The holidays are always filled tradition. Heirloom cookie recipes handed down through the years make their way out to create holiday memories with the next generation.
One local baker is changing up her cookie game by adding spirits to the mix. Not the yuletide holiday spirit, but the naughty, boozy kind. Devon Drag is the creator and instructor of Kitchen Conservatory's popular “Naughty Cookies and Milk” hands-on baking class. Recipes featured in the class include hazelnut-espresso sandwiches with Frangelico ganache, Amaretto-ricotta cannoli cookies, gingerbread pizzelle “cigars” filled with an eggnog buttercream, and bourbon spiked butter sprinkle cookies.
Lydia with Chew In The Lou visited with Devon about this fun class and the inspiration for infusing alcohol into cookies.
Q: What was the inspiration behind your “naughty” cookies?
D: Actually, it all started out as an innocent conversation when comparing chocolate cookie recipes with a co-worker. We both used bourbon in our cookies. And as we talked it evolved into something someone should make and of course it should be me. (Devon has since developed a few other classes focused on bourbon and spirits)
Q: Where did you begin when creating class, and what did you find?
D: I couldn’t find much in cookbooks, and then did a lot of online research. I really had to take recipes I had and figure out how to incorporate spirit into them. The biggest discovery is you can’t just dump alcohol into what you making. It’s a science. It’s not as simple as putting a few teaspoons.
Q: What were the ways you found to incorporate booze into your cookies?
D: There are three main ways – substitute for an extract, use alcohol like a wine or cordial to rehydrate with dried fruit, and in fillings and glazes. Fillings can be a really easy way to do. When looking at your recipe find complimentary flavors to use. For example, Chambord in a raspberry jam, or amaretto for almond.
Q: You have created new cookie recipes every year this class has been offered, which one has been your favorite?
D: My favorite all time cookie to eat and bake is a snickerdoodle. The boozy one is an "Old Fashioned" snickerdoodle. It has orange zest and a couple dashes of bitters with bourbon. It tastes like an old fashioned.
Q: What advice would you give to the home cook looking to explore and create?
D: Think about what flavors you like in a cocktail – pair a cocktail into a cookie, and they blend well. Everybody loves a cocktail, and everyone loves a cookie, and when the two blend it make a joyous treat! There are lots of fun ways to mix the flavors together.