My friends are well aware of my maple obsession. When I reveal that I incorporated maple syrup into a dessert that I'm sharing with friends, the response is usually: "Of course!" Maple is one of my favorite flavors, and maple syrup is actually produced locally in most parts of Quebec (bonus). The image of me piping maple mousse into my mouth probably would not surprise anybody who knows me. After all, I will forever be remembered as the girl who at an entire maple sugar pie after having consumed a sugar shack meal smothered in maple syrup.
The funny thing about maple syrup is that it has a very sweet, earthy flavor that reminds me of fall, yet it is solely produced in spring in this area. Maple syrup is made from the sap of the maple tree. In spring, the sap rushes up from the roots to feed the budding branches that swayed dormant all winter. The flavor of the syrup (the concentrated sap) reflects its origins, with woodsy, earthy notes. Maple syrup is heaven if you ask me. I love it so much, if ever I had to move somewhere without it, I would oblige friends and family to ship it to me periodically.
For this challenge, I paired the maple mousse with slightly salty maple cookie cups. I made the cookie cups by baking the cookies over an inverted mini-muffin tray (two cookies per cup). The slight saltiness of the cookie really adds to the dessert. The cookie recipe is tweaked from Martha Stewart, and the maple mousse, from the Daring Kitchen. I let the cookies brown in the oven to bring out the nutty flavors of the butter and also to provide a better contrast with the pale maple mousse. If the combination of maple cookies with maple mousse seem like too much too you, I'd make chocolate cookie cups to pair with the maple mousse. The bitterness of the cocoa would provide a nice contrast for the sweet maple mousse. Of course, since I am a lover of all things maple, the more maple, the better.
Maple cookie cups
Makes at least 10 cookie cups plus a couple dozen mini maple leaf cookies (sorry, I realize that's not a very precise measure)
- 450 grams all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 125 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams brown sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 125 mL maple syrup (I used medium grade)
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature.
- Maple flakes (optional)
- Extra maple syrup (optional) for glazing
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Whisk together the flour and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and the sugars.
- Add the egg yolk, and mix to combine, scraping down the bowl as needed.
- Add the maple syrup, and mix to combine.
- With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour. Mix to combine, scraping the bowl as needed.
- Roll the dough out (1/4 of it at a time), on a floured surface. Cut into the shapes you want and transfer either to a cookie sheet topped with a Silpat, or place over cups of an inverted mini muffin tray (2 large cookie leaves per cup).
- Refrigerate for 15 minutes before baking. (If you'd like, you can brush the cookies with maple syrup and sprinkle with maple flakes just before popping them into the oven).
- Bake for 6–7 minutes, rotating if necessary partly through the baking time. Let cool about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Don't wait too long for the cookie cups because you may have trouble unmolding them!
Makes about 8 cups mousse (plenty for cookie cups and piping directly into your mouth, behind closed doors)
- 240 mL (1 cup) maple syrup (I used medium grade maple syrup)
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 package Knox gelatin
- 60 mL (1/4 cup) skim milk (~0.1% fat)
- 360 mL (1 1/2 cups) whipping cream (~35% fat)
- Bring the maple syrup to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- To a bowl containing the egg yolks, slowly add a few spoonfuls of the boiled syrup while whisking constantly (this is to temper the eggs). Then add the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly to heat through without cooking the egg yolks. Set aside for later.
- Pour the skim milk into a small heatproof bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let stand for 5 minutes to bloom.
- Place the bowl of bloomed gelatin over a pan of simmering water and gently heat to dissolve. Add the dissolved gelatin mixture to the syrupy-egg mixture and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Whip the cream to stiff peaks, then take a few scoops of the whipped cream and add it to the syrupy-egg mixture (to lighten it before mixing with the cream). Now add that lightened syrupy-egg mixture to the whipped cream, and fold to combine. Don't worry if you have to be a little rough. You want the mousse mix to be smooth and light.
- Chill for 1.5 hours until set enough to pipe into your edible cookie cups.