Oktoberfest Beer Cookies
Oom pah pah! This weekend marked the official start of Oktoberfest, the German harvest (and beer) festival. Yes, it sounds like it should be held in October, but that's because the first one was. The original Oktoberfest, held in 1810, celebrated the wedding of the Bavarian Crown Prince. It must have been some wedding, because the celebration became an annual tradition, and was prolonged to start in mid-September to ensure better weather. Since we are unable to pick up and fly to Munich for a party, we feel especially fortunate that our friends, the Zs, have an annual Oktoberfest right here in Connecticut.
Creamed butter and sugar
Some of the other ingredients
The Zs are great cooks, which you can tell when you read the menu. They offered partygoers such as ourselves a feast of traditional German goodies like sweet onion dip, homemade soft pretzels, grilled vegetables, bratwurst with sauerkraut, baked ham, potato salad and cooked red cabbage. Many of the guests brought dessert, and that's where our Oktoberfest Beer Cookies come in (although people were eating them well before dessert).
The beer and honey is almost reduced
In the spirit of the day, we decided to try making cookies with beer. We found an interesting recipe on Food Network and made our cookies with Shocktop Belgian White. This particular beer has flavors of coriander and orange peel, so these same ingredients are added to the batter. These not-too-sweet beer-in-cookie-form treats were crisp on the outside with a cakey inside texture. We didn't bother with icing but instead used some of the honey-beer reduction as a light glaze. Also, you will note there is no salt in the recipe; the beer has some in it and adding some will make them too salty.
Tablespoons of batter staggered on parchment-lined sheets
Surely, you could experiment with different beer flavors and spices and get some amazing results. If you do, do let us know with a comment!
Oktoberfest Beer Cookies
(adapted from Food Network's White Beer Cookies, makes about 3 dozen cookies)
2 12-ounce bottles beer (we used Shocktop Belgian White)
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
1-2 drops orange oil
1 1/2 tablespoons dried Valencia orange peel (or zest of one medium orange)
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Place beer and honey in a medium saucepan and allow to reduce over medium heat until there's about 1/2 cup left (this can take a while, so be patient; you'll know it's about there when the mixture is extremely foamy like in the picture above). Allow the reduction to cool to room temperature. While it is cooking, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (we do this in a stand mixer). Add and completely incorporate the egg. Then add the vanilla, orange oil, orange peel, coriander, and 1/3 cup of the cooled beer reduction. Blend thoroughly. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour and baking soda, then slowly add these dry ingredients to the batter. Preheat oven to 350 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto parchment-lined sheets without crowding (about 12 per sheet is good). Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool. Drizzle with remaining beer reduction.
Baked and glazed!