Baking with my favorite type of beer has resulted in my favorite Oktoberfest recipe thus far. I love lambics, and these chocolate cherry cookies baked with cherry lambic have made me quite happy. Oh, they are stuffed with sweet cream cheese too. Now that I have your attention…
I first encountered a lambic not in a bar but in an ice cream shop. Jeni’s Cherry Lambic Sorbet changed my world. Despite that, cherry happens to be my least favorite lambic (I prefer the peach or raspberry). The cherry taste is, in the words of my beer school classmates, slightly reminiscent of Robitussin. That said, I have never a bad experience when chocolate and cherries come together.
I had a very difficult time selecting a recipe to make with this beer. My knee-jerk reaction was to make a sauce, so I vowed to stay away from that comfort zone. Chocolate-cherry anything just made sense, but I just was not feeling Cherry Lambic Browines, gorgeous as they are. A Kriek Cabbage recipe intrigued me, but I kept looking until I happened upon some cookies. Sold.
I used the recipe I found as a guide, halving ingredients, upping the amount of lambic and generally behaving like a cowboy in the kitchen. At one point I realized I added baking powder instead of baking soda. I went back and added the soda, made a little wish, and rather shockingly, all turned out well.
The dough is very sticky and must – allow me to repeat, must – be chilled to hold its shape in the oven. Because I was experimenting here, the recipe has a fairly small yield, though the cookies are very good sized. Their taste reminds me of Little Debbie Fudge Rounds. Did you ever eat those?
To get an idea on the best way to stuff the cookies, there are very nice pictures of Stuffed Snickerdoodles available for viewing at Cookies & Cups.
When I was in the store buying my bottled heaven, the girl who took my money remarked, “That’s a good choice.” She went on to tell me that she likes to pour an inch or two of cherry lambic in a glass, then top it off with a witte beer like Hoegaarden. For a different mixed drink that combines lambic with a fall-favorite – whiskey – try a Bloodied Belgian.
There are a number of sour beer varieties out there, though none ever caught my eye before beer school. Given I encountered my first sour while ordering ice cream, that should probably not come as a major surprise.
There are Flanders’ red and brown ales. Lambics themselves are actually used to make other sours, like Gueuze. And faros are sweetened lambics. These beers are members of the larger Belgian beer family.
These beers have higher price points because they are costly too produce. I do not remember the specific details, but basically brewers start out with a lot of liquid that is reduced over the course of aging these beers. Since there is so much less at the end than what went in at the beginning, they cost a pretty penny when all is said and done.
There is also a lot of yeast (and maybe some magic) involved in making these beers. In different areas of Belgium, the wort is left out to combine with wild yeast cells in the air. This leads to spontaneous fermentation that is a hallmark of these beers.
To learn more about lambics, you can always visit Lindeman’s website. Though I can not tell you more (much?) about beer, I can tell you how to bake a good cookie. So with that, enjoy!
- Day 1: German Beers & Pretzels
- Day 2: Belgian Beers & Soup
- Day 3: Dark Beers & Chocolate Stout Bread
- Day 4: Lagers, Ales & Huevos Rancheros
- Day 5: Beer Spiced Cupcakes
- Day 6: Sours & Cherry Lambic Cookies
- Day 7: IPAs & Beer Battered Apples
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup cherry lambic
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- For the Filling
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Place the lambic and the dried cherries in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat once the liquid has been reduced to two tablespoons.
- While the liquid and cherries cool, cream the butter and sugar.
- Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat until smooth.
- Beat in the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Fold in the dried cherries, the two tablespoons of the reduced liquid and the mini chocolate chips.
- Refrigerate the dough overnight or place in the freezer until firm.
- While the cookie dough is chilling, prepare the filling.
- Beat the cream cheese, the sugar and the vanilla together until fully combined and slightly fluffy.
- Refrigerate at least 15 minutes before using to fill the cookies.
- When ready to bake, scoop one heaping tablespoon of cookie dough and gently press to flatten. Repeat this step to make an additional disc of dough.
- Place one teaspoon of filling onto one of the pieces of dough, then top with the other and pinch the edges together while gently forming into a ball.
- Return the formed cookies to the freezer for at least 15 minutes. They should be firm and no longer sticky before baking.
- Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes. The edges of the cookies will appear lightly browned and the centers will be set.
- Place on wire rack to cool.
It is imperative to chill this dough in order for the cookies to hold their shape.