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: 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

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