Cookies and beer — who knew? _lowres

Advocate photo by Jill Arnold -- Chocolate Oatmeal Ale Cookies with Caramel Icing (and NOLA's Brown Ale)

Advocate-tested recipe

Chocolate Oatmeal Ale Cookies with Caramel Icing

These cookies are dense, chewy and sticky and not overly sweet. The oatmeal and the chocolate come through with a subtle hint of the beer. There’s lots of depth of taste with no bitterness. Makes 24 cookies and the book suggests pairing them with New Belgium Brewing Company’s 1554 Black Lager, an excellent beer, but I’m sticking with milk.

1 (12-oz) bottle Belgian strong dark ale (I used NOLA Brown Ale)

2½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2½ cups all-purpose flour

1?3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)

1½ teaspoons baking powder

1½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) salted butter at room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs at room temperature

10 ounces caramel candies

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly butter them.

2. Pour 1?3 cup of the ale into a glass and stir until the carbonation is removed. Set aside. Pour the rest of the bottle into a small saucepan and set aside.

3. In a blender or food processor, pulverize the oats until they have the consistency of bread crumbs. Add the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Pulse until blended. Set aside.

4. With a mixer, beat the butter on low speed until creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Slowly add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Mix on low speed until light and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, and then the 1?3 cup of flat ale. Mix until uniform in color, then slowly add the oat mixture until completely incorporated.

5. Scoop heaping tablespoons of the dough and place them at least two inches apart on the baking sheets. Refrigerate the baking sheets for at least 15 minutes.

6. Meanwhile, heat the saucepan with the ale over medium-low heat until the beer has reduced to 1/4 cup. Add the caramels to the reduced ale and stir until melted. Remove from the heat but keep warm (I used a double boiler).

7. Before putting the baking sheets in the oven, flatten the cookies slightly with a fork or your palm. Bake for 7 minutes, then rotate the baking sheets 180 degrees and bake for 8 minutes more. The cookies are done when they bounce back if lightly pressed.

8. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack set over a baking sheet or foil and let cool. Once they’re cool to the touch, drizzle the cookies with the caramel. Allow the caramel to set up.

These cookies are best eaten the day they’re baked.