I mentioned last week I had a growler of beer. Of course, growlers need to be drunk within a few days, or the beer will go flat. When beer goes flat... well, there's not much to do with it but cook with it. And it'd been quite a long time since I last made beer cookies.
I'm also killing two birds with one stone here. Normally I wait til the end of the month to post my What's Baking? monthly bake-along post, but I'm going to be traveling between two days from now and the submission due date, so I'm doing it early. But also, this way you get the recipe sooner, and I know I have several people just itching for it!
Anyway. Mr. LaFond liked beer and he liked cookies, so he thought of an ingenious way to combine them. I was intrigued when I saw him make them, and they were good enough to get him on the show (he came in 3rd place out of the 3, though), and when I made them myself I felt they should have been at least 2nd place (the 2nd place spice cookies were quite amazing). I have made these cookies quite a few times, since they're delicious and different and no one can really figure them out unless I spill the beans.
So of course, now that I work at a winery and I have easy access to beer... it just made sense. Especially after the news came out that we had a pumpkin maple beer debuting soon. It got the wheels turning.
In any case, I'm not sure if I've modified these enough to make it an original recipe, so I will call it a "wamozart12 pseudo-original". It sounds fancier than "I changed a bunch of things but you can tell where it came from".
Maple Pumpkin Beer cookies
a wamozart12 pseudo-original
inspired by Sean LaFond's beer cookies
3 cups of beer (or 2 bottles, if you're the type to buy bottles). For my test batch I used our Oaktoberfest, for the batch pictured above I used our Heron Ale, which is a lightly hoppy, refreshing ale. I'm definitely trying this with a pumpkin beer once I get my hands on some.
5T maple syrup
10T butter, at room temp
1.25 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup + 2T pumpkin puree
2.5 cups flour
1/2t baking soda
In a medium saucepan, combine the beer and honey. Boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until it reduces down to about 1/2 cup. This takes about an hour, be patient. It's almost done when the boiling changes to look more like when you make candy, which is because the sugar has started boiling, instead of just the water. Set aside an let cool, but note that you might need to briefly heat it up again to get it out of the pan, since it will be very thick and caramel-y.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar til fluffy. Add the egg, pumpkin, beer reduction, vanilla and spices (you can use 2t pumpkin pie spice instead of the individuals. I just never have any on hand). Beat til well-combined. Whisk together the flour and baking soda, then add to the batter.
Drop tablespoonfuls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and at 350F for about 20 minutes, until they are just golden brown on the bottom edges. Cool and add an optional icing.
note: I had trouble with the ratio here. These amounts are starting points, add more liquid if the consistency isn't drizzly enough.
1 cup powdered sugar
1T maple syrup
Whisk it all together, adjust liquid or sugar if the consistency is too thick or too thin (respectively). Drizzle over cookies.
Makes about 50 cookies.
I love the odd texture of these, they're just so fluffy and light. Straight from the oven they had a nice crisp crust and are soft inside. This fades over time and they become just soft all over. They definitely have a hoppy-bitter aftertaste to them. The maple flavor isn't really noticeable (probably I need maple extract for both the icing and instead of vanilla in the cookie) and the pumpkin is very gentle but I can taste it.
And the best news: 74 calories and 2.9g fat per cookie (NOT counting the icing- although that's no fat, since I use skim milk). 10.3g carbs, 0.2g fiber, 0.9g protein.
Note on choosing a beer: by all means, use whatever you have, they'll be good! But they do have different flavors with different beers. I think I prefer the Oaktoberfest, which is a darker beer, but not hoppy and somewhat malty- probably my limit for maltiness. The Heron Ale definitely gives the cookie a bitter flavor, which isn't bad, it's just... bitter. If you love IPAs and the like you'll like that. I'm really interested in trying this with a stout, after knowing how much I like the maltiness in a cookie. The original recipe called for a witbeer and I've used that and hefeweizens, which are good in these, but perhaps a little too light for my preference. But then again, if you have non-beer drinkers to serve these two, the witbeer might be the best route for you.
Annnnnd I kind of want to try these with wine sometime. Crazy? Quite possibly.