Maple Cut-Out Cookies

Why not try a new twist on an old classic by infusing a traditional cut-out cookie with the flavor of maple?  I love the flavor of maple syrup (I prefer Burton's) and have been obsessed with it recently.  Alone, or covered with a maple glaze - you simply cannot go wrong with this combination.

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
OR for a chewier cookie 1 cup (1 stick) butter-flavored shortening
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp. vanilla bean paste
1 egg
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine sugar and butter beating until fluffy.  Add maple syrup, vanilla bean paste and egg beating again until well-combined scraping with a spatula if necessary.  Add flour and salt, turning mixer on low and slowly mixing until the flour is incorporated.

Form into dough ball and cut into quarters.  Place each quarter in between two silpats and roll out until 1/4" thick.  Place into refrigerator and chill for 10-15 minutes.  Remove and cut with cookie cutter.  Using a butter knife, remove excess dough and place cookie shaped into an oven that has been preheated to 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes, depending on cookie size.

Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool for five minutes, they will begin to set.  Then using a spatula, remove from pan and place on cooling rack to fully cool.  Decorate as desired.  You can sprinkle with sugar before baking, decorate with royal icing in colors or you can spread a maple glaze on top.

Maple Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup maple syrup

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