Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat oven to 350°; moderately butter cookie sheets.
In a 3-quart saucepan, melt the butter and set aside to cool to tepid.
Strain together the flour, salt, and baking soda; set aside.
Using a wooden spoon, add the maple syrup to the butter, mixing well.
Blend in the egg, orange juice, and maple and vanilla extracts.
Whisk in the sugars, stirring until well combined and free of lumps.
Stir in the dry ingredients in three additions, then fold in the nuts with a large rubber spatula.
Using the tip of a teaspoon, drop mounds of dough the size of large walnuts onto the cookie sheets, placing them 2 inches apart.
Bake for 12-14 minutes, until the edges just begin to brown, rotating the pans top to bottom and front to back toward the end of the baking time.
Remove from oven and let stand for 2-3 minutes before loosening with a thin metal spatula; cool on wire racks.
Store in airtight containers, layered between strips of wax paper, for up to 3 weeks; cookies may be frozen.
*Rustic Maple Pecan Date Cookies--reduced chopped pecans to 3/4 cup; measure 1 cup loosely packed dates cut into 1/4 inch dice and toss them into 1 teaspoon flour to prevent them from sticking together; mix dates with the pecans and proceed as directed.