Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Beer and Pretzel Cookies

Football season officially kicks off this weekend and I would like nothing more than to kick back with my feet up, beer in one hand and a salty snack in the other, while I cheer on my team and complain about my fantasy team results. Unfortunately, being 6 months pregnant means one of those things has to go. So instead, how about replacing that cold, frosty brew AND the salty snack with this cookie that also brings in some sweetness? The beer in these cookies reduces down and the alcohol is cooked off, so they can be enjoyed for flavor when your drinking mug is sidelined. The cookies are hefty but soft and the pairing of dark beer with sweet, chewy cookies, a bit of chocolate and some salty pretzels is exactly what I could handle as an arm chair quarterback. these cookies made the rounds--some for my brother for his birthday and some for Dave's cousin, Mike, and his wife Donna when we visited them after their son was born. I mean, cause when you have a baby you deserve cookies (HINT HINT). And if you're curious, the answer is no, you can't use a beer other than a stout. Number one, stout just has more flavor when you reduce it down, so you really get the essence that this recipe is going for. And b) stout and chocolate are made for each other. True fact.

Shelly at Cookies and Cups makes my heart swoon at nearly every one of her recipes, but this one caught my eye for a while as I thought about all the things I could make with the Guinness in the fridge. Since I bought a bunch to make Irish Triple Threat Cupcakes and then Dave proceeded to drink what he had on tap. So these cookies needed to be made. Now, what had happened was I measured out the amount of beer I needed to make the reduction for the batter and then I measured out the extra 2 Tablespoons for the ganache (Dave did drink the rest). I set the measuring cup with the reserved beer on the counter and went about making the rest of the recipe. I got all of the cookies baked and cooling and as I was tidying up to make the ganache, boom--all the reserved beer spilled onto the counter contaminated with flour, brown sugar and who knows what other mess from my counter (I'm a terribly messy cook). Heartbroken, I thought about opening another can of Guinness just to get my 2 Tablespoons, but of course I didn't want to waste the rest of it. Dave offered to drink it, but I could tell he wasn't interested (he likes a certain set up for his Guinness consumption, not a random, hot as blazes Sunday afternoon when he's in the middle of stuff). But then my smarts came over me and I remembered, from having just baked a bunch of the Irish Triple Threat Cupcakes for a bridal shower, there was a bunch of the Jameson ganache in the fridge! So technically these are Beer and Whiskey and Pretzel Cookies. But since I won't put in the directions to spill your reserved beer on the counter, I've included Shelly's instructions for the beer infused ganache. Otherwise I followed Shelly's recipe and following that, ate several of these tasty bits. And now I'm sad I shared so many because I kind of want more.

Beer and Pretzel Cookies


12 ounces stout beer, divided
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons butter, room temperature, divided
1 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
2 eggs, room temperature
2 cups flour
2 cups quick oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup pretzels, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup heavy cream
pretzel twists for garnish

Measure out 2 Tablespoons stout and set aside. Pour beer into a saucepan and place over medium heat. Simmer to reduce to about 2-3 Tablespoons, about 20-30 minutes. Beer will foam at first, so adjust the heat or stir as needed. Remove from heat and cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a large bowl with a hand held mixer), beat 1 cup butter until creamy, then add brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, scraping sides of bowl as needed.

Reduce speed and add espresso powder, eggs, and reduced stout, one at a time. Increase speed and beat to incorporate for another minute or two.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir until just combined.

Stir in crushed pretzels and 1 cup chocolate chips until incorporated throughout. Cover and chill dough for 2 hours or overnight.

Before removing dough from fridge, prepare ganache by bringing heavy cream and remaining 2 Tablespoons of butter to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once boiling, remove from heat and whisk in remaining chocolate chips until melted and smooth. Stir in reserved stout until combined. Cover and chill for at least an hour, up to two.

Remove dough from fridge and using a medium cookie scoop, drop dough onto parchment or Silpat lined baking sheets. Slightly flatten dough balls with the palm of your hand.

Bake cookies at 350 degrees F for 8-10 minutes, until just set and edges are gently golden.  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 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Once cooled, spread a layer of ganache over cookie and top with a pretzel twist. Allow to set before stacking in an airtight container to keep.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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