Thursday, September 11, 2014

Glazed Sweet Potato Pie Cookies

Google (or Bing if that is your preference) the question, "What to do with leftover sweet potato" and you will receive over 28,000 responses. Make a pie. Fix a casserole. Prepare a quick bread or whip up a batter for a cake. Some cooks even suggest forming the mash into little patties and frying them in copious amounts of butter. Or you could become your very own Paula Deen and turn those spuds (or yams) into biscuits.
As tantalizing as those options sound I knew I wasn't looking for another cake, a quick or slow bread or even a pie. Today I wanted to mold dough, whisk a glaze and create a cookie! The only trouble with this baking adventure was the lack of recipes featuring both a cookie and sweet potato and glaze. I saw a few chocolate chip sweet potato cookies that touted, "butter free, gluten free, healthy!" I eat healthy. I am a big fan of healthy. But my dessert loving family prefers their sweets not healthy. They like the gluten, the sugar and most certainly the butter!
So the chocolate chip cookies were out.
Finally I fell upon Sweet Potato Pie Cookies with Orange Glaze. I looked at the picture. Not the tantalizing image I was hoping for. I read the ingredients. Sugar, butter, flour, cinnamon, more sugar, more butter - all the necessities were there. I read the reviews. Five stars and rave reviews with few substitutions or tweaks from the bakers. Still I was hesitant to give this recipe a try. I did more searching for other recipes but kept coming up short. I turned back to the Sweet Potato Pie Cookies and decided to give them a try with the hope that I wouldn't be wasting a massive amount of ingredients and time.
So I put out a stick of butter and one egg to bring them to room temperature. I measured out a cup of leftover sweet potato and pulled out my sugars, spices, flour and vanilla extract. As I beat the ingredients into a moist dough I started noticing the scent of the sweet potato, all spice and sugar. It was divine. The consistency looked perfect, too. Not too thick and not too thin, perfect for shaping cookies. The color was even perfect for the fall season. My heaping tablespoons of dough looked like the rich brown of a leaf in its final stages of change before it is due to fall to the earth.
I said a prayer and popped my cookies in the oven set at 375 (convection - a must for proper browning of cookies). Twelve minutes later I pulled out the first sheet of cookies to find a golden crisp forming on the edges and a perfectly puffy top rising in my oven. And that scent! It had gained sweetness and deliciousness in those twelve minutes spent baking in the oven.
As soon as the cookies were cool enough to eat I employed my trusty taste tester (Mom) and waited with baited breath for a verdict. Success. The cookies were not a disaster! The ingredients were not wasted! The cookies were edible, even satisfying and scrumptious!
For the glaze, at the request of my taste tester, I decided to forgo the recipe's suggested orange flavor in lieu of maple and vanilla. I don't have a precise recipe for the glaze. I can tell you this much, it started with a lot of browned butter, confectioners sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla and then an undocumented amount of maple syrup and heavy cream. For that combination I must give credit to my official taste tester who had a sudden stroke of baking desire and took over in the completion of the glazing process.

From the creation of leftovers turned cookies I learned a lesson: trust the recipe. I was so concerned that the cookies wouldn't turn out. I vacillated over whether or not to give them a try and almost went in an entirely different baking direction. But in the end I decided to trust the developer of the recipe. And I'm glad I did.
Much like with baking, with Christ I have a choice: trust the author of life (the ultimate recipe developer) or rely on my own (very limited) understanding. Just like when it comes to baking, I will be better off to put my confidence in the instructions and follow them precisely. It is in heading the directive of Christ that I will get the best results.
I'm not a recipe developer for cookies or the developer of the best plans for my life. That's why it is best that I leave both the recipe instructions and the life instructions to those who know best. For Sweet Potato Pie Cookies that would be the Food Network website's Patrick and Gina Needly. In life that would be God.
The lesson is a simple one: trust and obey. As the little song goes, "trust and obey for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey."

Ready to take a leap of faith and trust an out-of-the-ordinary recipe? Try sweet potato cookies. Here's the recipe I used for the cookie:

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