Is that a mushroom in my cookie?

I know what you’re thinking…mushrooms!? In a cookie? Get out!

Let me explain. I’m not suggesting you go out and purchase a crate of portabellas and throw them into cookie batter all willy nilly. I’m talking about a certain kind of mushroom: the candy cap. Grown in the Pacific Northwest these beauties once dried, carry with them a sweet smell a lot like maple syrup. It’s actually quite a strong maple syrup smell so be sure to keep these stored in a tightly sealed container unless you want everything in your cupboard reeking of the sweet stuff.

Being that I live in Brooklyn -not California – I bet you’re wondering how I got my hands on such a rare ‘shroom. I must admit I have a source: my dear friend Joe’s been supplying me with the finest funghi harvested by hand from Chef Jon Pisto and American mycologist David Arora of Monterey. Don’t have a west coast hook up? Order them online here.

Taking a few liberties I put a bit of a spin on the original recipe Joe gave me. And herewith:

Amy’s Irresistible Mushroom Cookies

1 cup candy cap mushrooms
10 oz. (2 ½ sticks) butter, divided
1 cup sugar
1 egg
½ t vanilla extract
1 T maple syrup
2 ½ cups AP flour
2 cups pecans, toasted and finely chopped

Place the mushrooms in ½ cup of lukewarm water to rehydrate. After about 15 minutes, remove the mushrooms from the water and chop finely. Save the liquid for the time being.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sauté the mushrooms in a nonstick skillet with ample butter (start with a few tablespoons). Sauté until soft and no longer bitter. You may need to vary how much butter and water you use depending on your batch of mushrooms. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream 2 sticks (8 oz.) of butter with 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Follow with the vanilla and maple syrup. Stream in the flour and reserved candy caps. Mix until combined. Portion out small spoonfuls – roll in the toasted pecans and gently smoosh (technical baking term) them onto prepared sheet pans. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bottoms begin to brown slightly.

Yield: about 24 – 30 2” cookies

Earthy yet sweet. Soft, crumbly and crunchy – quite the cookie. Make them for your friends and see if they can guess the hidden ingredient – it’s a fun game to play.