The idea for these cookies came after I saw a post for Blue Moon Cupcakes which sent my mind straight to the applauded memory of margarita cookies and bourbon soaked pumpkin bread pudding. I've come to find that people like alcoholic desserts, espeically college-aged people. The truth about desserts with alcohol in them is most of the time you are using a minuscule amount for flavor (i.e. never enough to get you drunk), but it's still fun to put tequila in your baked goods. Alcoholic flavors offer a complex and unusual taste when they are incorporated into sweets. Ever since I turned 21, I've been trying to explore a world outside of Natty Light and Smirnoff. How ever did I wean myself off the sensuality of Captain Morgan and PBR you ask? With an exploration of beer. Beer is the one genre of alcohol that I truly enjoy drinking. This is especially impressive for me because don't drink coffee, soda, fruit juices, and most teas and sports drinks. Water on the rocks for me please! Because of my interest of beer, I decided that a beer cookie should be my next exploration on the alcoholic treat frontier.
Turns out my timing was impeccable. I started working on a recipe for "Once in a Blue Moon Cookies" and two days later realized I needed to make a birthday treat for my friend who happens to be of Belgian heritage. What better 21st birthday baked good than a cookie made with Belgian Beer!! Although I wrote my own recipe for this cookie, I was unfamiliar with many of the techniques used to make them and thus on this first round stuck close to the original recipe with only a few minor modifications. I am happy with the result but definitely see ways to inject my own flair into the next batch.
These cookies first involved reducing two 12oz bottles of beer to 1/3 cup of liquid. I had never done a reduction before and it saddened me to waste beer but in the end it was worth it. The reduction reminded me of caramel sauce and stayed at a perpetual state of not-quite-liquid and almost-solid. It was easy to make but incredibly difficult to clean up. Of course, I probably make more of a mess than the average person, you should be fine! The beer flavor only subtlety came through in the cookie whereas the strongest flavors were orange zest and coriander. The combination made for an interesting and different taste. The other new technique I came across was using powdered sugar instead of granulated in a cookie recipe. I believe the effect was a fluffier cookie and I will definitely be taking this experience with it into account when engineering future recipes. Overall, this was a unique cookie that I plan on making again!
Once in a Blue Moon Cookies
Adapted From: The Food Network
2 bottles (12 ounces each) Blue Moon beer
5 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium orange, zested
1/8 teaspoon orange extract
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-Put the beer and honey to a medium saucepan and reduce over medium heat until you have about 1/3 cup of liquid. You will occasionally have to skim the foam off the top of the beer. You will know you have hit 1/3 of a cup of liquid as the liquid will suddenly begin to aggressively foam due to the high concentration of sugar. Let this reduction cool to room temperature.
-Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and blend thoroughly.
-Next add the vanilla, orange zest, orange extract, coriander, and beer reduction and blend again.
-In another small bowl, mix the flour and baking soda together then slowly add to the batter.
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and scoop tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. They will spread to about 2"
-Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are golden
-Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet until they are cool enough to transfer to wire racks to cool completely.