Weather: 32, blue skies. Pastor Alaska and the boys did a little snowshoeing today.
What I’m listening to: Worn, Tenth Avenue North

I have an amazing adoptive sister named Amy. She’s been a part of my life for 19 years and she’s one of the very best human beings I know. One summer, I was in my hometown and I was 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 smidgin. 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’s become a bit of a family tradition.

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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. I hope you fall in love with these cookies.

Amy’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Base chocolate chip cookie recipe adapted from Baking Illustrated.

Yields: About 2 dozen cookies

  • 3/4c butter, softened
  • 1c brown sugar
  • 1/2c sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1t vanilla
  • 1/2t maple extract
  • 2c flour
  • 1t baking soda
  • 1/2t salt
  • 1c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

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.

In a 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.

Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop cookies onto cookie sheets (cookies will spread some while baking, so leave some room). Bake the cookies 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 cooling rack to finish cooling. Best served warm with a glass of milk.

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