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

The Last of My Dogtoberfest

There are good running days and bad running days.  Saturday, February 1st was a bad one.  From the moment I started, my feet felt like cement hitting the pavement and I just couldn’t wait for the run to be over.  I’m not sure why it was so difficult.  I did my usual warm-up.  I didn’t run a more difficult route than usual.  Yet, I felt like my legs were letting me down.  I didn’t let the struggle keep me from running the full 12.5 miles, but it was a rough one.  As soon as I finished, stretched, and cleaned myself up, I headed to the fridge to grab a beer I knew would put a smile on my face.

Flying Dog Brewery's Dogtoberfest Märzen

Flying Dog Brewery’s Dogtoberfest Märzen

Flying Dog Brewery’s Dogtoberfest Märzen (brewery) is brewed with 100% German ingredients, although it is made in Frederick, Maryland.  The beer had a medium reddish-amber color with about an inch of off-white, foamy head.  On the nose, there was some nuttiness and maltiness with hints of caramel and black pepper.  In the mouth, there was a nice maltiness mixed with lemon zest, biscuits, and caramel.  The beer was a medium body with a mild bitterness and good balance.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.   At $2 a bottle, this Octoberfest beer offered something a little different.  After my run, I opened my last two bottles of the season, and I was sad to see them go.  The beer is refreshing, with good flavor, and perfect for drinking while trying to relax my sore muscles.  The nice thing about Dogtoberfest is that it’s also very food friendly.  It’s the perfect beer to drink while snacking on some cheese and crackers or having a German dinner complete with bratwurst.  I think it also might go well with something a little sweeter like teriyaki chicken.

Question of the day: Do you drink seasonal beers?  If so, do you have a favorite season?

Price: $2 a bottle (I bought 2 singles)
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 3.5 Corks

Post Run with Flying Dog

Hubby and I are both training for the USA Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon in March.  This will be Hubby’s first half, and my second…and it will also be just a few days shy of the 1 year anniversary of my hip surgery.  Even though we took a few weeks off from training over the holidays and while we were in Italy, we’ve both been diligently sticking to our training plans.  And, Saturday is our long run days.

BW Instagram Running SelfieThis past Saturday, I decided to do my long run outside, even though it was freezing cold.  Right before Thanksgiving my iPod Nano died, and I need to run with my Nano.  For me, it’s not just about the music.  In fact, what I love the most about running with the Nano is that it integrates with Nike+, which means I have a “running coach” in my headphones to tell me my pace when I hit the right button, as well as let me know each time I went another mile, whether I ask or not.  So, with my old one completely unusable, I ended up with a new one.  Unfortunately, though, the default calibration on the sensor wasn’t accurate for me, so I needed to head out to the track to calibrate my Nano/Nike+.

Originally, I planned to do run 1/2 mile on the track while calibrating, and then head back inside for the rest of my 10-mile run.  I was sure 27 degrees was going to be too cold.  Plus, I’m a slightly peculiar runner in that I normally prefer the treadmill.  It keeps my pace consistent, and it usually feels like the runs go faster.  Once I was out there running, though, it felt great.  I followed a 6:1 run/walk interval and was weaving up and down the streets of my neighborhood.  Before I knew it, the Nike+ running coach told me I was half way done with my run, so I texted Hubby to make sure he wasn’t worrying and to let him I was going to finish the run outside.

Flying Dog Brewery K-9 Winter Ale

Flying Dog Brewery K-9 Winter Ale

By the time I finished, my legs were exhausted, I was mentally worn out, I was glad to come inside in the warm, and I had my usual post-run beer craving.  But, the run was one of the best ones since my surgery.  It was also the longest, and it just felt right.  So, I drank my post-run protein drink, showered, and gave into the beer craving by opening a Flying Dog.

The Flying Dog K-9 Winter Ale (brewery) is brewed in Frederick, Maryland.  The beer had a dark, clear amber color with a 3/4-inch cream colored head.  On the nose, there were baked sweet potatoes, walnuts, and something herbal.  In the mouth, there was toffee, allspice, and pinecones mixed with toasted maltiness and a touch of molasses on the finish.  The beer was medium bodied.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $2 a bottle, this beer was exactly what I needed after my long run.  It’s a lighter winter ale, but what I particular like is that I don’t feel like I’m drinking a Christmas tree or a glass of potpourri.  It has the nice winter spices without being overpowering.  I paired it with a two slices of meatball pizza.  After running and considering how cold it was outside, neither of us felt like cooking or going out, so we ordered delivery from Pete’s Apizza.  Not only was delivery the right choice, but the pizza made an outstanding pairing for the beer.  All in all, the K-9 Winter Ale isn’t my favorite of the Flying Dog beers, but it definitely is one I would grab again.

P.S.  If you haven’t filled out my reader survey yet…you have until Sunday! It’s only 10 questions (9 multiple choice questions and 1 “anything else you want to tell me”).  So, please take 2 minutes to complete it. I’d love to hear what you like and what you want to see more of at A Glass After Work!

Question of the Day:  Are you a runner?  If so, what do you crave after your long runs?

Price: $2 a bottle (I bought 2 singles)
Purchased at Whole Foods Market
Overall: 4 Corks

Über Pils = Über Good

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Heavy Seas Small Craft Warning Über Pils

Admittedly, but the time the end of the week arrived, my enthusiasm for DC Beer Week 2013 was waning.  The experience gave my a good sense of what local brews I would order on tap when I’m out, but the Port City Brewing Company Derecho Common was the only one I would consider buying for home, and that one will be a seasonal option for me.  Ultimately, what I was finding during my week of DC beer is that everything just tasted average.  And then I opened The Heavy Seas Warning Über Pils.

The Heavy Seas Warning Über Pils (brewery) is an Imperial Pilsner from Baltimore, Maryland.  The beer is a medium amber with about an inch of foamy head.  On the nose, there were oranges with hints of corn, flowers, and biscuits.  In the mouth, there was citrus and toffee with hints of flowers, honey, and biscuits.  The beer is a medium body with medium carbonation.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this beer in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed. At $2.47 for a 12oz bottle, this beer is the perfect mix of hoppy and malty.  Admittedly, I don’t tend to buy Pilsners, as they’re often a little light for my tastes, but I’d never tried an Imperial Pilsner before.  It was a pleasant surprised!  I drank the Über Pils on its own on a Friday night, and I was very sorry that I didn’t have another couple of bottles to go with dinner, as I suspect that it’s a good food beer. Hands down, this was my favorite of the beers I tried during DC Beer Week 2013!

Question of the Day:  Have you ever had an Imperial Pilsner?  If so, which one was it and is it a beer you would recommend?

Price: $2.47
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 4 Corks

Letting Loose with a Loose Cannon

Tuesday was a fairly quiet day at work.  Congress is in recess, so the Members and Congressional staff are either back in their districts or states working or they’re on vacation.  As Hubby and I aren’t escaping DC until the end of the month, I’m using the time to catch up on the things that piled up during the chaos of June and July.  That meant Tuesday was an email day.  I spent it going through, literally, hundreds of emails.  It was definitely not fun, but I had to do it.

After a day of emails, I headed home to the monthly condo association meeting.  It’s one of those things I have a love/hate relationship with.  I’ve been on the board for 5 years and have been president for 2 of those.  There is definitely a thankless aspect to the job, but I love the community and most of the time the people who live here are friendly and respectable. All in all, we’re lucky that even though our board doesn’t agree on everything, we get along well and we are fairly efficient, not one of these horror stories with 3-hour long meetings and board members yelling at each other.  So, Tuesday evening was the monthly meeting, and there was a lot on the agenda.  The meeting was about an hour and half, which is long for us, and by the time I got back to our condo, I was ready to relax with dinner and a beer.

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA

The Heavy Seas Loose Cannon Hop3 IPA (brewery) is an American IPA brewed by the Clipper City Brewing Company in Baltimore, MD.  The beer had about an inch of white foam and was a dark orangey, topaz color.  On the nose, there were yellow grapefruits, oranges, and Pine Sol with hints of thyme and something floral.  In the mouth, there were pink and yellow grapefruits, French bread crust and a touch of bitter grass and pine needles on the finish.  The beer had a medium body.

Is this worth a glass after work? Definitely!  If you see this wine in the store, grab it; you won’t be disappointed.  At $2.37 for 12oz bottle, I enjoyed this beer, although I expected a little more from it because the Loose Cannon is their flagship beer.  I paired this beer with Hubby’s grilled tilapia seasoned with his own cajun spice mix and a three bean salad, both of which went nicely with the beer.  A lot of casual beer drinkers don’t realize how food-friendly a beer can be, but don’t make that mistake!  Beer and food (and not just bar food) are meant for each other, and the Loose Cannon his one is definitely a beer worth opening with dinner as it was a great compliment to the meal.

Overall, this was one of the beers I was most looking forward to trying during DC Beer week because I see it on tap all over DC, and in the toss-up between it and another local brew, the other local beer has always won.  But, not this time, and I was glad of it because the beer was very good, went down smoothly, and would definitely be something I ordered out if it was on tap.

P.S.—Yes, I know that Heavy Seas is brewed in Maryland, but they were big supporters or DC Beer Week 2013 and were listed as one of the participating breweries, so I’m sticking with the DC Metro area during DC Beer Week 2013.

Question of the Day:  Have you tried any of Clipper City Brewing Company’s Heavy Seas beers?  What did you think?

Price: $2.37 for a 12oz. bottle or $8 for a 6-pack
Purchased at Grateful Red Wine Shop
Overall: 3.5 Corks