I really hate wasting specialty ingredients. Whenever I buy something special for one recipe, I try to find other recipes that’ll use it up. Sometimes that’s easy: leftover rosemary goes into cookies, or leftover molasses becomes Gingerbread Waffles.
But sometimes…it’s a little trickier. Enter wassail. Wassail is a mulling spice blend that’s most commonly used for mulled cider, spiced wines and other wintry drinks. It makes drinks seem extra cozy and special in colder months, and it’s probably responsible for your favorite winter drink.
Once you’re done making drinks, though, it’s not really clear how to use up the rest of your mulling spices. I spent a good amount of time looking for a recipe that used wassail as an ingredient. I literally only found this one recipe, for the cookies you see here today. I didn’t know what to expect…but man, are these good cookies! Melanie of Melanie Makes definitely cracked the wassail baking situation. She figured out that wassail would be a great flavor complement to orange, chocolate and even Blue Moon beer. These cookies may sound complicated, but the final flavor profile is pretty incredible. The cookies have a slightly malted taste, generous bites of chocolate, and a fruity, fresh finish from the glaze.
So after you go caroling this year and sip up your cider…why not use leftover wassail for some cookies? I promise you’ll be glad you tried it. I left some cookies unglazed out of curiosity, but definitely recommend adding the glaze if you can snag some oranges. It adds a nice layer of flavor!
Wassail Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Orange Glaze
Original recipe: Melanie Makes. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: ~36 cookies
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: ~1.5 hours
Cook Time: 12 minutes
For the cookies
- 12 oz Blue Moon beer
- 1 cup shortening
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp wassail (I used this blend from Rodelle but you can sub in another brand)
- 3 cups flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
For the glaze
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1-2 tablespoons orange juice
Make your cookies
- Pre-heat your oven to 375F
- Put your beer in a small saucepan, and turn it up to medium-high heat. Cook the beer until it’s reduced–you want 1/4 of a cup left. It might be sort of hard to tell the quantities, so you can always pour in more beer than the recipe calls for and just measure out 1/4 cup when it’s reduced a bit
- Use your mixer to cream the shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar
- Add eggs and vanilla. Beat until fluffy
- Pour in the beer, and mix until the ingredients are combined
- Add your wassail, flour, salt and baking soda. Mix to combine, but don’t overmix
- Stir in your chocolate
- Scoop balls of dough onto lined baking sheets
- Bake for 10-12 minutes. They should start to firm up a bit, but still be a bit soft in the centers
- Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes, then move them to a rack to finish cooling
Glaze your cookies
- Once the cookies are totally cool, whip up your glaze!
- Whisk your powdered sugar and orange juice until they’re combined and smooth. The glaze will be white and a bit sticky looking when it’s ready
- Drizzle glaze over the cooled cookies. Let the glaze set before you package up or transport the cookies
Cooking down the beer
Cookie dough comes together
Add your spices!
Stir in chocolate
Dough balls ready to go
Fresh out of the oven
Cookies are cooled and ready to glaze
Unglazed and glazed, side by side
Sometimes you have extra rosemary sitting around from a recipe you made for dinner the night before. And while you could go look up ideas for another dinner recipe that uses rosemary…why not just make pancakes instead?
That’s how these pancakes came into my life. I happened to have extra rosemary, oranges and milk. None of those things are typically in my kitchen so really: these pancakes had to happen. Right then, right there.
These pancakes are a scrumptious brunch treat that’s great for a slow Sunday, Easter brunch or any other time you have a hankering for pancakes. Which, at least in my world, is a pretty regular occurrence. The ricotta gives the pancakes a fabulous, pillowy texture and the orange/rosemary combo is a really nice pairing of fruit with a more herbal flavor.
These require a few steps to get breakfast on the table, but it’s worth it. You need a bit of lead time, because step one is infusing your milk with the rosemary. Steeping the rosemary in milk gives your pancakes a subtler rosemary flavor than if you folded bits of rosemary into the batter itself. This recipe also requires you to whip egg whites to medium peaks. That doesn’t take very long, but you do need to pay close attention to get your peaks justtt right. Thanks to this wonderful internet thing, I’ve found some great egg white tutorials, like this visual guide from The Kitchn.
The original recipe calls for a lavender whipped cream topping. We didn’t do that part (a.k.a. I didn’t have any lavender sitting around) but it sure sounds delicious!
Orange Rosemary Pancakes
Original recipe: This is a Sweet Blog. I’ve rewritten things a bit and added commentary.
Yield: We got 8 pancakes out of this, but your yield obviously depends on how big you make your pancakes!
Suggested equipment: Mixer
Total Time: ~45 minutes
Cook Time: ~4 minutes per pancake, but will depend on your stove
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup ricotta
- 2 large eggs, with the yolks and whites separated into separate bowls
- 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
- 1 tbsp orange zest
Prep your milk
- Pour your milk into a saucepan and throw the rosemary sprigs on top
- Heat the pan until it starts to simmer, then remove from heat
- Let your milk cool for 15 minutes. Then, remove the rosemary sprigs. You can strain the milk if needed to get out extra bits of rosemary
Make your batter
Whisk your flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl
- In a separate bowl, whisk your milk, ricotta, egg yolks, orange juice and zest
- Fold your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing until it’s all just incorporated. You should still see small lumps in the batter
- Now, whip your egg whites with a hand mixer or stand mixer, until they form medium peaks
- Whisk the egg whites into the bowl of batter. When you’re done whisking, there should still be slight traces of egg white whips visible
Cook your pancakes
- Butter a pan, and heat it up to medium heat
- Pour your batter into the pan and let it fry until small bubbles appear on the top. Then, flip it over and fry for one more minute on the other side