Hero Cookies: Maple Glazed Cookies for Ellen Noble
In certain cultures and spiritual systems, there is a belief that we each travel with a cadre of spirit guides. As athletes, the snacks we carry with us fit this bill, literally the lucky charms in our pockets.
As we’re all turning to the kitchen to bake up hope, comfort, and a little practical magic, I asked some of the most inspiring athletes around what Hero Cookies were saving their days. They shared the flavors, ingredients and memories fueling them forward, and I made a recipe to match – in this case Gluten-and-Dairy Free Maple Glazed Hero Cookies for Ellen Noble.
I hadn’t met Ellen Noble (@ellenlikesbikes) when I first reached out to her about cookies. But she describes herself personally just as I would have, watching her successful racing career unfold. Hard-hitting and fun loving come to mind “I’m a pretty silly, determined and pensive and happy person,” she says. “As an athlete, I would say I’m pretty similar. I love goofing off with people at races and then when I hit the start line I am pretty tenacious.”
Ellen has been called one of the most exciting athletes in cyclocross, and for good reason. She’s won titles, broken barriers, and is inspiring and leading the next generation of athletes in the sport. Plus, she sure can dance. Ellen is the type of pro you want to know, for many reasons but when the going gets tough, Ellen bunny-hops gracefully over the barriers.
For two years, Ellen has been navigating a maze of health challenges, eventually leading to her diagnosis with Hashimoto’s; an incurable autoimmune disease related to thyroid function. The condition turned her life and racing career on its head, and left her with a long list of dietary restrictions, but Ellen is still smiling. (Especially where long rides, waffles, reaching new heights on her bike, puppies and big bags of gluten-free flour are concerned!)
“One of my favorite cookies ever was a maple sugar cookie with maple icing drizzle,” Ellen recounted. “I really really love maple, and it makes me think of home. It kind of feels like the dessert version of my favorite meal— which is waffles.”Ellen Noble
My final instructions from Ellen: “I try to keep my life pretty simple but add a bit of sparkle to it… a sugar cookie with a fun topping is a classic with flair. That’s my hero cookie. “ And so I set to work, keeping gluten and dairy out of the equation, and keeping Ellen’s smile quotient high. The result were these Iced Double Maple Cookies and I think we’re all very excited with the result. A few notes on the recipe here:
The recipe for these Maple Glazed Cookies below calls for both oat flour and a Cup-For-Cup Gluten Free flour that can easily be substituted for flour in just about any recipe. I love Bob’s Red Mill for this purpose.
Sweeten the deal:
You have some options here. For the moistest Maple Glazed cookies, I recommend using maple syrup and brown sugar. You could also substitute maple sugar or coconut sugar, but these will render a sandier cookie texture.
…to think about eating a maple cookie without pecans, and so this recipe includes them! But, if you’re allergic or uninterested in toasted nuts you can absolutely leave them out.
Looking to substitute the egg in these Maple-Glazed Cookies? You can do so by making an egg with psyllium husk or ground flaxseed and water. Simply whisk together 1 tsp psyllium husk with 3 tsp water (or 1 tbsp ground flax meal with 2 Tbsp water,) then add to the dough. Make sure to rest the dough in the fridge when using this swap!
The recipe for Maple Glazed Cookies calls for maple extract to push the maple flavor over the top. Try as I might to pump the recipe with maple flavor using maple sugar and maple syrup, extract was the magic ingredient. It can be tricky to find a version that isn’t made with “imitation maple” ingredients, but you can buy my favorite, real-deal maple extract here. I can promise that once you have maple extract in the house you’ll find all sorts of ways to use it!
Be patient (or not:)
These Maple Glazed cookies are chewy little mounds that bake up best when the dough has a chance to hydrate in the fridge for an hour or two. For a cookie that will stand up to your pockets, (and won’t spread all over the cookie sheet) scoop your finished dough onto parchment, wrap the cookie sheet in plastic and refrigerate for 60-90 minutes before baking.
For a softer cookie, or one that spreads more, you can cut this step short.
Frosting on top:
…is always worth it and makes these cookies the treat that they are. (Maple Glazed Cookies!) Be sure to sift your powdered sugar if you want the smoothest icing!
Once I knew Ellen’s “hero cookie,” I asked her…
Where she was eating it? What has just happened and what’s going to happen next?
“I’m eating this cookie at home with my family for the holidays. I just finished my training ride and my mom took these cookies out of the oven and I am having one of them as a treat. I’ll probably have a few more until I have a proper stomach ache, haha. Up next, I will head to Nationals or back to Europe to continue racing, with a bit of family time as a refuel.”
I hope that this cookie recipe is all of that for you, Ellen, and for all of you looking for an allergen-friendly pocket treat! Enjoy!
Gluten-and-Dairy-Free Maple Glazed Cookies
makes 24 cookies
- 1 cup oat flour
- 1 1/2 cup gluten-free cup for cup flour such as Bob’s Red Mill
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup vegan butter such as Mykonos
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp maple extract
- 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (optional)
- for the maple glaze:
- 1 1/2 Tbsp vegan butter, melted
- 3 1/2 tsp maple syrup
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted to eliminate lumps
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp warm water, to thin
- Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt and baking soda. Whisk to combine.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric hand mixer, beat together the vegan butter and the brown sugar until light and fluffy, roughly 3-4 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
- Add the egg and maple extract to the butter mixture, and beat to combine. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again.
- Add the flours and pecans to the butter mixture and mix to combine completely, 1-2 minutes, until a cohesive batter forms.
- Scoop the dough out onto the prepared cookie sheet using a small ice cream scoop or heaping tablespoon, making sure there’s an inch of space around each cookie.
- Refridgerate the cookie dough for 60-90 minutes to make sure that the flours hydrate and the butter cools.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Make sure that the cookies are evenly spaced on the cookie sheet, at least 1-inch apart.
- Bake the cookies until just golden, 8-10 minutes, turning the pan once to make sure the bake evenly. Then remove from the oven.
- Cool the cookies on a cooling rack. While the cookies cool, make your maple glaze!
- To make the glaze: combine the sifted powdered sugar, water, maple syrup, salt and melted butter in a small bowl. Whisk to combine until a silky frosting forms.
- Dip each cookie into the glaze, shaking to remove any excess. Allow the frosting to set up 10-15 minutes, then ENJOY!
- Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 4 days (if they last that long,) but are best enjoyed fresh!