nutmeg maple butter cookies

Every December, I make you a promise in my head that this, this! will be the year that I share a recipe for classic sugar cookies, the kind that you can roll into any shape your heart desires and sprinkle, then ice, glitter and bauble merrily into the New Year and this year was no different. But then December arrives and my cooking dance card is absolutely bursting with offers to fill your internet quota with cocktails and party snacks and wrappable candies and so, so many cookies. Cookies with butter and chocolate, cookies with puddles of mint; cookies with hazelnuts and blackberries or white chocolate and ginger and butterscotch, people. Is it any wonder that I always lose sight of loftier baking goals each year when faced with the prospect of butterscotch-crunched cookies?

heady, delicious maple syrup
grating fresh nutmeg

As you can probably tell, I’m having a great time. I briefly wondered when I handed in my manuscript what I would do with all of that free time for the five weeks it is in the hands of some sainted copyeditor. I shouldn’t have worried, in part because I have one of these, and also because of butter; I am actually biding my time with boxes and boxes of butter. My daily vista is whipped butter, faintly sparkled with granulated sugar clinging to a KitchenAid paddle before an avalanche of flour and spices puff their way up from the attached bowl. My freezer is packed with layers upon layers of cookies between sheets of waxed paper in airtight containers, eagerly awaiting the party invitations that will surely come flooding in now that, for the first time in the history of my disorganized life, I am actually ready for them.

pile of craggy dough

rolling out cookies
little rounds

You’re inviting me to your holiday party, right? Okay, phew. I might bring these. They look really plain, don’t they? But they are a tumble of butter and maple syrup, crackly sea salt and a whiff of nutmeg. They are the exact reason that I cannot bring myself to make ordinary sugar cookies, not when cookies like this exist. There’s a lot of maple syrup in there, which is one of my favorite things on earth and yet I have to retire my Maple Syrup Fanatic Club Card because apparently, I’ve been buying it all wrong. In school, a report card full of A’s (not that I ever saw one) was vastly superior than one cluttered with B’s and so, like most people, I assumed that Grade A maple syrup was the best you could get. I was so misled! Grade B is like maple syrup raised to the most maple syrup power (with math summaries like this, my report cards should surprise you less) — it is loud with the cool, almost smoky sweetness of dark maple syrup and it makes these cookies work. Maple syrup has such a subtle flavor that it’s often lost in baked goods, no matter how much you use. Not here. Here, it lingers and plays off of sea salt and nutmeg in a thin, tender when warm, crisp when cool, intensely buttery cookie. Oh, and I used generic, on sale, store brand butter. Could you imagine what the fancier butters would do for this cookie? I’m almost afraid to find out.

maple leaves
nutmeg maple butter cookies

Nutmeg Maple, previously: One of my favorite pies. Plus, maple syrup in oat scones and maple syrup in the very best bourbon drink on earth.

One year ago: Garlic Butter Roasted Mushrooms
Two years ago: Cream Biscuits and Coffee Toffee
Three years ago: Pie Crust 102: All Butter, Really Flaky Pie Dough and Pie Crust 103: Rolling and Crimping, Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting and Cabbage, Apple and Walnut Salad
Four years ago: Fennel Ice Cream and Ratatouille Tart
Five years ago: Blondies, Infinitely Adaptable, Fettucine with Porcini and Potato Salad with Sherry Mustard Vinaigrette

Nutmeg Maple Butter Cookies
Adapted, just a smidge, from the late great Gourmet Magazine

1 cup (2 sticks or 226 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (118 ml) maple syrup (Grade B is ideal here, but the original recipe suggested that Grade A with a few drops of maple extract would also work)
1 large egg yolk
3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (because it packs more tightly)
1 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt or 1 teaspoon table salt

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add yolk and slowly drizzle in maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be in loose clumps. Gather them together into a tight packet with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill dough for at least two hours (and up to four days) until firm.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. I like to roll out a quarter to half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge. On a floured counter, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.

(I started with conservative circles, moved into ridged circles, then maple leaves and then, after reading a fascinating article about the acorn harvest this year, got forrest-ed away with acorns and oak leaves that a reader sent me a few years ago. Not that you asked any of this.)

Arrange cookies on baking sheets and bake for 8 to 11 minutes each, or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to racks to cool. Cookies keep in airtight containers for a week, or in the freezer until their dance number is up.

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429 comments on nutmeg maple butter cookies

    1. deb

      The cookie cutters were a gift but they appear to have been made by Williams-Sonoma (who sells other spring-topped stamp cookie cutters like them) but aren’t sold anymore.

  1. Suzanne

    These look absolutely heavenly. I just bought local (Minnesota) real maple syrup last night and this will be the first dish I make with it. YUM!

  2. You are hereby invited to every Christmas party I ever throw. Unfortunately, that is zero this year, but when I do get settled enough to throw Christmas parties, you are officially invited to all of them.

  3. The other half asked for “butter cookies” for the Christmas cookie month after my batch of your Gingersnaps ran out. I might just indulge him once we collect our larger pants as a result of those containers of David Leite’s consummate ones I baked last night. You’re back with a vengeance woman!

  4. Well, butter and maple syrup are two of the best ingredients on earth, so I think it’s safe to assume these are going to taste like heaven! I might just have to add these to my cookie baking list this year!!

  5. Sarah

    Deb, from a broke graduate student learning to cook in DC, thank you for providing so many delicious means of procrastination and repositories for my already meager stipend. I figure if I hand in a plate of these along with my final papers, I’ll be sure to earn an A… and if not I’ll be too deep in a sugar coma to care.

  6. You had me at maple and hooked me for life at nutmeg. I’m one of those people who routinely triples and quadruples the nutmeg to the point of tempting hallucinogenic experiences.

  7. Jessica

    Now I know what to bring to the cookie exchange on Friday – thank you! I may add a layer of maple frosting between two cookies to duplicate the ones (maple crack!) sold at Costco. I may or may not have eaten an entire box by myself.

  8. These look so amazingly delicious, that I think I’ll make an exception from my usual baking mode (exclusively from old hand-written recipes) to give these a whirl. Thanks so much for these, Deb!

  9. thishumbleabode

    If you would like to spend New Year’s Eve in San Francisco, there is a place at our table for you. I’m asking each guest to bring a luxury/special occasion food or beverage, and these cookies would totally work.

    1. deb

      Freezing baked cookies — This is actually the first year I’ve done this so I’m not an expert. But I just pack them as tightly as possible in container and layer waxed paper between them and on top, beneath the lid. If you wanted to be extra careful, you could cover the top with plastic wrap tightly before putting the lid on. But I know that butter-heavy baked goods tend to freeze well so I think they should taste great once they’re defrosted. And nothing will be in the freezer for more than a few weeks.

      Cookie cutters — Here’s a photo of the acorn one. These plastic, spring-topped ones are definitely sold at Williams-Sonoma, but I think they’re just doing Christmas-y and branded kids stuff right now. I’m impressed with the shapes, though. There was also a tiny maple leaf in the set but I couldn’t get it to work without sticking terribly. I think it had too many leaf lines. Updated to note: Actually, you can buy cookie cutters almost exactly like the ones I used from Williams-Sonoma. They’re on sale right now. The set is a little different from the one I have but in some ways better — the maple leaf looks less intricate (I used the maple leaf from this set instead. It’s very tiny, like 1-inch and the stem is eager to break off when you cut them. Yes, I have kind of a ridiculous number of cookie cutters.) and like it would work better and there’s a turkey too! The acorn has a different, but also adorable design on it.

      P.S. Now I’m coveting these star shapes as well. They are so delightfully rounded. I have a star cookie cutter but the corners are so narrowly pointed, the cookies break too easily.

    1. Chris

      I made them gluten…dairy free. I used Pamela’s Artisan blend flour and Earth Balance original butter spread. They came out better with an extra 1/2 tsp of Nutmeg and an extra 1/2 cup of the four.

      Everyone loved them! Great recipie…

  10. Every year for Canada Day I want to make Maple Leaf cut out cookies, but Canada Day is in July. Who wants to bake cookies July1? This recipe sounds absolutely perfect for them though. Maybe I’ll just make them now and tell my boyfriend Happy Canada Day 8 months early!

  11. tariqata

    Okay, this is my new finish-term-paper motivator. I can’t wait to make these! I love the look of cut-outs, but never fail to be disappointed by bland sugar cookies – maple syrup and nutmeg sound like a perfect answer!

  12. YEP THE COOKIES ARE FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA BECAUSE MY SIS BOUGHT ME A SET ABOUT 4 YEARS AGO! They never EVER fail me! I love love them – I use the cutters for pie crusts too! Oh so fancy! Love your cookies and your awesome side kick!

  13. joyce

    i’ve never felt much like making sugar cookies, but i love maple syrup, so i’m definitely going to make these!

    also what are these cookies with puddles of mint? they sound amazing!

  14. I love wintertime for the cookies! As a kid my grandma would always bake a ton of cookies when we came for Christmas, I figured out early on that the baklava was my favorite. The nutmeg and maple in these cookies are sure to set that winter tone!

  15. Deanna B

    I am so excited to go home and make these. I love nutmeg but it always ends up being such a background player. I imagine with maple syrup it would be center stage, but in a nice plays-well-with-others kind of way. Would these work as a slice and bake? I am horrible at cookies that have to be rolled out, and I love having logs of frozen cookie dough ready to bake fresh.

  16. Amy

    Maple syrup grades run from Fancy (lightest in color and taste), Grade A Medium Amber, Grade A Dark Amber, Grade B (darkest in color and taste). They all have the same sugar percentage but the lightest syrup is produced earliest in the sugaring season (springtime) and gets progressively darker as the season progresses. Fancy acquired the name “Fancy” because it was desirable to have a sweetener that could replace cane sugar at at time when it was costly or hard to come by (perhaps during the Depression). That’s why the lighter colors have a higher grade. Personally, I like Fancy over vanilla ice cream or on pancakes or in drinks, when you’re consuming it as-is. The darker grades are better for cooking or baking when you do want a pronounced maple flavor.

    I’m from Vermont so I’m required to know this ;) In the Spring, Vermont has a Maple Open House weekend where sugar houses across the state open their doors to the public and you can witness sugar making first hand. But be warned- sugaring coincides with Mud Season.

  17. Delicious!!! I was just starting to leaf through my cookie recipes deciding what to bring to my day job’s cookie swap :) These may have to make an appearance! Thanks Deb!

  18. This recipe couldn’t have come at a better time! I was just thinking about making sugar cookies, but alas, you have preempted my plans. Although I am afraid to have things like this around the house b/c you KNOW I will be unable to stop myself from eating them all.

  19. I love these already. Love the maple leaves–I actually had 20 minutes of panic Thanksgiving morning when I couldn’t find my maple leaf cutter.

    Speaking of butter, you would not believe my excitement last month when Costco started carrying unsalted butter quarters. For $2.10 and pound. And organic heavy cream. $2.99 a HALF GALLON. It’s like the universe is telling me to bake.

    Excited for my school semester to be complete next week. From then on, it will just be baking cookies with the kiddo, and finishing baking this other kiddo for another month.

    1. deb

      Amy — That is such awesome information. Thank you! When I was little and good maple syrup was harder to come by, my mother had her friend who visited family in Vermont every year bring back metal jugs we’d use all year. That’s how serious we were about having the very best for our pancakes. But I obviously had the grade information all wrong. I also like it as a sweetener for oatmeal (we put it on Jacob’s everyday) and plain, Greek yogurt.

      Jill B — Do you mean the glass one? It’s from Anchor Hocking. I liked it so much that I bought the 2-cup too. Total frivolity; I already had glass measuring cups but couldn’t resist these. The triple spouts are great too. Search around and you’ll find it from someplace that does free shipping, I’m sure.

      Meleyna — I hear you. It often costs an arm and a leg in NYC. (My local bodega? $7 for a pound of cheap butter, oof.) I started buying it at Whole Foods when they standardized the price at $2.69 or something. Now it’s $3.something but still not bad.

  20. Cooking-between-classes

    So excited to see a new post!! I know you’re fatigued from your book, but keep em coming–your blog is singlehandedly getting me through finals :)

  21. Deb, you’re so excited about these cookies! And now I am too. I’m totally with you on the sugar cookie topic. Regular sugar cookies don’t get me excited, but this mix of spices and grade b maple grabbed my attention.

  22. Maggie

    These look delicious. I am in the mood to make a sandwich cookie this year and I am wondering how you think these would be done that way? Mostly a texture thing I am worried about….

    Thank you! And happy eating.

  23. Bananna

    Do you think that these would work well as icebox cookies? I have a bizarre aversion to rolling out cookie dough — the cookies made from re-rolled scraps are never as good as those cut out on the first pass.

  24. Sarah R

    Hey Deb/ anyone else who’s interested in the acorn cookie cutters – I actually just found them on the William Sonoma site, they’re just in the sale section under “Fall Piecrust Cutters”. They are part of a set and the acorn “texture” is slightly different, but still cute.

    1. deb

      Sarah R, ruth — Thanks, I will update!

      RJ — They’re crisp, tender when warm.

      Slice and bake cookies — I think these would work just fine.

  25. krystina r.

    Ooh…I always make sugar cookies but I think they might get bumped this year! Or, since you (and my mother-in-law) have been a questionable influence on me, I can just make both and freeze them. And then make Oreos. And icebox cake. And gingerbread cookies. And cucidati….and maybe seven-layer cookies if I’m feeling particularly masochistic.

    PS- Despite having two sets of nesting mixing bowls, I just bought the Anchor Hocking 4-bowl set from Brooklyn Kitchen after ogling for a while. Now I might want that measuring cup… there’s a 3-piece set! (1/3/4 cup)

  26. Kaliope

    It’s been a year since I found the SmittenKitchen when I didn’t cook at all. So thanks for the inspiration Deb! Everyone says I’m a great cook now, and its all thanks to you! (by the way, cookies look awesome)

  27. ruth

    long time reader, first time commenter (if that’s even a word) and i’ve been an associate at williams-sonoma for several years. we have the fall-themed cutters every year, but the shapes change each year too. For example, this year’s set included a very cute turkey shape. They’re actually piecrust cutters, but they work very well for other things too!

  28. Kerry

    They look delicious! If I don’t have a cookie cutter at home, can I just create logs using wax paper and slice off rounds with a knife?

  29. This is a lot like my great-grandmother’s Scottish shortbread, except with the maple syrup and spices added. Press and cut, and a whole lot of rich flavor. I’ve been cooking and baking gluten free for six years now, so it’s been a challenge to really make that recipe work out the same. I’ve pretty much abandoned it and let my mom take over. But…I think the egg yolk may help it hold together a little better than just butter, flour, and sugar.

    This recipe looks great on it’s own, but maybe it can also help me come at my old family recipe kind of sideways with a new ingredient perspective. Thanks so much for making me reconsider giving up on that!


  30. I don’t comment often here, but I just had to for these. The cookies look absolutely perfect, and have been placed near the top of my Christmas baking list. Thanks! :)
    And as a tip for your Canadian readers, Grade B in Canada is No. 2 Amber :)

  31. Jen

    Of course I have an open door policy about anyone who wants to being cookies over! You would always be welcome. And I hope that you continue to have lots of free time to bake and do whatever you please during these 5 weeks! We are all rooting for you and your book!

  32. Sarah A.

    Ok now, I had just convinced myself to go on a fat-free vegan diet. Now I have to make these cookies. Probably tonight. Dangle some butter and maple syrup in front of me and I’m all yours.

  33. My only experience with sugar cookies left me traumatized for life… my beloved husband insisted we should make together his family recipe. BUT, he’s got this little quirk in his personality: he never EVER scales a recipe down. It was my first time making any type of cookies, as when I grew up in Brazil it was not part of end of the year festivities.

    to make a long story short, we had cookies spread ALL OVER the house to dry and be decorated next day. It took us hours and hours and hours working together, and after that I could not look at another sugar cookie for years ;-)

    it’s been long enough that I might make them again, but probably 1/4 of that recipe

    (loved your version with the maple… fantastic, I am sure!)

  34. Stacey F

    These look delicious! I make maple sugar cookies from a Martha Stewart recipe that amps up the maple flavor by brushing the cookies with maple syrup after they come out of the oven. It soaks in some but also leaves a wonderful maple coating on top. Since you’re also a maple lover, I thought I’d mention it!

  35. I can almost just taste these now! I will have a holiday party just so you can bring them over. I recently made maple oatmeal scones..definitely have a soft spot for anything maple…maybe it’s the Canadian in me!!!

  36. Oh. Wow. I’m always looking for recipes that are just a liiiittle bit different from the ho-hum recipes flying all over the internet, and these fit the bill perfectly. I can’t wait to try the nutmeg and maple flavors together! (And we can’t forget the butter, the most imporatnt part!) ;)

  37. Sally

    I *have* to make this recipe. Last time we were in NH, I bought Grade B maple syrup to make the maple syrup cupcakes from the new Baked book, and we still have a ton of syrup left. BTW, I have spring-loaded Halloween cookie cutters from W-S, and the recipe for sugar cookies on the back of it has become my go-to recipe (after trying MANY different recipes).

    There’s also this cookie cutter from King Arthur (of course, I already bought a ton of stuff from them)

    Oh! And through a google search, I found your Williams-Sonoma spring loaded maple leaf, on sale:

    Can’t wait to make these!

  38. The cookies look delicious. I have frozen cookies for years. I layer them with wax paper in Tupperware or Ziplock containers, or even plastic containers from the dollar store. When I run out of freezer space, I just keep the containers on shelves in the garage (I live in the northeast, so it’s cold enough.) When it’s time for dessert, just put the frozen cookies on a plate and you’re good to go.

  39. Did you know that maple syrup is actually harvested in the spring? It’s thought of as such an autumnal flavor- thanksgiving pies, christmas cookies, etc- but primary harvest is in the spring, after sugars have been stored for the winter and when warmer temperatures start the sap flowing. Not to say that these cookies wouldn’t be delicious any time of year!

  40. Amy

    Hi Deb. I have never frozen baked cookies before but find that unbaked ones freeze really well and then you only need less than a quarter of an hour to bake on the day. But, I trust you so much that I am thinking of trying to freeze baked ones. Honestly, do they taste as good?! Thank you.

    1. deb

      talia — I can’t give an accurate yield because my cookie cutters were all random sizes and I had a toddler stealing them as they came out of the oven. My estimate would be 100 1 1/2-inch cookies.

  41. I have organic cultured butter in the freezer and grade B maple syrup on its way in the mail and was just gifted with a woodland set of cookie cutters. And then I find THESE?! I’m usually not patient enough for cut-out cookies…. but goodness these seem worth the fuss. And since all those things fell into my lap along with this recipe, it seems like I’m being called to make my New England hubby some maple cookies. Thank you :)

  42. Jean Marie

    I agree about grade B maple syrup being so much better. I buy the big jugs of it at Whole Foods. I feel the same way about dark brown sugar. These cookies sound delicious. But please share your sugar cookie recipe too!

  43. pat barford

    OMG – these are fantastic! I haven’t even got to the baking stage yet and I can’t keep my hands off the dough. Can’t wait until it becomes actual cookies. These are a keeper for sure.

  44. Nicole

    That sound you hear is me smacking my forehead. I never thought about the packing issue for pre-ground vs freshly ground nutmeg! I made your maple cream pie and was so disappointed by the overwhelming nutmeg taste that I haven’t made it again since. But this convinces me to give it another spin – thanks!

  45. Amy

    I’m like this with a lot of things when it comes to cooking/baking: why make the regular classic when thiiis version exists and is waiting to be tried out?! Thanks for sharing, your cookies look beautiful.

  46. Susan S.

    Um, I think I can one up your maple syrup love. Embarrassing confession: I have, on more than one occasion and in need of a sweet treat with nothing of the sort in the house, taken a few glugs of organic Grade B maple syrup straight from the bottle. (I live alone so the cootie factor is minimized). I am a sick woman ….

  47. Kris

    Perfect timing! I just got a bunch of new cookie cutters as a Christmas gift and have been pondering what rolled cookies to make. Where did you get your b-grade maple syrup?

  48. I love the look (and sound) of these, so you’re welcome to bring them to my Christmas party – but oh! I live on the wuthering Yorkshire moors so you’d better set off in the next few days – and bring that little curly-haired lad with you!

  49. I’m ready for a new cookie and this will be it. I love that slight hit of nutmeg flavor in holiday baking….like, ummmmmm, what is that? Tasty. Thanks.

  50. DW

    I recently baked sugar cookies from a different recipe for the first time. They turned out well, but my mother warned me that if I put the dough in the refrigerator to chill that the butter would harden into flakes within the dough and the cookies would not turn out. I would love to put the dough in the fridge to chill it, as you recommend here. Deb, was there any problem with the butter hardening or do you have any tips on that front? Thanks!

  51. SandyH

    If I can weigh in on the freezing of baked cookies? I have done so for years , in the exact manner Deb suggests. Starting Dec 1, I make a batch a day after work, leave out a few for sampling, and freeze the rest. I usually make eight to ten different types.

    When I’m ready to gift a cookie platter, I arrange it with frozen cookies. I’ve never had a problem with the defrosting of them one bit. By the time I wrap and add a bow, they’re defrosted and ready to go.

    Honestly this is the best way to make large amounts of cookies and still have them be nice and fresh when you want them. They literally take minutes to thaw out.

  52. Haha, I had thought the same thing about the maple syrup grades – finally, somewhere, a B is better than an A! :) These look incredible and I can see why you would pass up plain old sugar cookies. And I am always happy to eat anything filled with maple syrup and lots of butter!

  53. Hi Deb,
    I was wondering your thoughts on subbing some of the regular sugar with maple sugar (boiled down Maple syurp). I know the maple sugar is sweeter than regular sugar, but wasn’t sure how “sweet” these cookies are with the regular to make adjustments.

    1. deb

      Adam — You’re supposed to. I rarely do. Then again, I often leave out my butter too long, so I figure the egg’s cooling properties might be a good thing.

      Heidi — These cookies are actually pretty sweet (it’s why I like the amped up sea salt effect) so I wouldn’t add any sweetness if possible.

      Emily — Honestly, I probably would have just deferred to Martha on something like sugar cookies. She seems like the place to go for the Christmas classics.

      Kris K. — A little embarrassed because I’m sure there’s a wealth of lovely local merchants in the city that sell it, but I ordered it from Amazon. Realized last week it was December, I wanted to make these cookies very badly and didn’t want to run all over the place looking for the good stuff. It arrived in three days — win.

  54. I am sooo gonna make these! I just boought some cute leaf cookie cutters at Sur la Table. I got them at the retail store in San Francisco but I think you can buy them from their website.

  55. pat barford

    Jut to follow up. Saved enough dough to bake and they’re gone already. A new family fave. As pretty as the leaves are though, I’m afraid these will become a slice and bake standard. Quick and easy.

  56. Amy

    Thank you once again Deb! I have been dying to make some kind of cookie in gingerbread man form, but I don’t love gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies seemed too dull. This will be perfect! I’ll give it a whirl on Saturday and let the kids decorate the maple men.

  57. Noah

    I have been reading here for a long time and this recipe inspired me to comment. I MUST MAKE THESE, rather I MUST HAVE MY WIFE MAKE THESE (she bakes, I cook :).

  58. Your description of these cookies is so vivid, I feel like I can taste them. I just love your writing. I’ve been on a maple kick lately, too, but never would have thought to put the syrup in cookies. Brillo!

  59. I’m excited to try these! I’m a Pastry Student and I’ve JUST finished a “restaurant” class. Long story short we had to make maple creme brulee. We followed the recipe until ONE DAY…I let the maple syrup reduce a TAD to much. It was ALMOST burnt. And when I say ALMOST I really mean almost…two min later it would have been toast. Well we had no more maple syrup to reduce so I decided to use it. It was the BEST decision of my LIFE. The creme brulee tasted like the TOP of creme brulee, you know, the tasty burnt sugar bit everyone loves. It was awesome. if you want the recipe let me know. You would love it.

  60. *snicker* “one of these” is indeed a lot of work. I’m impressed you get anything done at all. Is he your Chief Taster? Perhaps your next project will be Cooking With Small Jammy Hands, or, The YA Cookbook LOL!

  61. These look fantastic and I am off to try them out, in a gluten free version for my kids so they have something yummy when they come home from school. I made your Brown Butter Marshmallow Krispies for a party at the weekend, and my daughter overheard someone saying how delicious they were. She came back and reported this to me looking quite proud. I have two of ‘these’ which have that look down to perfection and it was nice to know I was appreciated (even though the credit goes elsewhere, Thanks!)

  62. MelissaBKB

    These are delicious! However, because you said they were pretty sweet, I decided to cut the sugar by a tablespoon or two, but I forgot to cut the salt!! Aaaand I think my sea salt is less flaky than most varieties, so I have cookies that are, not inedible, but on the salty side for me.
    I’m still too much of an amateur to not panic when the dough doesn’t come together, and it was a pain to roll out after chilling (I don’t know how you got from pile-of-butter-and-flour-bits to a nice package of dough for rolling :) I let it come back to room temp after the first batch. This probably negatively affected texture, but the dough was so much easier to work with.
    I used the WS maple leaf pie crust cutter and it worked great on cutting the dough AND with the 8 min suggested baking time.
    I also used Grade A Dark Amber maple syrup and added 1/2 tsp. of maple flavoring. I would add more next time.
    My apartment smells heavenly. Will definitely be making again! Thanks!

  63. Growing up, my mom always did a marathon day of holiday baking and stashed the cookies in the freezer, bringing out a few at a time. Now that I’m living in Europe my freezer space is lacking in a serious way so I’m baking cookies and eating them as fast as I can. Someone has to… Thankfully I can find maple syrup, albeit in teeny over priced bottles, here in Sweden. The stash I lugged back on my last trip from Canada has sadly run out.

  64. Minu

    You know, I love your recipes and I love good food and I love good photos. But sometimes I feel why I like your blog the most is your writing. And btw, I’m an editor. Can’t wait to buy your book!

  65. Kate

    Last week I combed through your entire blog looking for a sugar cookie recipe (and was waylaid along the way by your delightful posts about wedding cake baking from a few years ago–SUCH fun to read). So I’m particularly excited, this morning, to see this recipe up: sugar cookies, hurray; plus I adore maple syrup. Wonderful. Love your blog, love your recipes. Thanks much.

  66. Christine Madeo

    You mentioned above a delicious bourbon maple drink- do you have that recipe?
    Couldn’t find it among recipe list.

    Chris Mdeo

  67. Spyglassweb

    Hi Deb, Is there a way to segregate the commenters that actually made the recipe from the oohs and ahhs and questions? I usually am looking for tips to see how it turned out for others and even when starting from the bottom it is a lot of digging. Love your blog and when I do cook this is where I check first!

  68. It just so happens that yesterday I ordered some maple sugar and Grade B maple syrup from the good folks at King Arthur Flour. I’ll be making these for sure! Thanks, Deb!

  69. Maple syrup is one of the simple pleasures in life. I made a maple walnut pie for thanksgiving this year and was rendered speechless. I also love my granola recipe specifically for the combo of maple and nutmeg. Heaven. Although maple in France in soooo expensive I should probably just plant my own tree and wait. :)

    Happy baking!

    1. deb

      Samantha — If you use a full egg, the dough will of course be too wet and also a bit firmer from the egg white’s protein. I’m not sure why one would want to do that…

      Christine — There’s a link on those words to Vermontucky Lemonade.

      Julie — February 1995

      Re: pie crust cutters versus cookie cutters — This isn’t an important question or anything, but I am perplexed as to why something would be marketed as a pie crust cutter, which would seem to have much more limited use than a cookie cutter. Especially when it makes stunning cookies, right? Thoughts on this? I figure the sooner I get a good explanation, the sooner my head can move onto more pressing matters, like deviled eggs and what I should make my toddler for lunch.

      Anna — The original recipe’s suggestion was to use Grade A and a few drops of maple extract. You could also just use Grade A syrup, but the maple flavor will be more subtle. Out of curiosity, I’m wondering how these would work as honey cookies…

  70. Jackie

    OMG, I MUST have those star cookie cutters! I’m making a dessert buffet this weekend and that will be adorable! They’re sold out online, but they’re holding them at my local store.

  71. Kristen E

    Yum yum yum! Adding these to the holiday cookie list! :) I can’t get grade B syrup around here unless I happen to find it at one of our local farms, which is a total bummer. Maybe I should break down and order some online.

  72. Seriously, this recipe makes the canadian in me oh so very happy.
    Definitely thinking about replacing the sugar cookies this holiday with this little treat.

  73. Barbara

    Thanks for this recipe!!

    How do you think this recipe will work in a spritz gun? I love using that thing and don’t use it enough.


  74. amn

    I’m completely obsessed with nutmeg since discovering freshly grated nutmeg. Can’t wait to try your nutmeg pie and see how it compares to Deborah Madison’s…

    Pre-ground nutmeg should be outlawed in my opinion. Maybe it’s just me, but I never knew what nutmeg actually tasted like until I ground it.

  75. I was totally clueless about the maple syrup differences, and being a teacher, it’s hard to grasp that B is better than(!). Who knew? Since a lot of nice maple syrup comes from Michigan, I’m going to have a look around and see what I can find. These cookies sound wonderful.

  76. I always make sugar/butter cookies for Christmas from an old Betty Crocker recipe from the fifties (before quick foods were common), Moravian ginger cookies and my own cocoa shortbread. They are all roll and cut cookies. I think these need to join the roster — I love maple syrup and thin, crisp cookies and I just happen to have a couple of egg yolks sitting in the fridge. If I can get away with it, I’ll scant the sugar since a few people have mentioned fierce sweetness.

  77. You had me at the combo of sea salt and maple. That’s a no-brainer for this Vermont girl. But the touch of nutmeg and those sweet little cutters. Adorable. And I said I was only going to make fruitcake this year… Thanks for the great idea.

  78. Angie

    I have been trying to find a cookie to go with a Cranberry butter cream frosting I have been dreaming of, and this might be the one! Can’t wait to test it!

  79. MyLy

    There are two people that I would follow through cooking and baking heaven and back, that would be Nigella Lawson and you. Thank you for having such great recipes and as always, impeccable timing!

  80. Dalnapen


    The difference between pie crust and cookie cutters is simply size. The pie crust cutters are quite small and would make very small cookies. I bought the WS ones this season to decorate my pies and loved them. Another use I did was to make soup crackers. Thanks for the new recipe.

  81. emma

    made these last night. lovely then, even more delicious today! the flavors are just beautiful and the salt is perfect. i love them! thank you, deb! i’ve tried a bunch of your recipes and these just solidify how much i adore the smitten kitchen!!! :-)

  82. OH so WS changed out the maple leaf cutter for that adorable turkey! GAAAH! If only I could get the little turkey. I have gigantic turkey copper cutter – and I might have as many cookie cutters as you! I HEART cookie cutters as well!

  83. Emily

    This sounds great! I noticed that you haven’t published an eggnog recipe before and I’m looking for a good recipe. hint hint, I would love your thoughts!

  84. Emily Clark

    Ooh, I’m making these tomorrow! My 5 year old son and I are going to attempt many sugar cookie recipes this December and vote our favorites (if we can remember all the cookies we devour!!). Can’t wait to try them and eat them. Thank you!

    1. deb

      amy — No! I die.

      Emily — I was just discussing this with my mother last week. We both adore it but nobody else does and it makes so much, what would I do with it? Again, I somewhat boringly have had my eye on Martha Stewart’s recipe since watching her make it on her show a couple years ago. She had this evil but delighted glint in her eye as she poured in bottle after bottle of booze and I knew, I knew that it would be the one for me.

      Angie — I want a recipe for cranberry butter cream frosting!

  85. Michelle

    Deb! I went into Williams Sonoma a couple weeks ago looking for plain round cookie cutters (boring, right? But essential). Anyway, they were out. Then I spied the star cutters. So excited and mesmerized at the prospect of a cookie tree, I forgot all about the round ones and bought the star cutters. They are fantastic! And I feel somehow close to greatness knowing you have the same ones. :-)
    Thanks for the recipe!

  86. Have you ever wanted to visit Japan, Deb? I’m hosting a little Christmas gathering for my wonderful fellow teachers over here to share the love of Holiday baking and giving :) These look wonderful, but until I can get my hands on maple syrup, I’m planning on making a batch of the scrumptious gingersnaps you posted a few weeks ago! Happy Holidays from the land of the rising sun!

  87. vivian

    Didn’t read through all of the replies so don’t know if someone else mentioned it, but grade b maple sugar is available at Trader Joe’s.

  88. I’ve been making them from the original recipe (no nutmeg and no salt in mine) for years. I do have a bit of a problem transferring them to the cookie sheet if they are as thin as suggested, though, but I love teh way they look and taste.

  89. Laura

    I wanted to see what Deb coveted and then decided that I MUST have the star cookie cutters to make the cute tree. The link on the William Sonoma site says they are sold out, but I found the same thing at Crate & Barrel. My local store has TONS of them. So… if you must have them, they are still available.

  90. Lucy

    Beautiful cookies, I can’t wait to try them. Would you be able to tell me where your beautiful spice jars (for whole nutmeg) are from.

  91. Debbi

    Grade B syrup is pretty much the standard at Greenmarkets around NYC; personally I have bought it at 97 St. (Friday mornings) and in Union Square.

  92. Susan

    I LOVE those oak leaf and acorn cookie cutters. You even got all the leaves to brown at the edges like a real fallen leave might look. Am in awe.

  93. Any idea how they turn out without the egg yolk? (everything with egg in smells like wet dog to me)

    But I will love to try them without the egg yolk – and I hope they will turn out just fine :)

  94. John Warming

    These sound wonderful and would likely do Minnesota syrup proud. Using autumnal cutters will also add a nice variation aside my standard holiday cookie offerings. Your one cup, three spout measuring cup is something I had yet to realize I couldn’t live without (Apparently I’ve been Drizzling ineffectively for decades). I resolved that in record time though with an eBay purchase for a vintage green glass example of one by Hazel Atlas. In addition to locally sourced syrup, I believe this will call for small batch local creamery butter as well. Cheers and thanks for the incredible work you put into your Blog. It’s consistently the best information my inbox receives.

  95. GLT

    Made a batch of these cookies today. Used half brown and half white sugar and added a tad more butter. It was my first time making rolled-out cookies so had a bit of a hard time getting them all nice and even – guess I’ll just have to practice my rolling skills a little more!

    Haven’t actually tried the cookie but my grandma approves of them so they must be REALLY good!

  96. Becca (she bakes)

    Hi Deb! Just wondering if you’d care to share the brand of Grade B maple syrup you used. I am seemingly unable to find Kosher Grade B syrup, so I’d love to look into the brand that you used. Thanks!

  97. Eileen

    I made the dough last night and shaped a log with plastic wrap and put it in a paper towel cardboard thingy (had to slice it) which I read helps shape the logs evenly. I baked one of the logs this morning. The cookies were beautifuly even as circles and they taste great. The salt really adds a nice touch. I used grade B maple and I do not find them overly maple at all. Would like them to taste even more like maple. Definitely a keeper recipe, thanks for sharing it! Happy Holidays to you!!

  98. Deb – I made this last night, and I was surprised that I didn’t really get the notes of sea salt. What kind of sea salt did you use? There are so many options!

  99. Becca – I live in Israel, where it’s harder to find grade B maple syrup, and since I have been obsessing over these cookies for some days now, I went looking for it in health food stores… the kind they sell here is by Great Northern, and it’s like double Kosher, because according to the note on the lable, the local Rabbinate was overseen by the Chief Rabbinate in Israel. So I think that’s a safe bet for you. :)

    Still haven’t made the cookies, by the way, mostly because I’m looking for the right cookie cutters, because Holy Acorns, Batman, so adorable. But I’m hoping to make them soon.

  100. Jean

    Do you think you could turn these into “icebox” cookies, by rolling the dough into a log, freezing it, then slicing and baking them? I’d love to roll it out and use cookie cutters, but the icebox method is all I have time for these days…

  101. The photo of these cookies should definately be on the cover of a magazine. A note about freezing cookies: Almost every store bought cookie has been previously frozen (even some of the freshest looking ones) – an industry secret.

  102. Love the cookies, the cutters (the ones you linked to just went on my Amazon Wishlist), and the info on syrup grades. It’s funny, but the grade A versus B is similar with vanilla beans. Although Grade A beans are prettier, you want Grade B for extracts and baking because they have a lower moisture content and therefore you get get more vanilla goodness per pound.

    I’d also be delighted to see an eggnog recipe and one for cranberry buttercream frosting!

  103. I did make these, pretty much as written, with the sugar scanted to 7/8 cup. They baked up thin and crisp — just the way I like cookies. I liked them a lot, found them a nice change from the sugar-butter cookies we make every year (I’ll have to make those, too, because some members of the family never want anything changed). They were plenty sweet with the scanted sugar. @Jen: I found that a lot of the nutmeg flavor bakes out of the cookies — the dough smells strongly of nutmeg when it is raw, but I don’t get a heavy hit of nutmeg when eating a cookie.

  104. I made these last night using a nice dark maple syrup and they’re totally delicious. Once they had cooled I just threw them all into a heavy-duty Ziplock freezer bag (I made really tiny cookies, otherwise I usually stack them in the freezer bag) and when I thawed some out today to eat them, they were perfect. So they definitely freeze well and with very little effort. And are totally delicious :)

  105. I made these last night (minus the nutmeg) and they are wonderful! I’m not a huge nutmeg fan so I just left it out. The cookies are amazing anyway! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    I made tiny maple leaves (the Williams-Sonoma pie crust cutter ones), then I got fed up because the cutter was so small and it was taking forever to roll out all the dough. So I switched over to TIE fighters and Millennium Falcons. :) [these were also from Williams-Sonoma, but were sold in a metal lunch box as sandwich cutters. I saw no reason to use them that way, but thought they would make excellent cookie cutters, which they do!]

  106. Val

    Woman, you are a GODDESS! These cookies are easy to bake with kids and taste so not boring like the old, dry, flavorless sugar cookies we usually make (and I give away because I so don’t like the taste). Thank you, and thank you for the maple syrup revelation.

  107. Deb, do you think these would ship well, or are they a bit too brittle? I’m sending a Christmas package to my family on the East Coast and I haven’t yet decided on a cookie to include. These look delicious, but I’m not sure if they’d hold up well in the mail.

  108. MelissaBKB

    I wanted to add that the maple flavor on mine really deepened after a couple of days (ie, they get more delicious!). I said before that I would add more than the 1/2 tsp maple flavoring (to my Grade A syrup), but now I wouldn’t change it at all if I were making these ahead of time. However, I *would* bump up the extract if I were serving them the same day. I’m going to make these again – correctly this time – and report back. I might try the honey version everyone keeps talking about too :)

  109. Yummy, yummy, yummy!!! They just came out of the oven and are fantastic. I have tried a lot of different cookies this week to try to find the perfect cookie for my cookie exchange tomorrow and I am so glad that I have finally found it! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

  110. here’s the trouble with these amazing looking cookies. i always want my christmas cookies frosted, but with an amazing flavor like this, these don’t need it! what to doooo!

  111. Janelle

    I love this blog and have had blissful luck with every recipe I’ve tried, so thanks to you from my family and I for that. I had to leave a comment because I made this cookie dough this morning and I can’t even say how they are baked because I can’t stop eating the batter (hangs head in mock shame). But, so far…they’re delicious!

  112. Jennie

    I had to wait till today to make these with the kids. And they were fantastic! Love the balance of maple flavor with the salt. A grown up version of boring sugar cookies. No need to decorate or cover with icing they are perfect just the way they are. They will be a keeper in my books and I too would love to try a honey version.

  113. Landon

    Silly question – I don’t have a Kitchen Aid mixer or even one of those hand mixers. Can I still make these cookies by hand, or will it not turn out very well?

  114. Tess

    I just made your cookies and they are delicious indeed! I used carob juice extract instead of maple syrup (hard to come by where I live) and it worked just fine. The combination with nutmeg and salt are a real strike of genius. Thank you!

  115. Haha! “Maple syrup raised to the most maple syrup power” really made me laugh :P These sound absolutely lovely, and I don’t blame you for casting aside plain old sugar cookies in their favor ;)

  116. elizabeth

    These cookies look great!

    To solve the problem of too much eggnog (really, can this ever be a problem?) I recently found a recipe for single serving eggnog from Joy of Cooking circa 1964. It has changed my life.

    1 egg
    1 TBS sugar
    1/4 c cream
    1/4- 1/8 c booze

    Separate egg. Beat yolk until thick and light. Beat in sugar. Stir in cream and booze. Whip whites to soft peaks, fold in. I use a little less sugar, add some vanilla and grate some nutmeg on top. Depending on my mood, I sometimes sub in some milk for the booze, about a 1/16 of a cup of alcohol per serving gives it the perfect flavor without being significantly alcoholic. If you prefer, you can cook the ingredients for custard style eggnog and it works just fine too.

  117. Marcia

    Deb! Made these and can’t stop eating them,hot cold crispy, burned! Soooo easy and they be the only other cookie besides my Bubbies Ruggalach I will make, both no fuss no muss! Thanks so much

  118. these. are. incredible. I did not have nutmeg to freshly grate but with preground they still came out great. I used grey Celtic sea salt and super dark syrup. I agree they need no topping but my 4 year old insisted on sprinkles… so some raw sugar on top. These will be a an old standby, I can just tell. Thank you. Seriously.

  119. Finally got around to making these. I halved the recipe (except the egg yolk and fresh nutmeg), SO good! Thank you also for the hint on Grade B maple syrup, I will be buying that when we run out of the Grade A that we have, which will be soon with this recipe around! :-)

  120. Becca (she bakes)

    1 gallon of kosher grade B maple syrup, ordered from amazon. BEST DAY EVER. Can’t wait to make the cookies (and um, drink it straight). Thanks Deb!

  121. Victoria

    I always make a variety of cookies for the Holidays. This year I tackled 9 different ones, but, had to add one more when I came across this recipe. It was fantastic! I had snowflake cookie cutters and used that. Also, brushed buttermilk on top and sprinkled white sugar. Made them glitter! Thank you so much for your blogs and your amazing recipes.

  122. Amy

    Just made without the nutmeg and they are so good. I made them with my 3 year old son and junked a few of them up with sprinkles, icing, etc. for him. I’m eating the plain ones myself.

  123. Regina

    I just made some of these yummy cookies today. I made them gluten free and wow, they definitely don’t disappoint! I couldn’t find any grade B maple syrup at my local store yesterday, so I made do with grade A and some extract. I plan to try an almond version of it tomorrow. I can’t wait!

    Also, I made your pumpkin muffins this morning in a whoopie pie version with some spiced cream cheese frosting as a breakfast treat for my husband and daughter and they were phenomenal as well. I can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thanks for all you do!

  124. Regina

    Sorry, I forgot to add that I used Williams Sonoma cup for cup gluten free flour for the gluten free versions of both recipes, but I bet a blend with brown rice would be even nuttier. I’ll try that put with my next batch and let you gluten free guys know. :)

  125. Smittenkittens14

    I attempted these yesterday – 1st batch I burned really badly – Preheat over to 350 degrees, what temp is that in degrees Celsius rather than Fahrenheit? I made a second batch which did turn out better i.e. not burned!!! however i think they may have been a little thin!!! Still extremely tasty!!! I still have half of the dough left, so i’ll attempt them again…3rd time lucky an all that!!! I have to say though I have never made something so simple, I had never made cookie dough before, I was surprised to see how easy it was!!!

    1. deb

      350 in Fahrenheit is 180 in Celsius. These cookies are thin and brown quickly so definitely keep an eye on them early. (I suggest checking in at 8 minutes but mine really took 11 to bake.)

      Hi Hilary — Thank you. The book will be out in early September 2012. There was some talk about getting it up for pre-order before this Christmas (which, I know, is insanely early but many people had asked and we want to make everyone happy). I promise to make a quiet mention of this if it happens this week.

  126. katy

    I made seven varieties of cookies this weekend, and these were by far the best! I’m so glad I saw this post before I went grocery shopping.

  127. Joy in DC

    As a big fan of maple, I loved these cookies. I added a few drops of maple extract to the Grade A amber syrup per the recipe (figured I’d finish the syrup in my fridge rather than buy new Grade B). Also, I cut the sugar to a heaping 1/2 cup because I added sanding/glitter sugar (so they look “holiday-ee”) to the top of the cookies for decoration (and didn’t want them to be overly sweet). The cookies worked well, and think they tasted even more maple-y on day two. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  128. Really lovely flavor but my dough is super crumbly and it’s not rolling out. I’ve made sort of ugly little blobs with what I can piece together. Tastes great … but any suggestions on what to do about the crumbly factor?

  129. These cookies passed the acid test: my brother was visiting and I asked him to try one, saying they were like our usual sugar and butter cookies, but a little different. He looked like I was trying to poison him but he tried one, chewed it slowly and then said, “I think these are even better than the usual ones.” I think so, too. Mom is holding out for the all sugar cookies though.

  130. Tovah

    I followed the recipe exactly and they are perfect. I bought French butter on your recommendation; wasn’t sure it would make much difference but HOLY MOLY it does.

  131. Shelly

    These are fantastic. I made them last night and refrigerated the dough for almost 24 hours (for scheduling reasons). It was too hard to roll out when I first took it out, so I did let it sit for a bit on the counter. I used some Hannukah cookie cutters :) and they are delicious and made the house smell amazing.

  132. sb

    Hi! This might be a silly question but did you bake these one cookie sheet at a time? I usually don’t make cookies and am not sure if you can bake 2 sheets at a time or if that affects the outcome. Thanks! Can’t wait to make these…

  133. Chris

    I also ended up with dough that was so crumbly I couldn’t roll it. Maybe I over worked it? First time in my life I’ve had this problem, so I will definitely try again. However, I used a melon baller to scoop little cookies out and baked them – I was calling them failure cookies, but everyone agreed it wasn’t a failure at all. Thanks for a great recipe I will try again.

  134. curly_cook

    I just finished a batch of these and somehow they turned out very hard — the texture seems off. Do you have any idea what could have caused this? (I thought I was being careful not to overwork the dough…I did bake them a little longer than the recipe called for, though, because the edges weren’t taking on a golden color). Thanks!

    1. deb

      curly_cook — The extra time might have done it. They’re crisp cookies to begin with a few more minutes could indeed make them hard. Not all ovens brown cookies well; I forget this sometimes.

  135. Kathryn

    Wow they look good I love try new and different cookie recipes. Have you ever tried a checkerboard cookies there a fun cookie to make.

  136. Kris

    These turned out awesome for me; the second batch is in the oven right now. I used regular maple syrup the first time, now I’m trying it with the B grade. (Anyone who’s in FL or thereabouts, Publix DOES carry it, you just have to squint real hard at the syrup aisle.) For those who are having super-crumbly dough – back off on the flour just a touch, like maybe a scant 1/4 cup, to account for the flour on the rolling sheet.

  137. Kristen S.

    I made these as slice and bakes and they turned out great. I cut them about 1/4 inch thick and baked for 11 minutes. Might add walnuts next time. Thanks for all the great recipes!

  138. Anne

    Hello Deb. I have some maple syrup here which does not specify the grade. it’s just some MrsButterworth’s maple syrup. do you think i can try this recipe with this? thank for your advice.

  139. curly_cook

    deb — Thanks! I froze half of the dough to bake up for our family’s New Year’s celebration, so I will take them out of the oven earlier this time, and see if that helps! :)

  140. Oh if I only could get my hands on those oak leaf and acorn cookie cutters you have! my mother is a forester (mostly Oregon White Oak) and these would be SO perfect. Thanks for this recipe. I put nutmeg in almost anything this time of year: Swiss Chard Tart, on eggnog, with roasted squash. . . ..

  141. Corby

    These are some of the most flavorful cookies I’ve ever made! I don’t think the Grade A/Grade B syrup makes much of a difference, but I wouldn’t use Log Cabin or anything like that for this recipe. The maple flavor is dominant here.

    I made my first batch and cooked them for 11 minutes. The second batch was in for only 10 and it seems that one minute less really made them deliciously softer.

    The Williams-Sonoma Christmas pie crust cutters work well for this, too. The reindeer was a bit challenging in that it was very fragile, but the Christmas tree, snowflake and sleigh were very easy to handle.

  142. Soja

    Deb, your recipes are just excellent! I haven’t gone wrong with none of them and I made quite a lot! Just finished these cookies and they came out delicious! I think I am your biggest fan in Hungary besides my family!

  143. These cookies are fantastic in a classic, simple ingredient sort of way. The purity of the ingredients take center stage. They are easy to roll and cut out easily. I will admit that my teen children are less overwhelmed than I am, but I am hopeful they will come around to the beauty of an unadulterated, chocolate-free, holiday standard. I wish all cookies could be this simple and real. Thank you for all of your recipe inspirations and your gorgeous photos and lively text.

  144. Liz

    I just baked these tonight, using Grade A Medium syrup, without the extract, and they are absolutely delicious and still mapley. I wanted to comment because I made them slice-and-bake style and it was quite successful. They were a bit crumbly when I rolled them last night and tended to fall apart as I sliced them today, so I just cut them extra thick and flattened them out a bit with the heel of my hand to make sure they held together. Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

  145. Anne

    These are damn good butter cookies! I just made a batch and even though I overmixed the dough (so they’re not as tender)…the flavor ROCKS! One of those recipes you save for when you want to impress for sure.

  146. Made these last night. Very yummy and easy. The salt certainly adds an extra oomph! I didn’t get much maple flavour or aroma from mine tho. Will try to look for the maple extract – think it’ll help.

  147. Eileen

    Posting about these cookies again. We love them. I am making them for the third time since you posted the recipe! Bonus for me, I was pining over your spring cookie cutters and while looking though an upper cabinet in our apartment, I found that I had the same cookie/pie dough cutters. I guess I bought them out the outlet a few years back and forgot about them.

  148. Katha

    omg these are divine… just perfect. I normally dont like sugar cookies cause they just dont taste like anything. but these… WOW… im lost for words. needs more is all i can say. though this dough yields millions of cookies (with just one egg yoke). I think i stopped counting after 70 ~3/4inch cookies. om nom. thank you so much. you are my personal hero. any recipe ive tried was just delicious (and we re still eating the garlic mushrooms from last year … in fact they are on the christmas menu :) )

  149. I’ve never been a fan of sugar cookies, they just never had enough flavour or pizzazz to satisfy me, and as I’m not a big fan of any icing other than cream cheese, I couldn’t even appreciate them for being a vehicle for the sugar paste that passes for royal icing.

    I’ve just made the cookie dough for these, though, and as I’m wrapping them to refrigerate, I can’t help but appreciate the rich smell! I really hope they taste as wonderful as they smell, because otherwise I’ll just have to stick with kick-you-in-the-face-spicy-gingerbread (aka the kind I’ve always loved and made every year – just sans the black pepper).

    Thanks for the recipe!

  150. These are GREAT. Neither the maple nor the nutmeg overwhelms and we can’t stop eating them! These created a bit of a baking snowball, sadly. One leftover egg white meant I should make your marshmallows . . . but then I had an extra yolk left so I made your 7-egg pasta dough . . . and then I had all those egg whites so I made more marshmallows and butter cookies.

    Basically, my pants don’t fit and I’m kind of mad at you now. ;)

  151. Deb:
    It’s been a long time!
    I just saw your parents the other night when I was in town. Your mom told me about your blog and I had to check it out because I love to cook. SK is incredible! The photos… the recipes… the writing… It’s wonderful. I can’t wait to return to it again and again for new recipes. Your cookbook is sure to be as much of a success as your blog. Congratulations. You should be very proud of yourself.
    Hope you & your family are doing well.
    My best,

    1. deb

      If you’re having trouble rolling these cookies out because they seem too crumbly — Just let the dough warm up a bit. The thing is, butter doughs always seem more moist as they warm up because the butter softens and eventually becomes melty — i.e. a liquid not a solid. Of course, you don’t want the dough hot. But you should absolutely find that the dough seems less crumbly as it softens up a bit. I hope that helps.

      Stacey — So wonderful to hear from you! And thank you.

      Heather — Best comment. Best.

  152. Marina

    :( These didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped. Not in terms of flavor/the delicious aroma wafting from the oven, or even texture once they are baked-but I found the dough incredibly hard to work with, going from dry and crumbly to way too sticky. Any thoughts on why? Maybe I didn’t let it chill long enough?

  153. SW Knudsen

    These are our new favorite cookie right now – when they came out of the oven, they smelled like pancakes, to which my boyfriend gleefully proclaimed “oh my god…you’ve made breakfast cookies!”

  154. Marcia

    So today I started with two batches of this dough- found MAPLE LEAF cutters- big and small so I have some leaves with a smaller one cut out of it! I just think these are the best

  155. Stacey

    I haven’t baked these yet, as the dough is chilling, but the dough is delicious. I can’t wait to bake them and eat them later today!

  156. LizaK

    Hi Deb, I made these and the gingersnaps last night. They both rock!!! These are delicious and beautiful, and when left in the oven couple minutes longer, become intensely maple. I love them! I love the gingersnaps too. They’re packed with flavor. Just packed! :) Thank you so much for your recipes! And happy holidays!!:)

  157. tariqata

    I have these in the oven right now. I decided to make them a bit thicker and bake a minute or so longer (closer to 1/4″ than 1/8″, baked for 12 minutes), because I like thicker, chewier cookies, and they are delicious. The maple flavour and the nutmeg are subtle at first, but they ramp up in a lovely way!

    These cookies – along with these citrus-brown sugar ones (highly recommended if you want a cut-out cookie to decorate), and your spicy gingerbread – are going to be permanent additions to my holiday baking.

  158. Sara

    I had the same experience as ohter posters. crumbly, hard to work with dough. Dough that tastes amazing, and will hopefully make delicious oddly shaped flattened out dough balls. But forget being able to roll this dough out or cut out shapes.

  159. Sarah

    Made these today and they were absolutely delicious! The subtle flavors of the maple and nutmeg are great and unexpected from the usual cookie. Thanks for another great recipe Deb. :)

  160. Tracy

    I was glad to see Amy chimed in above about maple syrups. We lived in VT for a summer and I learned all about it too. Mostly, the takeaway is that there is no overall “better” maple syrup…it depends on what you’re making. Grade B is definitely what people use for baking and cooking because the A’s subtlety gets lost under heat. Some people prefer the other grades (fancy, A light, A medium, A dark, etc.) for pouring over pancakes, into coffee, over ice cream, etc. Totally a personal choice, not a test you can fail! :) We always have a few different grades at home for different needs/moods.

    By the way, my holdover recipe from that summer was what I called “Vermont Salad,” which came almost entirely from the farmers’ market. Dressing was extra-virgin olive oil, a heftier than usual amount of red wine vinegar, and an equally hefty amount of grade B maple syrup, plus kosher salt and fresh pepper. The vinegar and the maple syrup are perfect together. In the salad: local mixed greens (with some bite because the dressing coats well and is sweeter), shaved raw leeks, pecans (either caramelized with sugar or with sugar and cayenne, depending on your mood, cooled for a bit), caramelized apples (crispy ones, like Paula Reds if it’s late summer, also cooled a bit), grilled sausages from the market (still hot), and fresh chevre in little dollops. I’m not a huge goat cheese person (too trendy), but here it worked really well against the kickier leeks and greens and spicier sausage and/or nuts. Overall, salty, sweet, tangy, spicy, crunchy, smooth. Mmm. It needs to get tossed right at the end so the warmer ingredients don’t over-wilt, but most of the components can get prepped earlier. And, of course, ingredients vary based on what I can find now that I’m not living in VT during the summer…What makes it the VT salad, though, is that grade B deliciousness in the dressing. Thought you might want to play if you’ve never taken syrup there. :)

  161. Menaka Mohan

    These were a smash at my office cookie exchange! I used squirrel cut outs and maple leaves. They are delicious and not too sweet. Thanks for the recipe!

  162. dear deb (in new york),

    you did not warn us all about how utterly addictive these would be. they turned out beautifully and wow. i can’t stop. eating. them.

    happy holidays and thanks for a great recipe!

    deb (in philly)

  163. Michele

    I just finished making these. My house smells amazing and they came out perfect. I followed the recipe, except I used powdered sugar and no egg (kiddo allergies). They’re all layered in the freezer waiting for their debut Christmas Eve.

  164. Ben K.

    Hey Deb! Been following your blog for years now and made probably 20 of these recipes! Tried making these cookies as well as Dori’s slice-and-bake ones for Xmas cookie tins. Not that either was bad, per se, but the maple ones were kinda bland and lacking in maple flavor (I used grade B).. The slice-and-bake cookies– I did lemon-poppy and orange-cran– were good but so dryyyy and not sweet enough for my American taste haha. I don’t know what I could have done wrong– I’m an experienced baker and have been a pastry cook in restaurants. Maybe I should be using high-end butter? I dunno. Any tips would be much appreciated :). Love your blog.

    1. deb

      Hi Ben — I almost always use store-brand butter so I don’t accidentally think a recipe is better than it might be due to extra luxurious butter. That said, neither cookie might be to you taste; it happens.

  165. Anne

    Yum, I like these (thank goodness, because I made a double batch). The maple really comes through. A little on the sweet side for me, but hey, that keeps me from scarfing down too many at once. I just wanted to pipe up and say I would look forward to a sugar cookie recipe next year! As boring as they sound, I really love them (and I love your recipes, so it could only be a good thing!)

  166. Joy in DC

    An update to my above comment – I froze these baked and sugar-decorated cookies for about 1.5 weeks, and couldn’t tell the difference between day-old unfrozen, and 1.5week-old frozen cookies. I’m kinda liking this baking and freezing cookies method this year.

  167. Katie

    I just made these and, while the flavor was fantastic, I had some trouble with the texture. They were almost…dense. I baked them at different times to see if it was an overdone issue. They felt very packed, which was probably my fault somehow. Could I have rolled them out too much (or not enough)? Maybe they were too thick: any ideas? It was such a great flavor, I just want the texture to match. Maybe I undercooked them? It sounds like they are supposed to be light and crispy.

  168. Meghan

    People thinking about making these gluten free–I have good news!

    I made them tonight with my family as one of our holiday cookies and they were a resounding success. I used Bob’s Red Mill all-purpose gluten-free flour to replace the normal flour and a little more than a teaspoon of xanthan gum. I added in a bit extra maple syrup and nutmeg as well to help disguise some of the chickpea flour taste. As a side note, the dough has an overtone of humus or sprout, but the final product is light and fluffy and lacking in sprout-taste. I’m going to make a maple icing tomorrow to top them off! The grainy quality of the gluten-free flour is a great compliment to the deep maple and nutmeg flavor.

    Thanks so much for the recipe; it’s certain to stay in our baking repertoire for many years to come!

  169. YES!! Grade B maple syrup is where it’s at! I discovered this by accident when I was buying the cheaper Grade B on my thrifty budget and found we loved the deeper taste much better than the sweet light Grade A. So I stuck to it all these years and now, wow, I feel so vindicated.

  170. Cali

    We made these as little gifts for our hair stylist, favorite bar tender, etc. and oh my goodness, they are amazing! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  171. Chrissie

    You know what? THANK YOU for giving a measurement for flaky salt! All I ever have on hand is kosher salt and Maldon salt, and I’m never sure if I’m doing the right thing. Of course, I hardly measure salt, I just throw in in there. But still, it’s good to know that there is indeed a difference.

    1. deb

      Elena — I couldn’t count because my cookie cutter sizes were all over the place but many. Probably close to 100 if you keep them small (1 1/4 inch-ish).

  172. elsiroomom

    These cookies have been an instant favorite. At a family gathering with plates and plates of cookies – these are the ones that disapperared. It’s official – they even bumped the brownie roll-out cookies (another recipe from this blog) into second place!

  173. So, I made these as part of a dessert yesterday (made little rounds, and cut a slot into the cookies so that they could perch on the side of a dish of butterscotch pudding), and just wanted to drop a note to tell you that they. were. awesome. My bowl of extras to take home after the event? Mysteriously empty at the end of the evening…

  174. Sarah H

    I made these today. They are fabulous! Oddly enough, they remind of sugar cookies I used to have as a child in Pakistan. I know we don’t have maple syrup there, so I wonder why that is. Anyway, thanks for reminding me of fond childhood memories on Christmas day!

  175. Its really great to learn a fantastic recipe….my daughters like to these cut outs of cookies as they love to do it….and they can try some more desired shapes as well!!!

  176. Meg

    This is definitely a keeper! I doubled the recipe and half (in plastic-wrapped balls) in the freezer. Already had to take out the frozen dough and roll out another batch today! Thanks!

  177. Renee

    Didn’t read all the comments above, but frosting these puppies with a tangy cream cheese frosting (read: not overly sweet) is an AMAZING addition. Do it.

  178. Becky

    These were wonderful! Our babysitter saw the recipe on the counter and said they were also on her “to bake” list. I was nice and saved her two cookies in the freezer. At least, I’ve saved them so far…

  179. Wes

    Just made these and they are incredible! I love your recipes. So much flavor with just the maple syrup and nutmeg! I live in a dry area – midwest in January, and used 1/3 less flour and didn’t have any trouble rolling them out.

  180. Emily

    So sad. I have been itching to make these cookies, and finally gave them a shot last night. I had so much trouble with the dough – first it was too crumbly, so I let it warm up just a bit, and then the cookies completely melted into paper-thin butter puddles in the oven. The flavor was amazing, but I don’t think I would try these again. I am great at following directions, but have no ability to correct-course on my own. I wonder if I cut back the flour, would it help?

  181. I made these vegan for my Christmas Cookie Boxes I give to family and friends and they were a hit. I also made ’em slice and bake because I didnt have any cute cutters and as we baked them on CHristmas Eve, we realized it was too late to get any. ALso, I ate the last few sandwiched with coconut milk coffee ice cream. which is how I want to eat all my Chirstmas cookies next year.

  182. Joe

    I attempted to make this last Christmas and I failed miserably. I think I got the ingredients mixed up. Definitely going to try making this again.

  183. Stefanie

    I just made these today. They were sooooooooo good- I inhaled about 2 dozen just while I was transferring them off the cooling rack. I am so impressed – the flavoring was perfect! The maple and nutmeg weren’t overpowering but not bland either. I love your blog! I have made so many of your yummy recipes this one is definitely a favorite! I just need to find some cute fall cookie cutters now :)

  184. Emilia

    We made these for Christmas but substituted cardamom for the nutmeg. I think we used the same amount if not slightly more. They turned out great! The maple and cardamom go together amazingly well.

  185. Megan

    I made these. My husband liked them a lot. They looked ridiculous (like continents or something) but I gave some away as gifts anyway. Next time if I make them again I’ll grate fresh nutmeg.

  186. Molly

    I have been waiting to make these since last winter, but I kept waiting for the right moment… Tonight it came!

    I had a huge collection of Halloween sprinkles to use up, so I had to a touch of some maple frosting.
    Better than I even imagined!

    Can’t wait for your book tour! See you in Brookline!

  187. Julia P.

    I haven’t been able to find grade B around here anywhere, and the only maple extracts I have found contain vanillin, which a friend of mine is deathly allergic to. :P

    So I made mine with grade A, and it was fine. Really delicious. I’m sure they’d be even better with a more pronounced maple flavor, but they’re definitely worth making even if you can’t get grade B.

  188. Meredith

    I’ve been making these since you posted them – nutmeg and butter cookies being among my favorite things – and am eating them again tonight. They’re perfect every time, and I just wanted to thank you for them.

  189. Christine

    These cookies are THE BEST “sugar cookies” I have ever had! Not too sweet, not too buttery, just PERFECT! I baked them last year and will be baking them again this year and probably every holiday season from here on out. Thanks for the recipe!

  190. Caterina

    Hi Deb,

    Could I roll this dough into logs and then simply slice and bake instead of rolling out and using cookie cutters? Thanks for all of your amazing work – just made your green bean salad with fennel, red onion and almonds on the weekend and I almost ate the entire bowl in one sitting!!!!!!!!!

  191. these look amazing! idk if you’ve already discussed this, but i tried this recipe, and when i took the dough out of the fridge the next day, it was really firm and crumbly, so i couldn’t roll it out. i ended up having to knead little balls of dough in my hands one at a time. what should i have done to make the dough less dry? add more maple syrup?

  192. Julie

    I heard you on NPR a few weeks back and have been hooked ever since — on your sweets, vegetarian dishes, photos and commentary. Quick question about these cookies, in order to make them a little less plain, do you recommend a drizzled glaze, and if so, what kind?

    1. deb

      Julie — I’m not a fan of drizzled glazes on cookies, but if they’re something you enjoy, no reason you cannot use it here. I think there’s a lovely depth of flavor without it, however.

  193. Kate

    Hope: will you please tell me the specifics of making this into a vegan recipe?
    Did you use vegan margarine or vegetable oil or something else?
    I’m particularly interested in what you substituted for the egg yolk. I haven’t been able to think of a vegan substitute that would impart a similar richness.

  194. Erin R.

    Delicious! After reading about the sweetness I cut the sugar back to 3/4 cup and still thought they were quite sweet. Also, I ran out of time and decided to just do them as shortbread cookies so I patted them into a cake pan and baked 17 minutes. Absolutely wonderful. Nice and moist due to all that syrup, and the maple flavor came through just fine with the Grade B. Definitely keeping this recipe at the top of my cookie pile. Thanks a mil!

  195. Margo

    I was looking for a recipe with maple syrup in it for a Canadian table at an International Day at school in Romania, and thought this was good (though I stuck with the original Gourmet mag recipe without nutmeg since I thought more child-friendly). It is a maple syrup-infused butter cookie, so don’t expect a huge flavour hit. Time-saving trick…. roll into 2 cylinders, wrap in cling film, put in fridge for 4+hrs, and then slice thinly and quickly pop directly onto the parchment paper-covered cookie sheet. These Euro-fridges can’t fit a baking tray, and I found this trick to work fine…

  196. Jesse McNett

    I’m pretty new at cooking and I’ve heard that freshly ground nutmeg is the only way to go. Are you supposed to “pack down” the nutmeg in the measuring spoon? It’s so different from the ground nutmeg in a can, and I can easily pack down the nutmeg I’ve grated (and get about double the amount in the measuring spoon), but not sure if I’m supposed to.

    1. deb

      Jesse — I don’t usually pack it, just scoop, then sweep. It may not be as much nutmeg per teaspoon as you’d get from a can or jar, where it’s very finely ground, but the freshly grated stuff is so much more potent, it all balances out in the end.

  197. Pamela B.

    I looked through your answers, and I notice you said this cookie was a bit crumbly. Would it not work, then, in a cookie gun? Is there another recipe on this site that you think would work better? I received one for Christmas last year, and I’d like to be able to use it, but I’m looking for something with a bit more depth than just sugar/spritz cookies.

    1. deb

      Pamela — So, I’ve actually not spritzed cookies in more than a dozen years (maybe 2 dozen? No, that would make me old, ugh) so my understanding of what an ideal spritz dough is is limited. It’s worth trying, I think. The worst thing that happens is that you just roll them out and still have delicious cookies, right?

  198. Helen

    Just finished baking a batch. Made the dough yesterday and refrigerated it until an hour before I first rolled out the dough tonight. As Deb said, best to keep the bit you are not yet using in the refrigerator until you are ready for it. I used a 2 inch gingerbread man cookie cutter. They are amazing. The maple flavor really comes through nicely. Great recipe.

  199. Zoe

    Hi Deb! I love these cookies. I’ve made them a few times now as roll-out cookies, but I was wondering…Could you make thumbprint cookies with this dough?? Thanks!

  200. Megan

    I just made these, and am a little disappointed that neither the nutmeg nor the maple flavor (I used good Grade B, I swear! I live in Vermont!) are shining through. :( I really want to love them, but they are falling a little flat! What did I do wrong?! Wondering if a maple icing might amp them up, or just make them too sweet…

  201. Randi

    Erin – GREAT idea.
    I made a batch of these and a batch of the coconut shortbread today. I was worried they would be too similar in the cookie box.
    Adding the eggnog filling is a great idea!

    *also – made “better homes an gardens” recipe for gingerbread “twigs” for the 29065022811068 box. Definitely should gave used Deb’s gingerbread recipe and followed the twigs directions. Live and learn!

  202. Rachel

    This the second year I’ve made these cookies and ILOVETHEM! This year I found a farmer who was selling his very end of season maple syrup, aka grade C. I used that and it was a maple explosion. I wish I had a way of getting you some if this nectar, a divine ingredient! I Iove your blog and, as a bookseller, I extoll the virtues of your book every opportunity I get (which is every time some one asks where the cooking section is!). Keep it up, if you don’t, I’ll starve. Or at least lose some weight.

  203. Maureen

    I just made these cookies (delicious) and am surprised to find myself thinking that they’d taste great with a little black pepper added. What do you think? Crazy?

  204. Kris

    These are a traditional sugar cookie with a really grown-up taste – sooo nice with a tea or coffee. I would even cut down a bit on the sugar next time myself since the maple is so dominant.

  205. jess

    This recipe works fantasically and is a better hit for the sweeter toothed low brow kid crowd when you swap the syrup for same measurements of beea honey or agave necter :) and no icing needed

  206. JamieF

    i love these cookies! I’ve made them 3 times so far (most recently for Valentine’s day cut into hearts). I think my favorite thing is just giving them to people and watching them try them for the first time. It is such an unassuming cookie…looks just like a boring sugar cookie. So they taste then BAM! Not a sugar cookie!!!!

    I always try to come up with a way to add something…jam? chocolate? But they are so good by themselves that I just can’t. Thanks for a great recipe!

  207. Marilou

    Oooohhhhh… Thank you! I am from Quebec, the Undisputed Paradise of maple syrup! A staple in Quebec popular processed foods are cookies called “Feuilles d’érable” (maple leaves). Two maple-leave shaped cookies are sandwiched with a very, very sweet maple cream. You love them as kids but when you grow up, well, you want to love them, but sort of find them a bit too sweet and artificial tasting! I’ve been looking for a cookie recipe in order to make an adult version, and here it is! For the filling, I will make a buttercream made of maple butter (yes, it exists and it is fabulous), icing sugar, and unsalted butter. If you come over to Montreal, I’ll even make you some :-)

  208. Claire

    I made these on the weekend, had the neighbors in (it was a mild enough day to leave the front door open for a few hours, and the fragrance brought folks in, we’re like that on my street, and they are all gone! We ate the fresh off the cooling racks, on Saturday afternoon. How fun is that, we all agreed it was to be repeated! Good for toddlers too, we discovered, no chunky things to choke on.

  209. Liz W

    This recipe is autumnal perfection! I first made them for Thanksgiving two years ago, and I made them this weekend to kick off my office’s Halloween Treat Week. Both times, they’ve received rave reviews. The finished cookies taste and look delicious (I used an assortment of leaf, owl, and acorn cutters) with a lovely golden color and pleasing snap. I haven’t had trouble rolling out the dough or with it crumbling. I rolled it out while at room temperature, refrigerated it overnight, and cut them while still chilled.

  210. barbara c

    Tasted great (!!) — and will definitely make again — but dough was dry, terribly crumbly, and very difficult to roll out. Could have made more cookies but became frustrated with how dry the dough was and so didn’t bother to gather and re-roll. I will try again — but maybe add less flour (or maybe use a whole egg) next time. Anyone have any success with making this dough a little easier to work with?

  211. Denise By The Bay

    Made these last night.I used small holiday cutters I have used in past when making crackers.(tree,leaves,snowflake) At first they do not seem remarkable….but have one or 2 with tea,or coffee,and they take the whole experience up a notch.

  212. Wendy C

    I made these tonight for a cookie exchange and was a little hesitant to try to roll out the dough (I haven’t fussed with a rolling pin since I was a kid). (Also I am lazy.) I too, had the crumbly dough problem, then it got sticky, and I tried rolling it out but despite the flour on my rolling pin it stuck like mad. So I went with my option 2, which was to roll the dough into balls, then flatten them with the heel of my palm. (I tried a glass, but they kept sticking to it, despite flour or being dusted with sugar.) They came out beautifully! They even drew my husband out of his office while they were baking. I’ll definitely make them again, and will tweak the time in the fridge. And not do it when I’m making 7 dozen cookies for a cookie exchange. ;-) Thank you!

  213. barbara c

    Update for those of us who are finding this dough crumbly, I just made the recipe again but used a whole egg this time. Much (much!) better. I could roll the dough out without frustration — and the cookies still tasted great.

  214. these cookies were buttery & crisp & well-stuck-together & *amazing*! i used off-brand maple syrup (suspiciously neither grade A or B…) but people were still able to identify the flavour without prompting at my holiday gathering. rolled dough out between the plastic film (mine turned out super sticky, probably i over-mixed). also used 1/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg (very fond of the particular spice)

  215. Anne Casson

    Just lovely: a new use for maple syrup and a new sugar cookie recipe for the Christmas plate for which I always prepare a selection of old favourites and new choices. I’m certain this will become an old favourite and will reappear in some form at Easter when new maple syrup is in abundance. Thank you

  216. Ana

    Hi Deb – more of a suggestion than a question. You may want to update this post to reflect that USDA changed its grading system for maple syrup. All maple syrup is grade A now, but there are four different levels of grade A. I searched in vain for grade B maple syrup before googling it and realizing that it doesn’t exist anymore!

  217. Sharing mostly for moral support for others who may have run into this–
    Despite having well-chilled dough and a floured counter I found it really hard to end up with good-looking cookie cutter shapes. The dough stuck both above and below and shapes stretched, tore, and squished. This was with really simple shapes like stars, not an intricate or complicated edge to lift up.

    I ended up rolling it into balls, then using an “embossing” cookie stamp to put shapes on top.
    (Not an inexperienced baker.)

    1. Laura

      This was published too late to help you, Barb, but for future reference and for anyone else who might run into the same problems – I used Deb’s tips here and they worked well!

      She recommends rolling out the dough between parchment sheets and THEN chilling it – then cutting out and baking. Having super-cold dough to cut out meant that mine were really easy to work with (I did use circles though, can’t compare with stars but I suspect that it would work)

  218. Kathy

    These tasted delicious and different- the maple and nutmeg flavors are nicely subtle and the salt is great. But I’m wondering about the proportion of butter to flour- mine came out quite hard and not buttery-tasting, more cracker consistency than cookie. Any less baking time and they tasted raw. Thinking less flour would make sense- most butter cookies seem to have 1 cup butter to 2 or 2 1/2 cups flour.

  219. Morgan

    I made these today. Roll them as thin as you can!!!! I made the dough last night and baked this morning. I found when the dough is rolled super thin the cookies turn out more like crisps and are great. Too thick and they have a sticky-chewiness that is not pleasant and very sugary. Also, I got a TON of cookies out of this recipe. If I make them again I would halve the recipe.

    1. Theresa

      Hey Morgan, when you say a ton… how many? I need to make maybe 60-80 so can’t work out if I need to double or triple or what really!

    1. deb

      Haven’t tried this one in it but don’t see why not. I like these a bit thinner. You could also roll them between two pieces of parchment paper and get them as thin as you want.

  220. Just made this today but I have been eyeing this recipe for weeks. I had my sister bring the dark maple syrup from Vermont at Thanksgiving so I could make these cookies for Christmas. I have to admit, I am TERRIBLE with cut outs BUT these worked wonderfully. I only used half the batter (freezing the rest for a week from now) and got about 34 large cookies!

    They are great! Do not be afraid to try!

  221. Nils Tikkanen

    Because I am a heathen who doesn’t own cookie cutters, I used a mason jar lid which works quite well. I also decided to sprinkle turbinado sugar all over the tops and that just made them even more lovely.

  222. To everyone struggling with crumbly dough, I found mine was impossible to roll out right out of the fridge. I had to warm it a quarter of it in my hands and reform it into a ball that rolled out easily. I didn’t have any issue with it sticking on a floured work surface. These cookies are outrageously good, thanks Deb!

  223. sophiebuttons

    These are delicious, the salt and maple sing! If you are into nutmeg, add more, I couldn’t really taste it. Also, like others, I suggest rolling these super thin, they taste a little flour-y to me when thicker. I also baked them for 12 minutes (or more), and got these delicious, crisp cookies.

    Deb, thank you so much for the fantastic recipe, and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  224. M-Eve

    Delicious and easy to make. Decorated with some cane sugar and cinnamon sugar. Used really dark maple syrup that I don’t usually use because it’s too strong, and it came through perfectly in the cookies.

  225. Janet

    I usually like chewy cookies but have to say these are yummy. I could definitely taste the maple syrup but next time will add a little more nutmeg. Loved the salty flavor to.

  226. KM

    I made these cookies twice, and they were great both times! I used organic grade B maple syrup, which I think was a major factor in how well these turned out. They did turn out much better the second time…probably because I used Kerrygold butter (not just store brand), and instead of the 1 cup of white sugar I used 1/2 cup white sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar, which made it taste richer.

  227. Carol

    Love, love, love these, been making ’em for years now… but try baking them a little darker. Thin as can be and bake them until you think you’ve gone just a little too long. The maple sings!

  228. Kat

    Oh Deb,
    I’ve made these before with ‘normal’ maple syrup (there is only one type here in Australia- it’s real and it comes from Canada but there is no grade on it), and I just thought I’d try to get hold of some grade B syrup for my Christmas baking…have been searching online, and I keep finding things that say “grade A, formerly grade B”… huh!? Have they recently changed the grading system? I don’t want to shell out $$$ and end up with the same syrup I can get down the road at Woolworths! Help!!!

  229. Lou in Washington

    I love these cookies. I found them years ago when I was hosting a cookie-decorating Christmas party and have made them many times since then. It tastes a bit like a shortbread cookie, with added layers of maple and nutmeg.

    One note: I made these recently for my brother, who is a diabetic, and I used Cary’s Sugar free syrup in place of the real stuff. I was weary of the swap because I believe Grade B Maple syrup is divine. With that in mind, I added a TB of vanilla, in case the maple didn’t “shine” in the way I wanted. The cookies came out beautifully — you could taste the maple and I also liked the added vanilla flavor.

    1. Simone

      Would it be ok to freeze some of the dough, do others think? I’ve rolled out half of it and my arms can’t take any more. I’m assuming it would be ok to freeze half the dough as long as I fully defrost before using?

  230. Janet

    I made these yesterday for the second time. Love the flavor, but the rolling! My shoulder got sore, I had so much trouble with sticking, even with sprinkled flour. I ended up actually slicing some of the cookies. They tasted good but certainly weren’t as nice looking.

  231. Sarah

    I’m responsible for cookies for Christmas, and have about 15 that I want to make. But I also have 2 minions (under 3 years old). So I’m trying to scale back.

    Do you think these cookies would be good with the eggnog filling from your Eggnog Florentines? That filling looks so intriguing! And the flavors sound like they’d go well together, but maybe it would be too sweet?


  232. It’s really worth making sure you roll these properly thin! If you do they have a lovely crunch, whereas if you’re a bit lazy about it (like I was after a while) they’re a bit of a disappointing halfway-to-chewy texture.

  233. Bridgit

    I sometimes feel like a punk, because I never make the recipe as is the first time, but alas, it is what it is. (Your recipes are so great, and your descriptions of why/how it works usually means my changes work just fine.) Made these cookies with some of last year’s maple syrup as we boiled this year’s sap. They are delicious. 2 cups of white whole wheat, 1 cup of AP. 3/4 cup of sugar, 3/4 tsp salt. I found them plenty sweet, and the many shortbread/butter cookie lovers I bake for loved them. I’ll make them again, but maybe with a bit more nutmeg: it’s our favorite, next to maple syrup of course. Next up, Nutmeg Maple Tart for pi(e) day!

  234. I found sugar sand clear crystals to put on the cookies. When do you put
    them on the cookies, before or after you bake them. I will try putting them on
    before as that’s when one puts the decorations for Xmas sugar cookies which are similar. Still interested to hear your opinion, We are baking these for our maple sugaring company open house: Maple Fest. Thanks again for the fun and delicious recipe!

  235. SBerk

    I am so excited about these cookies! I am going up to Maine this summer and wanted to make sugar cookie cut outs in the shape of lobsters, then decorate and bag the cookies. However, vanilla sugar cookies can be bland…so given maple syrup is such a common taste in New England, I thought, voila, perfect solution! Fantastic…thank you, Deb!

  236. Bridgit

    Just made these to send into my kids’ schools for the staff as a little “thank you” for all the great things they do. I didn’t have quite enough maple syrup. Still delicious. (Also, used 2/3rds white whole wheat, 1/3 AP flour and brushed w egg white for a little gloss.

  237. Kris

    I made these and commented about how awesome they are seven years ago, and they’ve been a cookie staple in our household ever since. This year, we made the mistake of trying the flapjacks recipe and have since become golden syrup addicts. Do I even need to tell you where this is going? Fine. I substituted Lyle’s Golden Syrup for the B-grade maple, and now we don’t know which is better. My husband has suggested a head-to-head showdown, but I’m afraid of killing him with a butter overdose.

  238. Laura

    I made this, and I love Smitten Kitchen, but I didn’t love these cookies. The batter turned out fine, but the cookies themselves were bland. If only I had an acorn cookie cutter to add some texture and interest ;-)

    I used fancy butter and grade A maple syrup (all I can usually find). I’m sure grade B would improve these cookies – I am wishing they had more maple (and perhaps, less nutmeg – unlike others, I could taste the nutmeg quite well and I could not taste any salt – just maple, butter, nutmeg). They don’t taste BAD, I just don’t love them.

    I experimented with different icings to see if icing, cinnamon icing, whisky icing, or coffee-flavored icing might perk these up…but decided that plain was best.

    I had no problems with the dough or with the baking – I followed the cookie tips from another blog post here, and they worked great for this recipe (food processor + parchment sheets + rolling out *before* chilling the dough). For anyone considering this or most other cookie recipes, I recommend checking it out!

  239. Liz

    I find plain sugar cookies boring so I tried these. Delicious! Didn’t need any icing and are great with coffee, tea, and champagne even! Husband, kid and houseguests all loved them. I think these will be part of my Christmas tradition.

  240. Ali

    I love you so much! LOL! You are becoming the new go-to we-trust-her for me and a foodie friend, instead of Martha Stewart. I made these last year but I messed something up, and then this year I couldn’t remember which recipe it was (yay for stubborn googling). I now see that I forgot about the Grade B syrup, wah! but I did procure a maple leaf cookie cutter and the extract. It’s cold here and tomorrow begins our real winter so I HAVE to make these cookies now. With extra nutmeg because aforesaid friend is obsessed with it and it’s her birthday. Thank you for sharing your tips and your humor!

  241. kalirush

    I make this recipe all the time. Just wanted to mention that I do serious cake baking and this is my go-to when I want cookie decorations. It doesn’t rise *and* it has more structural integrity than the average shortbread *and* it’s delicious. I’ve made everything from book covers to robot parts to farm tools out of it.

  242. Sarah

    I tried this with Grade A maple syrup since that’s what I had in the house. Unfortunately as warned by Deb the flavor isn’t very strong that way. Will try again in the future with Grade B!

  243. Erin

    Just wanted to share that you’ve been a part of our celebrations for years–we make these every holiday season! They are wonderful and I love how simple and easy they are to make. Thanks for a banger, Deb!

  244. Linda

    Will this dough hold the impression of a cookie stamp? I’m guessing they will from some of the photos, but would like to know if anyone has tried that.

  245. June Macdonald

    Just made these. Yummy! I think I added a bit too much nutmeg but I like them spicy. And being from Southern Ontario we are spoiled for choice in maple syrup, I used an extra dark. Mmm. Crunchy, buttery and a little spice special flavour.

  246. TracyL

    Do these cookies lose detail in baking? It looks like not, but want to confirm as I’d love to use a patterned rolling pin to roll them out. Thank you!

  247. Samantha

    Could you clarify the correct amount of butter in this recipe? The recipe states 1 cup butter, 2 sticks, 226 g. But I believe that 226 g butter is 1 stick. Thanks!