Wine

1/2 c butter (1 stick), softened
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c sucanat
1/3 c brown rice syrup
2 c spelt flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp saltSugar for rolling

Preheat the oven to 350*F and grease a cookie sheet.

In a stand mixer with paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), beat together the butter, oil, sugar and sucanat until fluffy. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms.

>Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and press into a disk about 1″ to 1 1/2″ thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Spread some sugar on a small plate. Break off pieces of the chilled dough and roll into 1″ balls. Roll each ball in sugar, then flatten on the cookie sheet about 1/2″ apart. They won’t spread much!

Bake at 350*F for 16-18 minutes, until the edges are dark brown and crisped. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.


Here’s how to store and ship your cookies! 

FOOD & WINE is giving away a year-long subscription to a lucky reader from Savvy Eats. Clickhere to enter and read official rules here.

This post is part of a series featuring recipes from the FOOD & WINE archive. As a FOOD & WINE Blogger Correspondent, I was chosen to do four recipes a week from FOOD & WINE. I received a subscription to FOOD & WINE for my participation.