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! πŸ˜‰
  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?


  1. says

    Too cute. And chewey with a bit of crisp on the bottom, with a hint of maple, sounds really delicious.

    My favorite fall recipe is probably…any baked good involving dried cranberries. I have a difficult time making them because I eat all the dried cranberries before using them in the recipe. Oops.

        • Julie @savvyeats says

          DELICIOUS. And no, you left out the sea salt part!!

          Funny, I made cherry, chocolate, sea salt scones awhile back… it is SUCH a good combination. Bet the shortbread will be GREAT!

          • Julie @savvyeats says

            Great minds think alike, right? I have a feeling I’ll be making your shortbread as soon as the recipe goes up, because I LOVE that flavor combo. πŸ˜‰

            And I’m never one to turn down free chocolate! πŸ˜‰

  2. says

    I need me some holiday cookie cutters! Those are so sweet. I find making sugar cookies to be a few too many steps for me. I can make it through the rolling, cutting, and baking. But, by the time I get to actually decorate the cookies, I’m spent! They turn out so ugly (but still taste good.) Yours look fabulous, such patience you have!

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      I think decorated cookies like this are definitely going to be ‘special occasion’ treats, because the decorating takes so long! But I might make the cookies and slap on some icing or frosting πŸ˜‰

    • Julie @savvyeats says

      Thank you! Though you should see the first few cookies…they are not nearly as pretty πŸ˜‰

  3. says

    These are precious! I love seasonal, decorated cookies. Another fall-inspired recipe I love is traditional pumpkin pie. I haven’t had any yet this season but I’m excited for Thanksgiving next week.

  4. says

    My fiance’s dad made some sweet potato casserole thing last year and it was AMAZING. I think it has something to do with the 3 sticks of butter. I cannot wait for it again this year!

  5. Lesley says

    Food wise, my favorite fall treat are honeycrisp apples! I also consider it a treat when the weather gets a little cooler and I get to wear boots!

  6. says

    my favorite fall treat is one that i’ve been missing like crazy this year: hot apple cider. we were on first-name basis with one of the farmer’s at madison’s farmers’ market, and after that, grocery store cider just doesn’t compare. =/ we have been enjoying some of our 2008 and 2009 batches of hard cider, though, which are delicious…but not the same as a warm mug of steaming cider with a cinnamon stick.

  7. Jennie says

    My favorite fall treat is pumpkin oatmeal muffins! I make them with different mixins, like dried cranberries, raisins, walnuts etc. So good!

  8. Shelby says

    My favorite fall treats are beautiful fresh apples!!! A warm apple pie, warm apple slices, apples and oats–always delicious!! I also love warm pumpkin butter on toast!!

  9. says

    My favorite fall treat would have to be any seasonal pumpkin flavored thing – pumpkin butter, pumpkin scone, pumpkin ice cream!

  10. says

    my favorite fall treat is anything pumpkin. Pumpkin spiced lattes, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin cookies.. anything flavored pumpkin is a winner for me.

  11. sara says

    My favorite fall treat would have to be my moms pumpkin roll she makes every year for Thanksgiving!

  12. says

    favorite fall treat: TEA!

    I am also a BIG fan of Oh She Glows Pumpkin Spice Glo Bites – they are yummy all year round, but I love to make them during the fall with the yummy pumpkin flavor in full bloom!

  13. Laura says

    My favorite fall treat would be anything involving pumpkin, pumpkin and more pumpkin! So far I’ve had pumpkin lattes, pumpkin chai tea, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies, and pumpkin ice cream. Pumpkin is definitely replacing my candy corn dreams as a child.

  14. Rhonda Smith says

    Niiice! My imagination is working overtime.. It thinks it can smell maple sugar cookies.. Pinned it. Can’t wait for the first cold front to roll thru S.E. Texas.