Two of my favorite things this time of year, baking cookies and watching Christmas movies, happen to pair perfectly. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll share some suggested cookie and cinema combos you might like to try should the I-wanna-bake-cookies-and-watch-a-Christmas-movie mood strike. First film up is “Elf“, which coincidentally has a couple of Triangle ties. First, the role of “Deb”, secretary to Walter Hobbs, is portrayed by Amy Sedaris, who grew up in Raleigh. And, “Jovie”, aka Zooey Deschanel, is one half of “She & Him“, a Merge Records label artist (Merge Records started in Chapel Hill, and now has offices in Durham). So there ya go - some Triangle Trivia thrown in the mix!
Since I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone who might not have seen it yet, I’ll not divulge too many plot points. But, it is important to know that Buddy, the “elf” protagonist, is a huge fan of sugar and maple syrup in particular. Consequently, a cookie with a distinct maple flavor seems the appropriate complement. I found this maple cookie recipe and made just a few changes, incorporating some spices and adding a few more nuts.
The recipe stresses the importance of a good quality maple syrup for the best flavor, and I’ve found the maple syrup currently available at 3 Cups in Chapel Hill quite tasty.
Normally, I’d bake while watching the movie (I can easily see my TV from my kitchen). However, this recipe requires the dough chill in the fridge for a bit, before baking. So, I’d suggest starting the recipe about an hour before you plan to watch the movie. Then when ready, pull the chilled dough out, start the movie and start baking! The recipe yields about three dozen cookies, so you’ll have plenty of time near the later part of the movie to sit on the sofa and enjoy your warm, mapley cookies while Buddy and Jovie save Santa.
Maple Walnut Cookies
Adapted from: Simply Recipes
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B preferably)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup walnut pieces
- In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Add the vanilla extract and egg to the creamed mixture, and mix well. Add the maple syrup and mix again, until well combined.
- In a separate bowl (or on a sheet of wax paper), sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, stirring by hand, until just blended.
- Fold in the walnut pieces. Then cover the mixture with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for thirty to forty-five minutes, until firm throughout.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (and start the movie here, if you like). Form the dough into one inch balls and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10 – 12 minutes, until edges of the cookies are slightly brown.
- Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for a minute before removing to a cookie sheet to cool. Pour a tall glass of milk, and place a few warm, mapley cookies on a plate.
- Take the milk and cookies to the sofa and enjoy the show!