After almost twenty-four years together, Jake knows I get a little creative with my ingredients. In fact, all of my friends joke that I can't make anything plain or basic. Ever. Case in point: I can't stand to make plain rice krispie treats; there's always a twist. Fine, they're right.
So, when I was trying to decide on some sweet treats, that might include mushrooms, I eagerly eyed a package of dried candy cap mushrooms that I had just picked up at The Quail & Olive. I have ground them up to make Candy Cap Macaroons and to use them in a crumble topping before. I pulled out my coffee grinder to do something like that again.
Then I found a recipe that rehydrated the dried candy caps, cooked them in butter, and used them in the cookie like that. So, I started with that recipe from Bedford Winery. I swapped sugars, used coffee extract, and skipped the nuts but added nut flour. I also saved the mushroom water, made a syrup, and used it in a frosting.
D, my mushroom-averse child, wrinkled his nose when he saw these on the counter. "What are those for, Mommy?" he almost wailed. Don't worry about it. You won't even know it's in there. "Oh, I'll know," he insisted.
R walked over as I poured hot water over the dried mushrooms and declared, "That's a lot of witchiness going on, Mom. What are you making with that?" Cookies. "Yum!"
In case you aren't familiar, candy cap mushrooms actually smell and taste like maple syrup. In fact, I've washed my hand dozens of times since I made these and they still smell like the candy caps. It's a crazy ingredient that I love.
And just two more things you should know about this cookie. I actually ate one. Well, I ate half of one. D ate the other half. Most of the time I am content just to create. I don't actually need to taste the baked good to decide if I'm going to share the recipe or not. My peanut gallery is always more than willing to give me thumbs up or thumbs down. So, it's saying a lot that I indulged. They were that enticing.
Also, I went to pack a few cookies for my parents and the entire container was gone. Jake had packed it to take to a Halloween archery party. So, he must have liked them that much...or he just wanted to prove to his friends that his wife is off her rocker. In any case, I need to make some more because this batch vanished quickly.
- 1 cup dried candy cap mushrooms
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup butter, softened + 1 T for sautéing
- 1 cup organic dark brown sugar
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon coffee extract (use vanilla extract, if you prefer)
- 1-1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup ground almonds
Candy Cap Syrup
- reserved mushrooms water (mine was about 1 cup)
- 1 cup organic dark brown sugar
- 2 cups organic powdered sugar, or more to thicken icing
- 1 to 2 Tablespoons candy cap syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon coffee extract (use vanilla extract, if you prefer)
Rehydrate dried mushrooms. Place them in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them. Stir to ensure that they are all submerged. After 20 minutes, strain them but reserve the soaking liquid. Squeeze excess liquid out by hand, then chop or thinly slice.
Melt 1 Tablespoon butter in a skillet and add in the sliced mushrooms. Sauté for 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1 cup butter and brown sugar. Beat in egg and coffee extract. Slowly add flour and ground almonds while stirring. Once it's come together, add in the sautéed candy caps. Incorporate the dough into a ball. Divide the ball in half and wrap in plastic wrap to chill for 15 to 30 minutes.
Candy Cap Syrup
While the dough chills, make your syrup. Strain the soaking liquid a few times to remove any chunks or debris. I think I strained mine three times. Pour the liquid in a small sauce pan and stir in brown sugar. Over medium heat, bring the liquid to a boil. Swirl the pan to dissolve the sugar, then reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. If you would a thicker consistency, cook it longer. I only used a little bit of this syrup. So, you'll see it again in a candy cap cocktail. Soon.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the dough has chilled, roll it out to between 1/4" and 1/3" thick. Use a cutter and place the cookies on a parchment paper or silicone mat-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until bottoms of cookies are firmed. Let cool on the baking sheet for 3 to 4 minutes before removing to a wire rack and letting them cool completely.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the ingredients until smooth. If it needs to be thicker, add more powdered sugar. If it needs to be thinner, add more syrup. Set aside.
To assemble, place a small amount of the frosting on top of the cooled cookies. Gently use a spoon to push the frosting to the edge. Set aside to let the frosting set.