I have an amazing adoptive sister named Amy. She's been a part of my life for 21 years and she's one of the very best human beings I know. One summer, I was in my hometown, standing in Amy's kitchen -- we were making a batch of cookies together. She walked over to the cupboard and grabbed a small bottle, unscrewed the lid and poured a little bit of it into the cookie dough. It was thick and brown and suddenly the dough was fragrant and mouth-watering.
I quickly dipped my finger in and sampled the dough. Mmmm … good grief, what is that? The secret ingredient was maple extract. Just a smidgen. Amy explained to me that she almost always adds it to her cookies to give them that little extra something special. And special it is. It has become a bit of a family tradition.
I added maple extract to one of my favorite tried-and-true chocolate chip cookie recipes and created Amy's chocolate chip cookies. They're pretty amazing: golden brown, melty, chewy and gooey, with a little crispiness right at the edges -- and don't forget that extra special secret ingredient that takes them over the top. You can usually find maple extract in the baking aisle near the vanilla extract. I hope you fall in love with these very special cookies.
Amys chocolate chip cookies
Yields about 2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and the sugars. Incorporate the egg and egg yolk. Add the vanilla and maple extracts.
3. In a different bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add them to the mixer and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips and beat until it all comes together.
4. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop cookies onto cookie sheets (cookies will spread while baking, so leave some room). Bake the cookies for 12-14 minutes, until golden and set on the edges but still a little undone in the center, being careful not to overbake. The cookies will look puffy when they come out of the oven, but let them set on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and they will settle and look like the ones pictured. Remove to a rack to finish cooling. Best served warm with a glass of milk. Base cookie recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated.
Maya Evoy lives in Nikiski and blogs about food at alaskafromscratch.com. Have a food question or recipe request? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and your inquiry may appear in a future column.