Chocolate Spice Christmas Ale Cookies
by Ann LoParo, owner of Annie’s Signature Sweets
“The molasses and honey bring a smooth richness to the cookie, while the cinnamon and ginger give it a little bit of spice and heat,” says Ann LoParo. “The richness and spice are perfect for colder months.”
Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 degrees if using a convection oven). Melt 1/2 stick unsalted butter and 12 ounces semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely, (or 2 cups mini chocolate chips) in a microwave-safe bowl or double boiler, being careful not to burn the chocolate. If using the microwave, start at 60 seconds and add 30 additional seconds as needed until fully melted.
Set aside. In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/4 cup Christmas Ale, and mix until fully incorporated. Add 1 tablespoon ground ginger, 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, and mix until fully combined. Carefully stir in melted chocolate until fully combined. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes before scooping and baking. Scoop with a 1/4 cup measuring cup or cookie scoop and leave at least 3 inches in between each cookie. Bake for approximately 10-14 minutes. Cool completely.
Christmas Ale Drop Cookies
by Ryan Matthew Boone, chef/owner of FatBoy Sammies
Ryan Matthew Boone’s take on the Christmas Ale cookie takes everything into consideration — the spices and the carbonation. “I built this recipe around showcasing the interesting sweetness and spice of Christmas Ale, as well as highlighting the malty toasty notes a great craft beer brings to baking,” he says.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine 2 bottles or cans of Christmas Ale and 1/4 cup honey in a saucepan. Reduce on medium/low until 1/3 of the liquid, or about 1 cup, remains. (This takes around 30 minutes.) Let cool to room temperature. With a mixer, cream 1-1/2 sticks unsalted, room temperature butter, cubed, 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed, on high. When creamed, add 1 egg and a dash of vanilla, and mix on high. Scrape sides and mix again. In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 1/8 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ginger, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add half of your dry mix to your creamed wet mix while your mixer is on low. Incorporate until smooth. Add in your Christmas Ale syrup. Mix evenly. Then add in the remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Mix in 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional). Let dough chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. The dough will seem looser than traditional cookie dough. Drop golfball-sized scoops onto parchment-lined baking trays and bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Natasha’s Christmas Ale Cookies
by Natasha Pogrebinsky, executive chef at The South Side and Hi & Dry
“The sweet notes in the ale add another layer, a subtle sweetness that is more complex than just sugar,” says Natasha Pogrebinsky. “Hints of bitterness that are natural in beer help balance the flavors. A well-balanced cookie makes it easier to eat more of!”
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Chop 3 cups pecans into 1⁄4-inch pieces, place in a mixing bowl and spray with pan spray. Fold in 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon Cajun seasoning. Place the nuts on a sheet tray, spread out in a single layer, and toast 10 minutes in the oven. Remove and set aside to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 8 tablespoons unsalted, softened butter and 1 cup brown sugar, beat on medium speed until creamy. Add 1 egg and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or vanilla); continue to beat on medium speed. Add 1/4 cup Christmas Ale and beat until well-combined. Add 3/4 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 2 cups all-purpose flour and 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch to the mixer. Beat until combined. Fold in 1⁄2 of the spiced nuts and let the dough sit for 3 minutes to rest. Scoop out 1-inch balls of dough onto baking sheets lined with lightly greased parchment paper. Place each dough ball about 1-1/2 inches apart. Chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. In a medium saucepan, combine 1⁄2 cup Christmas Ale and 1/4 cup maple syrup. Bring to a boil while stirring and reduce to a simmer. Continue to simmer on medium heat while stirring until the reduction becomes smooth and thick, like molasses. Set aside.
To make frosting, beat together 2 cups powdered sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted, softened butter, 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 teaspoon reduced Christmas Ale mixture, and 1 tablespoon maple syrup until creamy and smooth. Frost cooled cookies and sprinkle with remaining spiced nuts.