Monday, April 1, 2013
Belgian White Beer Cookies
Um, yes I did. And they are amazing. Like seriously not what I expected and totally better than I would have thought. I was faced with a challenge to make these cookies and to that I said, "Challenge accepted." Soft and lightly sweetened with a reduction of honey and beer, these cookies let the citrus notes and honey flavor shine with a slightly crisp edge and a surprisingly soft cookie interior. I was a little worried when I didn't see any coriander in my spice rack and wondered if I could substitute something that would still be appropriate for cookies. Guess what? There is no substitute for coriander. So you have to bribe your husband to go out to the grocery store at 8 pm when he just wants to sit on the couch but since he's easily bribed by the cookies (which need the coriander to make), it all works out. So really, you don't need a substitute. (Except when you realize a week later that you did have coriander and now you need to make another batch of cookies for your husband to make up for sending him to the grocery store when you didn't really need to go. Yeah, that may or may not have happened.)
It's Foodie Pen Pal time again and I was particularly jazzed about it this month. (Well, actually last month. But since the last day of March was a Sunday, Lindsay moved to to today, even though it's April. It's cool, don't sweat it._. Every month I look forward to Foodie Pen Pals, a concept thought up by Lindsay over at the Lean Green Bean. Go visit her blog to learn how to join--bloggers and non-bloggers are welcome! Each month you'll have a chance to send a box full of goodies to on foodie while receiving a box from another foodie. It's a great way to try new things and meet new people. This month, my excitement first came when I got a chance to get to know Suzi at Ok, just one more beer..., who genuinely inspired me to get back on track with my healthy eating plan. See, Suzi was a weight loss success launched into the national spotlight after emerging from her weight loss journey at half her size. Since then, like most people, she's had challenges and has regained weight. I've been there (not the national spotlight thing, the regaining thing) and in reading Suzi's posts, I saw the frustration and the commitment to beat the frustration and get healthy that helped me get my butt in gear. So when I asked Suzi what kinds of cookies she liked, she joked, "Do they make beer cookies?" and I knew exactly what I needed to do.
My second bit of excitement came from Kristi, a blog reader from Nebraska who sent me a pretty sweet package. A mix of sweet and savory, each item I took out of the box made me more and more thrilled. A package of Love Crunch granola that I've been stirring into my yogurt for a delicious breakfast; fruit snacks, chocolates and a dark chocolate covered cherries; a tasty rub for summer grilling; Dorothy Lynch homestyle salad dressing which is like a cross between French, Catalina and Italian dressings; and a jar of locally made pasta sauce which was amazing with some broccoli and fontina raviolis we pick up in our CSA recently. Thank you so much for the awesome package, Kristi!
Getting back to these cookies. Wow, they are awesome and actually really easy. The recipe from Jess posted on Food Republic was a great first choice for a beer cookie. I used Blue Moon as my Belgian white beer and reducing it down with the honey created an almost molasses-like syrup that made the whole house smell like honey (you were expecting me to say beer, huh?). It takes a while to reduce, but it's totally worth it. I skipped the orange glaze (my favorite kind) because frankly these were sweet enough as is and I think the honey-beer essence would have been lost on the sugar sweet topping. I'm anxious to try a different type of beer cookie, once I find a good, flavorful craft brew that will lend itself to the cause. Maybe a Harpoon Raspberry UFO cookie? Until then, I've still got some Blue Moon in the six pack to make more of these beer cookies.
Belgian White Beer Cookies
24 ounces Belgian white beer (Blue Moon or similar)
5 Tablespoons honey
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon orange zest
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
In a medium saucepan, combine beer and honey. Heat over medium heat and reduce, skimming foam occasionally, until you have about 1/3 cup of syrupy liquid. This can take about 45 minutes.
Cool honey-beer mixture to room temperature.
In a stand mixer, cream together butter and powdered sugar. Add egg and blend to incorporate. Then add vanilla, orange zest and coriander and mix to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour and baking soda, then gradually add to creamed mixture, stirring to incorporate all of the flour.
Using a small cookie scoop, drop dough onto parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden on the edges. Turn baking sheet 180 degrees halfway through. If using more than one sheet at a time, rotate positions in the oven for more even baking.
Remove from oven and cool on pans for 5-10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
Store in an airtight container or freeze.
Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.
The Cookie Princess
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