If Joe and I ever star in a cooking show, that’s what I think it would be titled: Cookin’ with Booze. We like to experiment putting beer or liquor or wine or whatever in anything we can think of. One of our most succesful inventions to date came about this past Christmas Eve. We wanted to make a traditional English puddiing, the kind you soak with booze and light on fire. But it turns out even the “quick” versions need to be planned and started in advance. So Joe wanted to try a variation on Linzer cookies because they look cool. He decided to use dates and beer instead of berry preserves. I made the dough out of a batch of soft and tasty but formerly overly fluffy sugar cookies that I tamped down by adding extra flour, and voila! Yummy cookies that look like pies.
Joe is a cook–I am a baker. Therefore, there are exact measurements for the dough, which I made, but not the filling, which Joe made. Adjust to your taste.
Jasmine & Joseph’s Cookie Pies
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup crème fraiche (or light sour cream)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
5 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Dates (around 40 or so)
1/2 cup of whiskey (Maker’s Mark works well)
1/2 cup of beer – something sweet that isn’t too bitter
A little bit of water for blending
Orange extract (or orange juice), about a teaspoon or to taste
A few orange slices
To make filling: Mix half the dates with beer, some sugar, extract and orange slices. Mix the other half with whiskey, some sugar, extract and orange slices. Let macerate for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. When you are ready to make the cookies, toss into a blender and blend until mixture is still chunky but holds together. If you prefer your filling less boozy (and if you do, I’m not sure why you’re reading this blog—probably Google brought you here on accident) you can drain the liquid off before blending. You do not want the mixture to be watery, more like a thick dip, so it’s possible you’ll need to drain some anyways, or add water to blend, depending on how much has been absorbed.
To make cookies: Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and mix thoroughly. Add the flour, baking powder and baking soda alternately with the sour cream to the butter mixture. To make rolling out easier, chill for one hour or up to one day before making.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (220 degrees C). Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Flour a clean surface generously. Roll out dough to about ¼ inch. The dough will be fairly sticky, so don’t be afraid to use a lot of flour. If you find it hard to work with, chill dough thoroughly. Cut into 2-3 inch circles. In half of them, cut out about a one-inch circle from the center—this works best if you have a graduated set of circular cookie cutters. I dip a small beer glass into flour to cut the bigger circles, then cut out each center with a butter knife. This works fine, but is far more labor intensive.
Place the full circles on a foil covered cookie sheet. Drop a heaping teaspoon of fig mixture onto each circle and flatten slightly, so that it is within a quarter inch of the edge. Put a cutout circle on top and press edges together lightly. Repeat for all. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until edges start to turn brown. Cool on a rack, then dust lightly with powdered sugar.
This makes a very large, Christmas sized batch, about 5-6 dozen cookies. I recommend cutting it in half for non-holiday baking.
To make a fun single-serving dessert, instead of making cookies 2-3 inches across, make them 5-6 inches wide. Serve hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side, more like a pie than a cookie.