Double IPA Shortbread Cookies with Bacon Drippings

Cooking with Beer by | Dec 2009 | Issue #35
Photo by Sean Z. Paxton

Before you begin this recipe, stop and consider the choices ahead of you. This will change the landscape of the final product—the complexity, the texture and ultimately the experience of this cookie. When picking out the bacon to use the fat from, think about the different effects apple-wood smoked, hickory-smoked, heirloom, or Heritage pork, maple-glazed, peppercorn-crusted or home-cured bacon will add to the final cookie. Think about the styles of chocolate and which sweet, nutty, dried fruit, caramel or coffee flavors will be expressed on the tongue. Consider adding sage or thyme to make the cookies more savory and to showcase the juxtaposition of the contrasts in flavor, texture, and aroma. The options are endless with this classic.

Makes: about 24 cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup Double IPA or IPA, like Pliney or Blind Pig, slowly reduced to 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup unsalted butter, European style, room temperature
1/4 cup bacon fat drippings, fat reserved from making bacon (duck, pork fat, or butter)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Note: Shortbread and other types of cookies can be cut out with a cookie cutter before baking. Selecting a cookie cutter that continues the theme of the ingredients in the cookie will add to the taster’s experience. If you cannot find the cutter you are looking for, try making your own. Start with a simple circle-cutter as a base. Using needle-nose pliers, bend and shape the cutter into a pig, beer bottle, pint or goblet glass.

Directions:
In a medium-size pot, add the Double IPA and place over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Reduce the volume down to 2 tablespoons. Turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the butter, fat and sugar. Beat on low increasing the speed to high, as the butter softens and the mixture gets more fluffy. Beat for 3–4 minutes. Then add in the cooled DIPA reduction. Beat for another minute. Then add the flour and mix until the mixture just combines. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and press/shape into a square. Wrap well, then wrap it again in another piece of plastic wrap.

Place the dough into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to four days. This dough can also be placed in the freezer for up to three months.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Remove the dough from the fridge. Unwrap the plastic wrap and place onto a sheet of parchment paper. Cover with a second piece of parchment and roll the dough out until it is 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough to a sheet tray and place into the freezer for 15 minutes to re-chill the dough.

Remove the dough, remove the top sheet of parchment and, using either a knife or a cookie cutter, cut into whatever shapes, squares, pint glasses or even pigs you’d like. Transfer the cookies to a sheet tray lined with either parchment paper or a Silpat. Space the cookies 2 inches apart from one another. Once the sheet tray is full, place into the center of the oven and bake for 8 minutes. Check the cookies halfway through the cooking time and rotate to cook and brown evenly. Remove from the oven when they are just barely starting to brown, more like a golden yellow.

Transfer the cookies to a cooling rack and cool completely, if you can wait that long.

For the insane culinary experience:
1 cup Rogue Creamery Oregon Blue Cheese
crumbled bacon, cut into lardons (small square-peg shapes), cooked for the fat
black cracked pepper

To take the cookies in a more savory direction, once the cookies have cooled, top with some of the crumbled blue cheese, leaving about 1/8 of an inch border to each cookie. Then sprinkle a few lardons of bacon atop. Place into a 350˚F oven for 3-4 minutes to lightly melt the cheese. Remove and serve alongside a cheese plate or pair with a hoppy IPA or Double IPA.

Alternatively, dip the cooled baked cookie in melted (or tempered) dark chocolate and immediately roll in cocoa nibs. Set onto a cooling rack and let the chocolate set. You will discover that the combination of chocolate, bacon, and IPA work very well together.