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Oct 23, 2018

Ginger and Amber Ale Cookies

These crystalized ginger and amber ale cookies are chewy and spicy, and have a wonderful caramel flavor from the amber ale.

Ginger Molasses Amber Ale Cookies

These ginger and amber ale cookies are also deeply flavored with molasses along with golden raisins, which provide little bursts of sweetness. They're really good.

These ginger cookies are sort of a cross between crispy and chewy. They puff up quite a bit while baking, and then collapse into flat, crispy/chewy cookies while they cool. Don't panic. That's supposed to happen.

Ginger and Amber Ale Cookies

These look a lot like crinkle cookies or brownie cookies, but their texture is much crispier, more like a chewy sugar cookie.

The secret ingredient in these cookies is a 12 ounce bottle of amber ale that has been reduced down to just 3 tablespoons. Think of it as "beer extract."

A few hints for accurately reducing 12 ounces of beer down to 3 tablespoons:

  1. Use a pan large enough to prevent the beer from bubbling over the top of the pan and spilling onto the top of your range. In addition, when you are first bringing the beer to a boil, stick around and watch the beer. I speak from experience. I walked away and ended up with beer all over my cooktop. Fortunately, I had bought a six pack, so I started over with a new bottle.
  2. Keep a tablespoon and a small heat proof measuring cup nearby for when you are getting close to three tablespoons. Use the tablespoon to eyeball your mixture in your pan. It kind of gives you an idea when you tilt the pan as to whether or not you are close. 
  3. When you are really close, pour the mixture into the heat proof measuring cup to see how close you are. If you are close, just pour the mixture back into the pan and boil for another minute or two. 
  4. If you reduce it too much, don't panic. Just add some water to bring it back to 3 tablespoons (within reason of course). 

crystalized ginger, molasses, and amber ale cookies

There are so many varieties of beer and ale these days. Beer, particularly craft beer, is definitely enjoying its day in the sun. Gastropubs are sprouting up on every corner around here. 

There were so many varieties of beer at my grocery store that finding amber ale was quite the treasure hunt. Fortunately, I spied a six pack of Fat Tire amber ale. I've since learned that amber ale is also sometimes called red ale, so you can keep an eye out for that as well. 

I'm really excited about baking desserts with beer! While I've baked plenty of breads with beer, as it helps with the leavening and flavor, I'm new to using it in desserts. Be sure to check out the Fall 2018 issue of Sift Magazine from King Arthur Flour for an entire section on baking desserts with beer, including these cookies. 

More hints for baking these cookies: 

  1. This recipe makes about 4 dozen 3 1/2 inch cookies. It takes a while to bake these because you want to make sure to leave enough room between each cookie so that they don't run into each other and become one big run-on cookie. I ended up preparing and baking 5 baking sheets worth of cookies (using just 2 baking sheets).
  2. To bring your baking sheets quickly back to room temperature, let them cool on a wire rack for about five to ten minutes, and then place them directly on your kitchen counter (if it's tile or granite), or rinse them with cool water.
  3. I highly recommend using a scale to make these cookies. It makes measuring the flour, crystalized ginger, and raisins much more accurate. I use this one

Beer in cookies?

Heck yeah, beer in cookies! Beer has great depth that plays well with sugar--keep reading to see what all we made!

You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.

If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:

cookies, ginger, molasses, amber ale, beer
Yield: 48 cookies
Ginger and Amber Ale Cookies

Crystalized Ginger Amber Ale Cookies


  • 1 - 12 ounce bottle amber ale
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup (3 ounces) molasses
  • 2 3/4 cups (19 1/4 ounces) sugar, divided (set aside 1/2 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) all purpose flour (preferably King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup (4 ounces) golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) diced crystalized ginger


  1. Bring the beer to a simmer in a 3 quart saucepan over medium heat. Simmer, stirring regularly, until it has reduces to 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces). This should take about 15 minutes (see notes above in the post). Set aside to cool. 
  2. In another 3 quart saucepan, melt the butter, molasses, 2 1/4 cups of the sugar, and salt over low heat. Cook, stirring often, until the sugar has melted, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the spices and the reduced ale. Let cool for 10 minutes. 
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour and baking soda. With the mixer on low, slowly add the liquid ingredients. Add the egg and mix until blended. Mix in the raisins and ginger. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line 2 to 3 baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the remaining sugar in a bowl. Roll the dough, by tablespoon, into balls, and toss in the sugar. Place the balls on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. 
  5. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time (or possibly two, switching the baking sheets halfway through) for 14 minutes. The cookies will puff up and appear soft, but will crisp up while cooling. 
  6. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for five minutes. Move the cookies from the baking sheet to a wire rack to continue cooling. Reuse the baking sheets and parchment to continue baking the rest of the dough. 

Would you like to comment?

  1. Clearly I wasn't thinking before I added my stout. You and Felice are so smart to make a reduction of the beer. I must try that next time.
    I love your craggy cookies, Karen!

  2. a beer extract! wow, that is so interesting... I am thinking macarons... can you imagine???? could work, I guess

    1. That would definitely work! Sounds delicious!

  3. Great minds think alike--and so do ours. :) It's funny how different they ended up looking by virtue of how many mix-ins were thrown in. Yours look seriously yummy too--they definitely remind me more of crackle cookies than mine did. And I am glad someone else had a beer explosion.

    1. They look like cousins!

      I'm so glad someone else had a beer explosion too =)

  4. Ooooh they look like a crinkle without the powdered sugar, but with beer and regular sugar instead. And they look delicious and are going straight on my baking list.


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