Well, for my Cookie of the Month for March, I tried to find out if there is a cookie recipe that traces its origins to Ireland or, alternatively, a cookie that is particularly popular on the Emerald Isle. However, I had no luck in tracking down any (maybe it was lack of Irish luck!). If any of you know of a traditional Irish cookie, please do share the information.
I decided to create a special recipe and give it a distinctly Irish flavour using stout in honour of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. As you know, whenever possible, I like to feature Island products in my cooking and baking. PEI does have one brewing company that produces stout – The Island Brewing Company produces Gahan Sydney Street Stout. However, it is apparently a limited edition and is not available in local liquor stores year-round — at least I couldn’t track down any. So, instead, I opted to use Montreal-brewed St. Ambroise Oatmeal Stout because it boasts hints of espresso and chocolate. I knew I was going to be making a chocolate cookie with a hint of coffee flavour so a stout with both chocolate and coffee flavour could only enhance the cookie’s taste. Like any ingredient, moderation is the trick. My goal was to flavour the cookie with the stout and bring out the chocolate flavour – I wasn’t aiming for a beer-tasting cookie. Therefore, I used only 1 1/2 tablespoons of stout as part of the liquid ingredients.
For the chocolate, I chose to use semi-sweet squares of chocolate because I find their flavour a bit more intense than powdered cocoa. Using some brewed coffee gives these cookies a distinct mocha flavour. For interest, color, and texture, I used swirled milk and white chocolate chips.
This dough does well when it is chilled and allowed to “rest” for 24 hours after mixing and before baking the cookies. The purpose of letting the dough “rest” is to allow the liquid ingredients, including the egg, to get fully incorporated and absorbed into the other ingredients. The “resting” period makes for a drier and firmer cookie dough and this controls its spread while baking so you don’t end up with a really flat cookie.
The chilled dough, though, will be really hard making it next to impossible to use a cookie scoop (I know as I have already gone through two of them!) to form the cookies into shapes for baking. Cookie scoops are great to make uniform-sized and shaped cookies; however, dropping the cookies by teaspoons on to the baking sheet also works well.
I like the drop cookies to be soft and somewhat chewy and, of course, the key to that texture is to slightly underbake the cookies – bake these no more than 10-12 minutes at 350F and let them cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
My Island Bistro Kitchen’s Double Chocolate Chip Drop Cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup shortening, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 tbsp. cold brewed coffee
1 1/2 tbsp stout
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 squares of semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup chocolate chips
Cream butter and shortening.
Add brown and white sugars. Beat until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until blended.
In separate bowl, or large measuring cup, mix coffee, stout, milk, and vanilla. Stir to combine. Add to mixture. Mix well.
Add melted chocolate and mix to blend.
Combine dry ingredients. Add to mixture and stir just until flour is incorporated.
Stir in chocolate chips. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for 24 hours.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop by spoonfuls onto baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between the cookies. Bake at 350F oven for 10-12 minutes. Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes then transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
These make a fine treat for St. Patrick’s Day (but are just as good any time of the year!)
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!