Soft Maple Sugar Cookies + cookie swap recap

We’ve been on the Christmas cookie train longer than the tree has been up, since before the the first greeting card arrived, and well in advance of the deep drifts of snow blanketing our homestead.

‘Tis the nature of my work; I was developing recipes for a feature in Montreal’s French newspaper, La Presse, hence frosted, cut-out cookies were in abundance shortly after our Thanksgiving celebrations ended.

Early tryouts for the best holiday cookie meant that there was more time to narrow down a favourite and find that unique recipe to highlight for my annual cookie swap. This year, that cookie was a soft, maple-sweetened delicacy, cut into snowflake shapes, topped with a maple syrup glaze and dusted with sparkling sugar.

I wouldn’t tell you about these soft maple sugar cookies without sharing the recipe for your own baking project, so who is ready to dust off the cookie cutters?

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Pumpkin-Olive Oil Bread recipe from The Vanilla Bean Baking Book

This week has been unusually busy for me and I’m five days away from a big deadline with my next book, so I am taking a break from recipe development.

That is sometimes how the business of blogging goes: freelance work and publishing projects ebb and flow, occasionally taking precedence over blog posts.

However, I can promise that I have big plans for the holidays and you are sure to love what is coming. New recipes, round-ups, cookbook recommendations, and perhaps even a giveaway or two are all in the works – just as soon as I make that pesky deadline.

To break up the long work days, Clara and I play in the kitchen together on an occasional baking project, like this lightly-spiced pumpkin olive-oil bread. Today’s recipe comes from a new cookbook I am thrilled to tell you about…

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Marmalade Pecan Pie with coconut sugar, bourbon and a hint of chocolate

All year long, we bakers turn out a variety of layer cakes, brownies and cookies, not to mention sticky fruity crisps and cobblers, but come November our thoughts turn to pie.

Perhaps we are prompted by the lackluster weather and barren landscape, or maybe it is because November a slower month, and we are able to make time in our busy lives for rolling pie crust and dedicating ourselves to the art of pie.

Pie can’t be slapped together like a loaf of banana bread or a batch of chocolate chip cookies; it requires more effort, yet yields richly rewarding results.

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Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (gluten-free)

A recent string of blustery, grey days abruptly ended our streak of glorious fall weather, and the pounding of the rain on the window panes sent me scuttling to the kitchen in search of warmth and comfort.

I found solace in a pan of marbled, maple-sweetened pumpkin cheesecake brownies, rich with both chopped chocolate and dark cocoa and lightly spiced with the beloved autumn flavour of my own ‘pumpkin spice’ blend.

If these brownies sound like an irresistible fall dessert, you are absolutely right. They are soft and dense, moist and rich – but what really makes them ideal is that they also contain a secret nutritious ingredient.

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Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Yesterday at the market I passed several large baskets overflowing with plump zucchini and noted that they were being sold for mere pocket change.

Then I remembered this muffin recipe which I had yet to post and made an additional mental note to get it out into your inboxes while zucchini is still cheap and prolific. I resisted bringing home any more zucchini from the market yesterday, but my kids are so crazy about these muffins, I’m know going to need to make a double batch before long.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Muffins are fantastic for breakfast or school lunches. Their flavour deepens after twenty four hours at room temperature, so they are just as delicious on the second day as they are served up warm from the oven. I’ve been making them in mini format for snacking as well as jumbo size for a filling breakfast-on-the-go.

Are you ready for fall baking? Let’s kick things off with a tray of nourishing muffins.

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