Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pumpkin maple beer... cookies!!! (And What's Baking?: October)

Oh get excited, people!!

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!

 These cookies are heavily inspired by the above link, which was made by Sean LaFond from IL. He was on a cookie bake-off on the food network, back when they actually cooked/baked (I have to say, now that the Hallmark Channel lined up is completely messed up changed with the Martha Stewart Empire moving elsewhere (no, I'm not bitter), I'm watching a lot more Food Network, and they actually COOK during the day. Amazing! The resurgence of cooking interesting food in this house is probably due to this). Mr. LaFond, 4 years ago when this was on, was a guy who looked around my age (but according to my coworkers, I look 7 years younger than I am, so who knows) and he was a food scientist. Of course, when I heard this, never having heard of a food scientist before (but the bio-to-biochem switch back in college was earth-shattering enough for me), I was like OOOH SCIENTIST WHO WORKS WITH FOOD AWESOME. Because seriously, it is. Now if only I could find a way to make this switch myself! Maybe I should take some nutrition classes at the community college.

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.

I modified Sean's original recipe by reducing the butter, adding pumpkin, subbing maple syrup for honey and changing the spices. I had to add additional flour to make up for the pumpkin. The texture is slightly different, they don't spread as much (from the butter reduction?) and they're cakier/fluffier (from the pumpkin). My next attempt might be using apple sauce instead of pumpkin for apple beer cookies. Or maybe using hard cider instead of beer. You see how my mind works

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 egg
1/4 cup + 2T pumpkin puree
1t vanilla
1t cinnamon
1/2t ginger
1/2t allspice
1/2t nutmeg
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.

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
2T milk
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.

1 comment:

Eva said...

Wow - these sound amazing! I've been sampling pumpkin beers this season, and these cookies sound like a great way to use some of the seasonal beer in baking! Thanks for participating in What's Baking this month!