It’s always an open question whether a new holiday tradition will take root. One that’s worth cheering on is the Lift Bridge Brewing Co. Biscotti Release and Bake-Off, which debuted Dec. 17 at the brewery’s Stillwater taproom. The event combined a release of the brewery’s holiday Biscotti Belgian-style ale (reviewed here) with a juried cookie baking contest overseen by a panel of judges that included our own Becca Dilley. As was appropriate to the setting, contestants were encouraged (but not required) to use beer in their recipes.
Among the best of the cookies were the Chocolate Cherry Lambic Crinkles, which were sufficiently addictive to persuade even beer- and cookie-logged judges to come back for a second and even third bite. Tender in texture, deep and complicated (but harmonious!) in flavor, they accomplished the difficult trick of getting the tartness of fruit to play nicely with the depth of coffee and chocolate.
With the permission of the contestants, we’re pleased to share the Crinkles recipe here today, along with the People’s Choice award (Cranberry Hootycreeks) and another highly ranked recipe, Molasses Porter Spice Crisps.
Chocolate Cherry Lambic Crinkles (Judges’ favorite)
by Laura Maupin
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso or very finely ground espresso beans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons cherry lambic, reduced from approximately 2/3 cup
Confectioners’ sugar, for coating
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well combined; mix in cooled chocolate. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix in reduced lambic until just combined. Flatten dough into a disk; wrap in plastic.
Freeze until firm, about 45 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Pour confectioners’ sugar (about 1/2 cup) into a medium bowl; working in batches, roll balls in sugar two times, letting them sit in sugar between coatings.
3. Place on prepared baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies have spread and coating is cracked, 12 to 14 minutes; cookies will still be soft to the touch. Cool cookies on a wire rack.
Cranberry Hootycreeks (People’s Choice)
by Amy Kuelz, adapted from an allrecipes.com recipe
Regarding her modifications, Amy notes: “I combined dried tart cherries with the dried cranberries and combined this with roasted salted and unsalted pecans.”
5/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Layer the ingredients in a 1-quart or 1-liter jar, in the order listed.
Attach a tag with the following instructions: Cranberry Hootycreeks 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper. 2. In a medium bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. 3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown. Cool on baking sheets, or remove to cool on wire racks.
Molasses Porter Spice Crisps (Among the judges’ finalists)
by Kate Kielkopf
Kate notes: “I used Calabaza Obscura from RedmaupCo Brewing – but as this is only available in my neighbor’s basement, any good commercial porter will do.”
1 1/2 cups butter (no substitutes), softened
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup Pumpkin Porter or favorite variety of dark ale (reduced from 1 cup)
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Additional sugar (for rolling in) approx. 3/4 cup
1. Simmer 1 cup of dark beer until reduced to about 1/4 cup. Set aside to cool.
2. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in molasses and reduced porter. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, salt and nutmeg; gradually add to creamed mixture. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
3. Roll into 1-in. balls; roll in sugar.
4. Place 2 in. apart onto ungreased baking sheets or parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F for 8-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute on pan before removing to wire racks.