Sunday, October 18, 2015

Maple Pecan Pinwheel Cookies

I have a hard time trying to remember when someone actually said that a cookie tasted awful. Most cookies have a flavor appreciation, so the next factor when evaluating them is the texture. Hard cookies for dunking in milk, soft cookies for those that like a cookie on the light side and chewy for those people leaning towards the more candy-like cookies. The candy-like cookies are the typical slice and bake dough found at the grocers for you to bake or already baked up in the small display bins in fast food restaurant chains.

This particular cookie has some chewiness that comes from the filling.  However, the rest of the cookie mimics the buttery flakiness that you will find in pastries. If I had to name these, I would call them mini tart swirl pastries - not cookies.

That covers the texture evaluation. The flavor of the filling reminds me of those cinnamon praline pecans that are an addiction of mine. Also,the filing and the glaze have maple syrup as an ingredient. Sadly, maple syrup could be used in a number of ways yet most people never reach for it unless waffles or pancakes are around. Overall, the taste and texture of these gems does make them pretty amazing.

The preparation of the cookies incorporates the slice and bake method, which makes it easy to prepare in advance and bake some up on short notice. That is always a plus in my book! The recipe makes about 7 dozen cookies.

Maple Pecan Pinwheel Cookies
adapted from the Journal Sentinel

4 cups flour
6 tbs sugar
2 cups or 4 sticks of butter (room temp)
2-8oz packages of cream cheese (room temp)

1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks of cold butter (cubed)
3 tbs maple syrup
3/4 tsp maple flavoring
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbs cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
12 oz or 3 cups chopped pecans

pinch of ground cinnamon
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the dough, fill a large bowl of a stand mixer with the butter and cream cheese. Beat for about 3 minutes on medium speed, stopping occasionally to scrape down sides of bowl. Sprinkle in sugar and beat for another minute.  Remove bowl from stand mixer and fold flour into batter in 1/2 cup increments. Form dough into a rectangle and cover with plastic wrap. Chill dough for 2 hours.

Start on the filling by beating together the butter cubes and brown sugar. Stir in the maple extract and maple syrup. Using another bowl, sift flour, salt and cinnamon together. Add the sifted ingredients to the sugar batter and mix until there are no more dry streaks. Lastly, stir in the pecan pieces until evenly distributed.

Remove dough from refrigerator and cut into 3 equal but smaller rectangles. Let all rectangles sit for 20 minutes. Dust a flat surface lightly with flour and do the same with a rolling pin. Take 1 rectangle and roll out, forming a rectangle measuring 12x18.

Take 1/3 of the filling mixture and scoop out spoonfuls and drop onto dough. Fill a small bowl with hot water. Take a knife, dip in the hot water and use to smooth the filling evenly over the dough. Filling will be thick, but be gentle as the dough is very thin.

After the filling is smoothed over the dough, start rolling dough up from one of the longest edges. This is much like a jelly roll, only smaller. After the last part is rolled up, pinch end and press down to seal bottom seam also cut of any ends that are uneven.

Take the roll and cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Repeat the same process on the other two pieces of dough, dividing filling in half. The cut ends can be used to patch or to seal hole in the dough. Do not cut the ends of the last roll, just push in to flatten, so the edges are not jagged.

After all rolls have been in the refrigerator at least 30 minutes, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Also line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove 1 roll and cut into about 28 slices. Lay each slice onto prepared baking sheets, filling each sheet with about 1 dz cookies. Cover the 2 slices and place in refrigerator. Put cookies on baking sheets in oven and bake until golden on edges. Cookies will take about 22 minutes to bake and pans will need to be rotated at the halfway point.

Place a sheet of wax paper under cooling rack. Remove cookies and let set for 2 minutes then transfer to cooling rack. Glaze cookies once completely cool.

For glaze, sift powdered sugar into a bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cookies.  Let glaze set before storing or serving.

Tips and Notes:
1. Be gentle with the dough but make sure it is tightly rolled and seam sealed. Filling expands as it cooks.
2. As an option, you can sprinkle more pecan pieces on top.
3. The smaller the pecans are in the filling, the easier it will be to smooth out over the dough.
4. Dough is not real sticky, so it does not need much dusting of flour.
5.There were places in my roll that were thin and some nuts were poking through but it did not cause a problem. 
                                    **LAST YEAR: Pineapple Cottage Cheese Pufflets**