Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Maple Leaf Rag Cookies Recipe from Final Sentence

Often when I write, I listen to music. Usually classical or orchestral music is my “muse.” With music, I get a feel for what I’m writing. I feel inner rhythms. My emotions seem easier to access. My mind clears.

When I was writing Final Sentence, Jenna, the protagonist in the book, wanted to listen to a variety of music. I know, weird, but writers (not just me) let our characters have free rein.

In addition to “foodie” themed songs (which Jenna likes to play in the shop) and Judy Garland hits (which were Jenna’s mother’s favorites), Jenna liked to listen to ragtime music. Scott Joplin in particular.

When Maple Leaf Rag was playing, I got the idea for a cookie. Crazy, right? Final Sentence features cookie recipes, from easy—like last Wednesday's post for Mexican Wedding Cookie—to difficult like Gluten-free Orange Biscotti (oh, so delicious).

But back to today’s recipe. I love all things maple – syrup, more syrup, and plenty of syrup. I like maple candy. I like maple-flavored bacon. When I was listening (along with Jenna) to Joplin’s popular song (which is the theme from “The Sting” and was the model for many subsequent ragtime compositions), I decided to create a cookie with a maple syrup icing. This is a chewy cookie. If you don’t like raisins, leave them out, but make sure you use the full amount of chocolate chips, keeping in mind that it’s the icing that makes the cookie special.  In the book, Jenna’s friend Katie, the chef at The Cookbook Nook’s café, creates this cookie:

Ala Katie
(makes 3-4 dozen)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs 
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup sour cream 

1/4 cup water
3 cups flour (*if using gluten-free flour, add ½ teaspoon xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips or raisins (or mixture)
For Glaze:

1/2 cup butter
2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 - 4 tablespoons milk (I used 2)


Heat oven to 375 Degrees.

Cream together the butter, sugar, and eggs.

Add in the maple syrup, sour cream, and water, and blend well.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, soda, and salt; then gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, stirring until well combined.

Gently sir in the chocolate chips and/or raisins.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving about 2" between cookies. Press with fingers or back of spoon to flatten.  [If you don't flatten them, they won't flatten!!]

Bake 8-10, until light brown.

Remove to a cooling rack (or paper towels) and allow cookies to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make glaze. HEAT the butter until it begins to change color (light caramel); then remove from heat and allow to cool completely.

Using a whisk, stir in confectioners' sugar and maple syrup. Gradually add the milk until the glaze is the desired consistency.

Spread glaze over cooled cookies.

Note: If you want to do something fun and wind up with a delicious toffee candy, make the icing, all by itself. Same ingredients. Cook on medium heat to a full boil. Stir, constantly, for eight to ten minutes. It will bubble and froth. Pour the candy onto a sheet of wax paper (laid on top of a cookie tray). Let stand until completely cool. Break into pieces. 

Trivia for 100The Maple Leaf Rag was composed in 1899. Joplin received a steady—though “unspectacular” according to Wikipedia—income from the piece for the rest of his life. He agreed to 1% royalty on all sales of the music, with a minimum sale of 25 cents per sale.

Trivia for 200: This was one of the main pieces my son wanted to learn on the piano, probably because he heard me playing it way back when. I’m sure he can still play it. I’m a little rusty.

* * * * * * *

The first book in A Cookbook Nook Mystery series is out!!

You can order the book HERE.

It's set in the fictional coastal town of Crystal Cove, California and features Jenna Hart, a former advertising exec who returns home to help her aunt open a culinary bookshop and café.

The 4th in A Cheese Shop Mystery series is out, too! 
You can order the book HERE.

Next one up: DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT. You can order the book HEREuntil I have it up on my website. This is the first I've known about cover art for the book!  :) 

You can learn more about Daryl by clicking this LINK. "Like" my page on Facebook and "follow" me on TwitterAnd if you haven't done so, sign up for the mailing list so you can learn about upcoming events, releases, and contests! You can also follow and "like" Avery Aames the same way:  Facebook and Twitter


  1. Ooh Daryl, I love maple too so the icing really grabs me!

    I can't listen to anything when I'm writing--isn't it funny how we're all so different?

    1. Lucy, I know. We all have our routines and heaven forbid anybody break them. I can even write at a coffee house, earbuds plugged into my ears, music at a loud roar (classical music) so i don't hear the conversations...but then when I do want to hear the conversations, as authors do...out come the bud and up go the antennae. :)

      Daryl aka Avery

  2. I can't listen to anything, either, Lucy.But I love the maple icing and toffee idea! Yummy, Daryl!


    1. Amazing. Am I the only one amused by a music muse?

      Daryl aka Avery

  3. Anything maple rules!!!! Have you seen "The Maple Syrup Cookbook" by Ken Haedrich?....maybe Jenna carries it at The Cookbook Nook. This is a small cookbook with lots of recipes in it featuring maple syrup. All that I have tried have been good, but then I am a Ken Haedrich fan! Your cookie sounds yummy, I'll have to print a copy and put it into my copy of the cookbook.

    1. Sharon, I haven't, but I'm going to track it down!! And yes, Jenna will carry it. :)

      Thanks so much.

      Daryl / Avery

  4. Maple syrup is such a great, natural ingredient, and these cookies look delicious. I love how you came up with the name, and its connection to your writing. Thanks, Daryl!

    ~ Cleo

    P.S. I'm a Judy Garland fan, too--she's one amazing singer (and legend).

    1. Cleo, I agree. Judy was amazing. Such a tragic life but what a gift she had. I feel a song coming on....

      Daryl / Avery

  5. I love Scott Joplin and esp. the Maple Leaf Rag. What a great inspiration for these super cookies and for your terrific new series!

    Thanks for sharing, Daryl!

    1. Thanks, Mary Jane. Just the thought of the music sends it playing in my head. Love it.

      Daryl / Avery

  6. I have one maple tree on my property--a big old one. One year I was feeling ambitious and I tapped it and boiled down the sap--and got one quart of syrup, which I'm now doling out by the teaspoon. This might be a good use for it!

    And I loved Scott Joplin even before The Sting came out!

    1. Sheila, I'm curious about tapping a tree. I know you're not supposed to "nail" anything into a tree for fear of damaging the bark. How does tapping not do the same thing...kill a tree?


  7. Taping doesn't hurt the tree if you know what yu are doing. Try googling the instructions.
    My husband learned to play that rag on the guitar. It is awesome. And so is he!

    1. Libby, thanks. I didn't think to google it. And I google everything! LOL