With their delicious aroma of and taste of maple syrup, simple butter cookies are a tried and true recipe for dried candy caps. David Arora even shares a recipe for them in his excellent book All That the Rain Promises and More.
These are not the candy cap butter cookies most people will make though. Instead of classic sable or cookie dough with egg, vanilla and typical ingredients, these are a hybrid of along the lines of amaretti.
Unlike regular butter cookies they contain no flour, require no stand mixer, and come together in just a few minutes. If you're skeptical, don't be, these are incredibly addictive.
Adapting the recipe
This is probably the easiest candy cap cookie recipe out there, and you can vary it all kinds of different ways. The basic recipe uses blanched almond flour to keep them white and resemble the classic sugar cookie most candy cap afficionados will be familiar with, but you can use any nut or seed meal here.
- Add ¼ cup toasted finely chopped pecans.
- Add a sprinkle of crunchy sea salt.
- Use another nut meal, such as hazelnut.
Get creative with shapes
You're making teaspoon-sized cookies about 2 inches in diameter. But it's easy to switch up the shape for different results. One of my favorite variations is to make them into small squares, pressing with my thumbs and middle fingers on the sides.
The squares are nice since they should keep more of a chewy center. You can also make simple round cookies by rolling generous teaspoons into balls. The choice is yours.
Allowing the dough to hydrate
Resting will help the dough be more manageable and less sticky, and also gives the candy caps a head start to let their aroma permeate the dough, giving you the most maple flavor.
Almond Candy Cap Mushroom Cookies (Amaretti)
- 1 Silicone baking mat
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 large egg whites
- ½ cup organic sugar 80g
- 1 cup blanched almond meal 100g
- Pinch of finely ground salt
- 4 teaspoons ground dried candy cap mushrooms
- If possible, grind up the sugar in a highspeed blender or spice grinder if using a type that comes in larger flakes/chunks, like most organic kinds do.
- Mix sugar with the salt and candy caps, then add the almond meal and egg, then stir for a minute or two until a soft dough forms.
- Roll the dough into 1 inch log, wrap in wax paper or plastic wrap and chill overnight, or for at least 30 minutes.
- To bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 325. Slice the cookies into roughly ¼ inch thick rounds, lay onto a baking sheet lined with a silicone mat or other non-stick surface, like cast iron.
- Press each cookie with the back of a butter knife or off-set spatula to form a cross, then bake for 20 minutes, or until just lightly browned *. If you cook them golden brown like regular cookies they can become crisp instead of keeping a chewy center.
- Remove the cookies from the oven to cool. You want the cookies to be slightly underdone and chewy. Finished cookies will keep for a week, and can be stored in a cookie tin at room temperature.
If you want to bake with the cookies as an ingredient as is done in Italy, preheat the oven to 350 and cook them until cracker dry (20-25 minutes) for grating over squash ravioli, adding to custards before baking, or another purpose.