One thing about living in the great north is that there is no shortage of maple syrup. Maple syrup and crushed walnuts are what makes these Delicious Maple Walnut Cookies the star of any cookie platter.
As I write this post, I recall the sent of maple filling my house as though I was baking these Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies right now.
These Maple Walnut Cookies are technically a shortbread cookie with a slight twist adding maple extract and crushed walnuts to the dough batter.
You can either make these cookies with the frosting included in this recipe or for an icing that will hold up use a royal icing that will stiffen up in about 3 hours.
Note that the first image uses a royal frosting. The recipe to royal frosting is not included here. However, I've included the recipe I did use. Link to Wilton's Royal Icing using meringue powder is here.
Tips and Tricks to Making these Delicious Maple Walnut Cookies
Work the Cream and the Butter
Your butter doesn't need to be at room temperature to make this Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookie, but it helps. If you are using butter straight out of the fridge, ensure that you cream the butter and the sugar long enough until it reaches a light color and soft consistency. Once the sugar and butter has been creamed, add in the rest of the ingredients alternating between the flour and other ingredients.
Once the dough begins to forms, finish kneading the dough on a surface adding in the remaining flour.
Shortbread Cutout Cookies or IceBox Cookies
Here you have a decision to make. Historically icebox cookies were cookies that you kept in the fridge and could take out at the last minute to bake. That's how they get their name. Icebox meaning "refrigerator" in the old days. You can either make IceBox Cookies from this dough or you can roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter to cut out cookies in your preferred shape.
You've decided that IceBox Cookies are the way to go. Roll the dough into a log and let the dough rest by refrigerating it for at least two hours. Once the dough has rested, remove it from the fridge and using a sharp knife slice the dough beginning at the end of the log. You may need to use a ruler to ensure that the cookies are sliced evenly and are uniform.
Rolling Out the Dough and Using a Cookie Cutter
If you decide that you want to use a cookie cutter, you will need to roll out the dough on a floured surface. Roll out the dough to at least 1/4" thickness. Then use a cookie cutter to make cookies in your favorite shape.
For this batch of Maple Walnut Cookies I rolled out the dough and used a reindeer shaped cookie cutter to cut out the cookies.
Cooling Off Shortbread Cookies Before Baking
If you are preparing a large batch of cookies make sure that the cookies are still cool and are not warm or at room temperature. Putting warm cookies in the oven will result in them melting and loosing heir shape while they bake.
When I made these cookies, I made a large batch (I had four trays because I tripled the ingredients). Once I had all the cookies cut out and placed on trays lined with parchment paper, I refrigerated them on the tray until I was ready to bake them. It took about 30 minutes for the cookies to cool down. I then took them out of the refrigerator and baked them and they retained their shape and baked up perfectly.
These cookies will take about 12 minutes to bake. As you see the edges start to brown, you can remove them from the oven and set aside to cool down.
Frosting vs. Royal Icing
The difference between frosting and royal icing is that the frosting will remain soft and messy while the royal icing will harden and stay put. Before frosting or icing them, make sure that the cookies have cooled down completely.
If you plan on eating these the same day, frosting them will be fine. However, if you plan on storing these either use royal icing or don't ice them at all. These Maple Walnut Shortbread Cookies taste amazing without any icing or frosting too, not to mention less calories.
Storing Your Maple Walnut Cookies
These Maple Walnut Cookies store very well. Just remember to cool them completely before your store them. You can place them in a plastic container sealed tightly or in a zipper bag for 2 to 3 weeks. Leftover cookies can be frozen for about one to two months. When you are ready to use your frozen cookies, take them from the freezer to the fridge overnight. Once thawed out, you can move them from the fridge to room temperature always keeping them in a sealed container.
If you use royal icing to finish these Maple Walnut Cookies, lay them flat in the zipper bag and not one on top of the other. The iced cookies also freeze well.
Cookies that are frosted will not store or freeze well. They will need to be consumed immediately.
Want more cookies recipes? See my Christmas Cookie Baking Collection for 2019 at the following link: Christmas Cookie Baking Collection 2019.
Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.
In another bowl combine the flour and cornstarch and whisk together so that it is well combined.
Start by creaming the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Alternate adding the flour mixture, chopped walnuts and the maple syrup until a dough forms.
Turn out the dough onto a surface and need in remaining flour.
At this point you can either roll the dough into a log and make ice-box cookies (refrigerate dough for 2 hours, then remove from fridge and slice log making cookies that are about 1/4" thick).
The other option is to roll out the dough and make cookies using a cookie cutter.
Once you have cut out the cookies, bake them at 350°F for about 12 minutes.
Let cookies cool down completely
Mix together the icing sugar and maple syrup together to make a spreadable frosting. Add more sugar if the frosting is too thin or add more maple syrup if the frosting is to thick.
You can either spread the icing onto the cookies or you can pipe it out.
Sprinkle the top of the cookies with crushed walnuts or sprinkles.