Why eat regular gingerbread cookies when stout-flavoured ones are so much nicer? They’re soft, rich, crackly and chewy—the perfect holiday treat. Get ready for the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves to waft through the house! Stout and molasses give these cookies a soft, chewy texture and deep, delicious flavour. Rolling the dough in sugar before baking yields a crackly top that will earn you an A+ on Santa’s midnight snack. Stick to the recommended cooking time: The cookies will be slightly underdone when they come out of the oven, but the pan’s residual heat will finish the job.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Set aside.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on high speed, beat butter with brown sugar until pale and smooth, about 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium and beat in egg until smooth, about 30 seconds. Beat in stout, then molasses, until well combined, about 30 seconds each.
Add flour mixture all at once and beat on low speed until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Add sugar and stir, using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, until dough is soft and flexible.
Place racks in top and bottom thirds of oven and preheat to 325°F. Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper (see tips) and set aside.
Directions for Coating
Place sugar in a shallow dish. Using your hands, roll dough into golf ball–sized balls, using about 1-1/2 tbsp (22.5 mL) of batter for each. Roll in sugar, then arrange, 2 inches apart, on 2 of the prepared pans. (You should have no more than 10 balls per pan.) Using your palm, flatten each ball to about 1/3-inch thickness.
Bake on top and bottom racks in preheated oven, rotating and switching pans halfway through, until edges are set but centres are still soft and just slightly firm to the touch, about 11 minutes.
Remove 1 pan from oven and hold 4 to 5 inches above counter. Drop pan, banging gently but firmly on counter 8 to 10 times, until cookies deflate and cracks appear throughout. Repeat with remaining pan.
Let cool on pans on cooling racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to racks and let cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough, sugar and prepared pans.
Cookies are best the day they are made but will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container at room temperature.
Start with ingredients that are at room temperature—especially butter, eggs and molasses. When butter is too cold, sugar can’t effectively blend with it, and the mixture won’t aerate properly. Chilly molasses is ultra-sticky and won’t mix well with other ingredients. Cold eggs can curdle in the batter, while room-temp ones are easily blendable.
You can use fresh or flat stout. When you’re measuring it, the foamy head doesn’t count—make sure the liquid comes up to the line on the cup. If you’re using freshly opened beer, pour it into the measuring cup, give it a chance to settle, and then scoop away the layer of bubbles and top it up to the correct line.
If you don’t have 4 baking sheets, simply roll the remaining dough into balls, coat with sugar and set aside on a plate until the first 2 pans have completely cooled (reuse the parchment paper from the first batch).