These tender cookies use a concentrated spiced holiday ale and orange zest to create a dough that can be rolled thick and cut into all kinds of fun holiday shapes. They are perfectly enjoyable as they are, but feel free to decorate them with your favorite frosting. Choose a winter-warmer style with an IBU of less than 40 with notes of holiday spice.
- 12 ounces holiday ale
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar Cookies
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon orange zest
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of ground black pepper
- Pinch of ground clove
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Note: Plan ahead. The beer is reduced to concentrate the flavor. This process can take 30 to 45 minutes. The dough will need to rest in the fridge for an hour. Once cut, the trays will also need to sit in the freezer for 10 minutes. (It’s a great trick for helping the cookies keep their shape and clean edges during baking.)
- To make the reduction, stir together the beer and brown sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium to maintain a heavy simmer to a very low boil. Continue to cook, stirring often, until the beer reduces to about 1½ ounces, 30 to 45 minutes. Watch the beer closely as it nears its full reduction as it can burn if not stirred often. Set aside to cool completely.
- Stir together the flour, orange zest, salt, allspice, nutmeg, pepper, and clove in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Blend together the butter, ½ cup brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer on medium-high until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Mix in the egg, and then the beer reduction and vanilla. The batter may look slightly lumpy. With the mixer on low, gradually add the dry ingredients. Mix on medium until combined into a ball of dough.
- Divide the dough into two equal balls and transfer each to a sheet of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disk and wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
- Roll out each disk on a floured surface to ½ inch thickness. Cut with desired shapes. Transfer the cookies to an ungreased baking sheet, at least 1 inch apart. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for 10 minutes. Form dough scraps back into one disk, refrigerate until you are ready to roll, cut, freeze, and bake.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the cookies for 14 minutes, until the edges are slightly browned. Remove from the oven. Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
- Beers to consider: Great Lakes Brewing Company Christmas Ale, Thirsty Dog Brewing Company 12 Dogs of Christmas Ale
- Note: This recipe also appears in "Food on Tap: Cooking with Craft Beer" from author Lori Rice