When you are in the company of my friend Heather and her husband Bryan it is hard to decide which is sweeter, the two of them or the delicious treats Heather makes. When you enter their home you feel instantly welcomed with their smiles, the warmth of the wood stove, and the wonderful smells coming from the oven. Their home is nestled on a hill over a pond in Wellesley, MA in a darling neighborhood that looked particularly picturesque during our visit. It was a crisp fall day and the bold colors of the foliage reflected a warm glow off of the water. It was a beautiful destination for my husband and I who took our first road trip with our little one in tow.
Heather, thoughtful as always, had something prepared to celebrate our baby boy as well as the launch of Nutmeg Street. She prepared Nutmeg Maple Cookies shaped in the baby-friendly theme of barnyard animals… she really thinks of everything! We had a wonderful afternoon catching up over a few glasses of wine and baking. I wish we lived closer. I could do that every weekend!
I have had the pleasure of knowing Heather for many years. She and my sister, Kim, became friends when they were in 8th grade, and although most girls their age wouldn’t want to include an annoying little sister they always made time for me. I loved when Heather came to visit! I even made up theme songs for our names. Long story short, I am Jodi-Wa-Hodi and she is Heather-The-Feather. In more recent years we lived as roommates in the North End of Boston. During this time she was making a career shift into the culinary world. Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed when she would experiment with new recipes. Since then she has become an accomplished chef and has worked at Flour Bakery in Boston and was the Pastry Chef at Hungry Mother located in Cambridge, MA.
I can tell you from experience a special occasion isn’t complete without one of her sweet treats. Heather made a chocolate cake with raspberry and mocha butter cream filling for our wedding and in June made a salted caramel cake with butter cream frosting for my baby shower. Her attention to detail of flavors and the classic beauty of her baking exemplifies the love of her craft and for the people she bakes for.
Heather shares her favorite recipes and sweet stories behind them on her blog HT Baking.
Nutmeg Maple Cutout Cookies
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (Grade B is ideal here, but it might be hard to find, just add a 1/4 tsp maple extract if your syrup seems light)
- 1 large egg yolk
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt or 1 teaspoon table salt
Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. With mixer running, add yolk and slowly drizzle in maple syrup. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, nutmeg and salt. Add to butter mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be in loose clumps. Gather them together into a tight packet with a large piece of plastic wrap and chill dough for at least two hours (and up to four days) until firm.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. I like to roll out a quarter to half the dough at a time, leaving the rest in the fridge. On a floured counter, roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.
If you choose different shapes and some are larger than others make sure to bake like sized cookies together to ensure even baking.
Arrange cookies on baking sheets and bake for 8 to 11 minutes each, or until lightly golden at the edges. Transfer to racks to cool. Cookies keep in airtight containers for a week, or in the freezer for up to a month. The dough can also be frozen for a few weeks.
These go well with a cozy afternoon drink such as mulled cider or eggnog.