For this recipe eleven gluten-free cookie tasters jumped into the challenge. Here is a sample of taster comments from the Maple Pecan shortbread test.
Cookie 1: Dry texture, nutty flavor. The texture was a bit dry and left a gritty residue in your mouth after swallowing the cookie. It was densest of all the cookies. It had great flavor and was the most pleasing aesthetically as it had a perfectly round, smooth shape.
Cookie 2: Light, flaky, buttery and soft. The flavor was of browned butter. It had a less gritty aftertaste than cookie 1 and melted in our mouths. We loved the buttery flavor of this cookie and the light, flaky texture. This was our favorite of all three.
Cookie 3: Crispy, maple flavor. It was the dryest and tasted like a biscuit-cookie. It had a gritty aftertaste similar to Cookie 1.
Overall, we liked cookie 2 the best by far. We enjoyed them all, but it was easy to choose cookie 2 as our favorite. I think second place would go to cookie 3. Although cookie 3 was the least pleasing to look at (kind of bumpy and a darker brown color than the others), it had a better flavor than cookie 1.
C1 liked the pecan flavor, a bit gluey in the tooth.
C2 too short, notice the graininess more, mild pecan flavor.
C3 best crunch, not too short, didn't notice the grain as much, good flavor. Winner.
But for all 3 where is the maple? It didn't stand out, Maybe use real maple sugar and syrup for the flavor one dreams of. A premium product is worth the cost of the ingredients. For a different fat combo, a tad of coconut oil with the butter?
#1 crisper, a little bit dry - perfect for dunking in tea, nice maple flavor
#2 light, crumbly, not too sweet, with a nice shortbread flavor, nice with tea (no dunking)
#3 nice sugar texture which disintegrated with each chew, good flavor, not too sweet, with a light caramel flavor finish.
Recipes #2 and #3 each have good and great ingredients, proportions and attributes. I will combine the great ingredients from those recipes and create one new great Maple Pecan shortbread.
The new recipe will contain most of the proportions of recipe #2 with two exceptions; the honey will be replaced by the brown sugar of recipe #3 and the maple syrup will be replaced by the maple extract of #3. The total liquid of recipe #2 will be decreased based on these two changes which should strength the composition of new recipe (and reduce the crumbliness as noted by the tasters. Looking at it from the perspective of changes to recipe #3, butter is being increased slightly in the new recipe, sugar decreases (one taster noted #3 was a bit too sweet), decreases the flour a bit (adds a little shortness and butter flavor) and significantly increases the pecans. I think we're in for a great new cookie! Details of recipe and instructions will arrive in a new blog post soon.