Christmas is our favorite time of year for many reasons. For starters, 'tis the season for baking cookies. This year, try these easy maple-pecan icebox cookies. The beauty here is that you can make the dough ahead of time and bake whenever.
Maple-Pecan Icebox Cookies
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon maple extract (optional)
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter with the brown sugar and maple syrup until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the egg yolk and mix until combined, 1 minute more. Add the vanilla extract and maple extract (if using), and mix to combine.
3. Add the flour, salt and pecans, and mix until fully incorporated.
4. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of a baking sheet. Place the dough on the long side of the paper. The dough will be sticky, so use the paper to help you roll it into a rounded log shape, about 17 to 19 inches long (which is about the length of a baking sheet) and 1½ inches wide.
5. Once you've formed a log, make sure the dough is completely wrapped in the parchment paper. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. (Note: The dough can be frozen at this point for up to three months.)
6. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Slice the log of cookie dough into ¼-inch-thick slices and transfer to the baking sheets. Leave at least ¾ inch around each cookie to allow room for spreading.
8. Bake the cookies until they are slightly golden around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before serving. Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.