Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale & Pumpkin Spice Election Cookies

Starr Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale & Pumpkin Spice Election Cookies – The beer is full of fall flavors without tasting like potpourri. It’s perfect for enjoying on a crisp fall evening around a fire pit with friends. The cookies have a hint of pleasant pumpkin spice flavor. Pairing the two was a definite success. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Starr Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale & Pumpkin Spice Election Cookies – The beer is full of fall flavors without tasting like potpourri. It’s perfect for enjoying on a crisp fall evening around a fire pit with friends. The cookies have a hint of pleasant pumpkin spice flavor. Pairing the two was a definite success. Cheers! | AGlassAfterWork.com

Pumpkin Spice Election Cookies – These cutout cookies have a hint of pleasant pumpkin spice flavor that create a fun fall cookie that’s a little different from the traditional taste. | AGlassAfterWork.com

Frosted Pumpkin Spice Election Day Cookies

Considering I live in Washington, DC and my day job involves work on federal policy and legislation, it’s should be no surprise I nerd out on events like Election Day or the State of the Union address.  Even with a campaign season that has given me a serious case of election fatigue like this one has, there is something exciting about waiting in line at the polling station and walking into that voting booth to make decisions about who will be the President of the United States, the DC House of Representatives Delegate, the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for my Ward, et cetera.  Many people around the world fight for the right to vote, so I know how lucky I am that I have this luxury.

To celebrate Election Day, this past weekend seemed like the perfect time to break out my donkey and elephant cookie cutters. And, since it was this past weekend was also peak leaf-color season in DC, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give the cookies a fall, pumpkin spice twist.  So, I woke up early on Sunday to get in my 6.5 mile run (Hubby and I are training for the New Orleans Half Marathon, which is the weekend of his birthday in February) before finishing the last of our weekend errands, opening up some hard-earned beer, and getting to work on my cookies.

Starr Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale – The beer is full of fall flavors without tasting like potpourri. It’s perfect for enjoying on a crisp fall evening around a fire pit with friends. Rating: 4 out 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Starr Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale

The Starr Hill Last Leaf Maple Brown Ale (brewery) is an English Brown Ale brewed with Virginia maple syrup in…you guessed it, Virginia (Charlottesville, VA). The beer had a medium-to-dark brown color with about a half-inch of tan, foamy head. On the nose, there was maple syrup, nuts, and vanilla with a hint of something sweet (molasses, maybe?). In the mouth, there was maple syrup, vanilla, and molasses mixed with hints of toasted nuts, cinnamon, and allspice. The beer had a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. This is a great fall beer…the type that is perfect for enjoying on a crisp fall evening around a fire pit with friends. The beer has almost a creamy smoothness, and the flavors scream fall without tasting like potpourri. There is the slightest touch of sweetness without being sticky or overbearing, so anyone who finds beer to be too bitter should give this one a try.

As for the cookies, they’re a work in progress. I love the idea of adding some flavor to the cutout cookies, so I’m going to continue to play with it. However, this recipe just didn’t have enough of a kick to fulfill my vision.

Overall, while the cookies weren’t as good as I hoped, the Last Leaf was delicious. In fact, the beer helped bring out the flavors in the pumpkin spice cookies that were missing when eating the cookies on the their own, so the pairing was a definite success.

Question of the Day: Did you vote today? If so, do you have something special to open up tonight?

Pumpkin Spice Election Day Cookies
Pumpkin Spice Election Cookies
Print Recipe
These cutout cookies have a hint of pleasant pumpkin spice flavor that create a fun fall cookie that’s a little different from the traditional taste.
Servings
6 dozen
Servings
6 dozen
Pumpkin Spice Election Day Cookies
Pumpkin Spice Election Cookies
Print Recipe
These cutout cookies have a hint of pleasant pumpkin spice flavor that create a fun fall cookie that’s a little different from the traditional taste.
Servings
6 dozen
Servings
6 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. In medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and all spice. Set aside.
  2. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter until smooth.
  3. Add sugars and beat until fluffy.
  4. Add eggs, vanilla, and pumpkin, and mix until combined.
  5. On low speed, add dry ingredients and mix the dry ingredients are mixed in, as some can settle at the bottom of the mixer. You may need to hand mix/kneed in some of the remaining flour.
  6. Divide the flour into 4 quarters and wrap each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  8. When dough has chilled, roll out onto lightly floured surface, and cut with cookie cutters, and placed on cookie sheets.
  9. Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes depending on the size of the cookies.
  10. Let cookies set on baking sheet for 2-3 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

I use Sweetopia's royal icing recipe for frosting.

**Pumpkin Spice Cutout Cookie recipe was inspired by Glorious Eats, Bake at 350, and Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.**

 

Sunday Baking: “The Corruption” & Pinwheels

DC Brau Brewing Company “The Corruption” & Pinwheel Icebox Cookies– At $13 for a 6-pack of cans, this American IPA is a solid, reliable, easy-to-drink option. It has a nice IPA hopiness without being over-the-top. It pairs nice with ribs and burgers, but also is nice on its own with good company and conversation. The cookies are great sugar cookies that, while time consuming, were easy even though the finish product looks complicated. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

DC Brau Brewing Company “The Corruption” & Pinwheel Icebox Cookies– At $13 for a 6-pack of cans, this American IPA is a solid, reliable, easy-to-drink option. It has a nice IPA hopiness without being over-the-top. It pairs nice with ribs and burgers, but also is nice on its own with good company and conversation. The cookies are great sugar cookies that, while time consuming, were easy even though the finish product looks complicated. Rating 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Red, white, and blue pinwheel icebox cookies

Red, white, and blue pinwheel icebox cookies

I’m way behind in my Sunday Baking posts. However, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to post about the Pinwheel Icebox Cookies I made because while they’re a little time consuming, they were easy to make while looking complicated and fancy. Plus, now that it’s September, cookie season is right around the corner, and these can be made with any combination of colors (brown and orange for Halloween; white, blue, and silver for Chanukkah; red and green for Christmas; pastel pinks and purples or blues and greens for baby showers, etc). Since I made them for Independence Day, I went with red, white, and blue.

Ribs and DC Brau "The Corruption"

Ribs and DC Brau “The Corruption”

I opened DC Brau Bewing Company’s “The Corruption” to go with my baking because Hubby was slow grilling ribs, and I knew the pairing would be a good one; and, if I’m being honest, I thought opening a beer that was made in the Nation’s Capitol, but also had an irreverent name was fun for July 4th.

DC Brau Brewing Company "The Corruption"

DC Brau Brewing Company “The Corruption”

The Corruption (brewery) is made in Washington, DC and is DC Brau’s take on a Pacific Northwest American IPA. The beer had a dark honey color that was almost amber with an inch of off-white foam. On the nose, there was sticky, sweet bread and caramelized grapefruit. In the mouth, there was pine, grapefruit, and hints of the sweet sticky bread with a touch of butteriness on the finish. The beer was medium bodied.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $13 for a 6-pack of cans, this beer is a solid, reliable, easy-to-drink option. The brewery describes the beer as “assertive without being overbearing,” and I think that sums up The Corruption perfectly.

DC Brau The Corruption and Red white and blue pinwheel icebox cookiesThe cookies were inspired by Just a Taste’s recipe, and they were great sugar cookies that ended up being a huge hit with my coworkers. The key to these cookies is to have the patience to let them chill in the refrigerator. And, when it’s time to layer the different colors, it’s very important to roll the dough tightly together. If you don’t, there will be cookies with big gaps of air within the cookie rather than having a nice solid piece. These will definitely be repeat cookies, particularly when I’m looking to make a larger batch or want something reliably yummy.

Ribs, maple glazed carrots, and DC Brau "The Corruption"Overall, both the beer and the cookies were delicious on their own and made for a fun pairing when put together.   That said, the beer was definitely a better match for the ribs and maple glazed carrots, as it cut through the fat without overpowering the juicy flavor of the meat.

Question of the Day: When you’re grilling for a big holiday like Labor Day or July 4th, do you tend to drink beer or wine?  Do you have a favorite that you usually reach for?

Bonus question: What, if any, baked desserts to you serve when you have a cookout?  Do you have a go-to recipe?

Red, white,and blue pinwheel icebox cookies
Pinwheel Icebox Cookies
Print Recipe
These sugar cookies chill in the refrigerator, are rolled into a log, and then sliced into perfectly sized and delicious treats.
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Red, white,and blue pinwheel icebox cookies
Pinwheel Icebox Cookies
Print Recipe
These sugar cookies chill in the refrigerator, are rolled into a log, and then sliced into perfectly sized and delicious treats.
Servings
4 dozen
Servings
4 dozen
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter for 1 minute. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy (about another minute). Add vanilla and the eggs, beating until just combined (about 30 seconds).
  3. On low speed, add dry ingredients and beat until just combined.
  4. Separate dough it into three equal pieces. If you are keeping one of the swirls white, shape one piece into a 4-by4-inch square. Wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge. This will be the white swirl in the cookies.
  5. Now it's time to color the other two pieces.
  6. Put one of the remaining pieces of dough back into the stand mixer bowl. Add your the first color (in this case, I used red). Mix on low until dough is desired color. Then remove the dough from the mixer, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge.
  7. Clean out the bowl to remove any food coloring residue.
  8. Place the final piece of dough in the stand mixer bowl, and mix your second color into the dough using the low setting (in this case, I used blue). Remove the dough once it has reached your desired color, shape it into a 4- by 4-inch square, wrap it in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge.
  9. Refrigerate all the dough for 30 minutes.
  10. Remove the dough from the fridge and cut each square in half. Take one half of each color and wrap it back up in the plastic wrap. Put it back in the fridge while you make the first log.
  11. Place one of your colored rectangles of dough in between two pieces of wax paper. I started with the red one. Roll it into a rectangle. I made mine 1/6 inch thick because that is one of the settings on my rolling pin, but the dough can be thinner if you prefer.
  12. Next, do the same thing with a second rectangle of dough. I used the white one.
  13. Finally, repeat with your third color. This was my blue rectangle. Make sure that all three rectangles are the same size when you are finished rolling them out.
  14. Now it's time to stack the three different colors of dough.
  15. Leaving the wax paper on the bottom, peel the top layer of wax paper off your first section (in my case, the red dough). Then peel the wax paper off one side of your second section of dough (my white dough). Place the exposed dough on top of each other (I placed the white dough on top of the red dough). Now, remove wax paper from the top of the two stacked pieces of dough (in my case, the white dough was now on top because I wanted it sandwiched between the two colored pieces of dough). Then, remove the wax paper from one side the final section of dough (my blue dough). Place the final section of dough on top of the exposed dough in the dough stack, creating three layers of dough.
  16. Very lightly and briefly roll the three layers to help them meld together.
  17. Starting at the shorter end of the rectangle, tightly roll the dough into a log. You want to roll it as tightly as possible, this way there are no air gaps in your final cookies.
  18. Repeat the rolling, stacking, and log-creation process with the remaining dough in the fridge. Wrap both logs in wax paper before wrapping them in plastic wrap and placing them in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
  19. Remove the dough logs and roll them on the counter several times to prevent a flat side from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 more hours.
  20. Preheat oven to 350F. Line cookie sheets with parchment or silicone mats.
  21. Remove the dough from the fridge and slice each log into 1/4-inch cookies. Place each cookie on the baking sheets, about an 1 1/2-2 inches apart.
  22. Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes or until they are starting to turn golden. Let cool for a few minutes and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Snowzilla Day 4 – A Goodbye to Snow with a Snow Roller

**Here is my blog post about Snowzilla Day 1 , Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 1), Snowzilla Day 2 (Part 2), and Snowzilla Day 3**

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller – This seasonal brown ale from Vermont is only available in the winter, but it’s a great option for the IPA lover looking to explore new beer horizons Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller – This seasonal brown ale from Vermont is only available in the winter, but it’s a great option for the IPA lover looking to explore new beer horizons Ratings 3.5 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

IMagic Hat Brewing Company Bottle Top promise…this is my last post about Snowzilla. I know it was months ago. I know everyone is over snow and instead thinking about spring, cookouts, and rose. But, I’m clearly behind on blogging, and I tasted so many good things over those few days I didn’t want to miss sharing. So, here it is…my final day of Snowzilla.

By the time Day 4 rolled around, the weather was doing more to clear away the snow than the city. There are many things I love about DC, but the ability to handle snowy weather is not one of them. Hubby and I spent our last day home acting more like it was a staycation day rather than a snow day. And, after several days of wine, I felt like enjoying a beer instead. So, I opted for Magic Hat Brewing Company’s aptly named Snow Roller.

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller Hoppy Brown Ale

Magic Hat Brewing Company Snow Roller Hoppy Brown Ale

The Snow Roller (brewery) is a brown ale from Vermont. The beer had a clear medium amber color with about an inch of foamy tan head. On the nose, there were mild smells of caramel, cereal, and something bitter. In the mouth, caramel and biscuits mixed with hints of citrus and something earthy. The beer had a medium body with a slight bite of bitterness on the finish.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. It was an interesting mix of a brown ale and IPA. So, if you’re an IPA lover looking to expand your beer horizons, you should definitely grab a bottle. Overall, this beer was makes for a nice winter seasonal option and it was perfect for a snowy day.

Question of the Day:  What’s the weather been like you?  How has it impacted your drinking choices?

Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Sunday Baking: Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies & K-9 Cruiser

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale & Peppermint Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies –The beer is an English Ale, also known as a Winter Warmer, and it’s medium bodied with the taste of spices and nuts. The cookies were peppermint-y but not overwhelming with a nice, non-greasy texture. All in all, the pairing wasn’t the best, but individually they were fun and wintery. Ratings = 3 out of 5 | AGlassAfterWork.com

K-9 Winter Ale & Spritz Cookies

Growing up, my family always celebrated the Jewish holidays as religious holidays. However, since my paternal grandfather was a non-practicing Catholic, we celebrated the Christian holidays, too. They were secular, family holidays with all of the festivities and decorations, but none of the religion. As a kid, it was the best of all worlds.

Hubby is not a religious person, although he enjoys celebrating the holidays in a secular way. So, it was easy for us to combine our traditions. Our first winter holiday season together, I introduced him to Chanukkah, but we also celebrated Christmas. Over the 12 years we’ve been together, our individual way of doing things has melded and morphed into our own traditions, although there is still plenty of food, drinking, presents, friends, and family.

This year, my Chanukkah present couldn’t have been any more perfect–Hubby gave me cookie press. Every time we were in a store with baking supplies, I mentioned wanting one, but it’s never what we were in the store to buy and it’s not the type of thing I ever “needed.” Once I had one, though, I had to test it right away…and getting one for Chanukkah meant I obviously needed to use it to make Christmas cookies. So, my last cookies of 2015 were Peppermint-Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies paired with Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale.

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale

The Flying Dog K-9 Cruiser Winter Ale (brewery) is an English Ale brewed in Frederick, Maryland.  The beer has a dark amber color with a foamy off-white head. On the nose, there were walnuts and figs mixed with a hint of cinnamon and something herbal. In the mouth, there was anise and nuts mixed with hints of pinecones and burnt sugar. The beer was medium body with good carbonation.

Is this worth a glass after work? Sure…you won’t be drinking anything out of the ordinary, but you’ll have a decent, reliable glass. At $1.50 for the single bottle, the K-9 is worth grabbing, but not something to go out of the way to buy. It used to be a winter beer staple for me, but for some reason, this year, I’m just not feeling it. It’s not that the beer is bad, but it doesn’t stand out as anything special either.

Peppermint Cream Cheese Spritz CookiesThe cookies, on the other hand, were exactly what I was hoping for. Unfortunately, I’m not supposed to eat wheat flour at the moment, so I only sampled them, but everything about them tasted like Christmas. They had a nice peppermint flavor without it being overwhelming. The cream cheese gave the cookies a nice texture without them being greasy. And, using the cookie press was a ton of fun.  I’m already planning my next cookie press adventure for Valentine’s Day.

Overall, with the weather in DC being so warm over the holidays, I really was counting on the cookies and beer to put me in the holiday spirit, and they definitely did. They weren’t the best pairing, but individually they both were wintery and festive. And, the cookies will undoubtedly become a new addition to our holiday traditions.

Question of the Day:  When you buy beer, do you tend ever buy the single bottles so you can make your own six-pack or do you tend to buy all the same beer at a time?  

Peppermint Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
Print Recipe
These cookies are a bit of a twist on traditional spritz cookies, as there is some cream cheese mixed in with the butter and there is peppermint extract instead of vanilla. Even though this recipe calls for a cookie press, if you wanted to make regular shaped cookies with the dough, they would still be a huge hit. You just might want to chill it a little before baking, which is not something you need to do with the cookie press.
Servings
8 dozen cookies
Servings
8 dozen cookies
Peppermint Cream Cheese Spritz Cookies
Print Recipe
These cookies are a bit of a twist on traditional spritz cookies, as there is some cream cheese mixed in with the butter and there is peppermint extract instead of vanilla. Even though this recipe calls for a cookie press, if you wanted to make regular shaped cookies with the dough, they would still be a huge hit. You just might want to chill it a little before baking, which is not something you need to do with the cookie press.
Servings
8 dozen cookies
Servings
8 dozen cookies
Ingredients
Servings: dozen cookies
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350F
  2. In separate medium mixing bowl, combine flour and salt.
  3. In mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream together cubed butter and cream cheese.
  4. Add sugar and egg yolk. Beat until light and fluffy.
  5. Add peppermint. Beat until incorporated.
  6. Gradually add the flour mixture. Beat until incorporated
  7. Place dough in cookie press with desired disk. Press dough onto ungreased or parchment-lined cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are golden brown on the edges.
  9. Let cool for several minutes before removing to cooling rack.

Price: $1.50 for a single bottle
Purchased at Harris Teeter
Overall: 3 Corks

Enjoying the Local Species

Blue Mountain Barrel House Local Species

Blue Mountain Barrel House Local Species

Blue Mountain Brewery is about 2 and a half hours away, so it’s definitely not a “DC Beer,” however, I still think of it as local. In fact, Blue Mountain Brewery makes quality craft brews, and while it’s taken me a little while to find my favorite of their beers, I have enjoyed the ones I’ve tasted so far.  So, admittedly, while I ended 6th Annual DC Beer Week  (August 17-24) with a non-DC beer, I did go with a “Local Species,” and it definitely hit the spot.

The Local Species (brewery, untappd) is a Belgian Pale Ale made by Blue Mountain Brewery in Nelson County, Virginia.  The beer was a dark, hazy, reddish-amber with an off-white, foamy head and a lot of lacing on the glass.  On the nose, there was toasty maltiness mixed with hints of red apple and caramel.  In the mouth, there is a maltiness and some grass mixed with the slightest hint of something sour, maybe sour grapefruit, and some toffee-like sweetness, probably from the bourbon barrel the beer was aged in. The beer had a nice body with a long, smooth finish with only a hint of hoppy bitterness.

Cork and closeup of Blue Mountain Barrel House Local SpeciesIs this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $11 for 750ml, this beer is easy to drink, food-friendly, and well-balanced.  Hubby and I have started the fall race season training, so I enjoyed the Local Species on a Sunday evening while recovering from one of my first longer training runs.  It was a great beer for putting up my feet, relaxing, and catching up on my Runner’s World and Vogue magazine reading.

Question of the Day: How far away is still local for you when it comes to buying local beer or wine?  For you, is buying local more about supporting small producers than it is about actually buying local (for example, is buying a Robert Mondavi wine when you’re in Napa still buying local)?

Price: $11 for a 750ml bottle
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks