Martini inspired (and flavored) cookies?!
December 7, 2008 1:48 PM   Subscribe

Experimental baking filter: I got this crazy idea to make martini-flavored cookies for a friend's birthday but I'm not sure how to go about it. After pondering over a couple different methods, I'm wondering if it's a doomed idea, as so much of the martini essence is in the alcohol which would cook off during baking.

Yeah, I know, very high concept. The goal is to have something that looks like a cookie, but when you take a bite it gives an unmistakable but pleasant impression of martini, with a little bit of sweetness.

My original plan was to modify a sugar cookie recipe, and replace most of the sugar with a reduced gin/vermouth mixture. (I'm comfortable enough with baking to adjust recipes as I go to get the dough consistency I want)

Before I could give that concept a try, I got cold feet and wondered if I'd be better off using a base cookie with no martini in it, then adding the essence/flavor near the end of the baking process. Haven't tried this either.

Anyone more experienced than I with baking, cooking with alcohol, or martinis have any clues for how to go about this?

Alternately, best forum to take this to, or (in case of concept abandonment) an unusual twist I can add to peanut butter cookies?
posted by itesser to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
Put that gin bottle away—or at least, put it back into circulation where the drinkers are. You'll only waste it.
Flavour your biscuits with juniper berry, olives, and salt.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 2:01 PM on December 7, 2008 [2 favorites]

Yikes, that sounds terrible. I second Fiasco da Gama in suggesting that you give up your original idea. Why not try making some sweets that are designed to be moist so you can replace some liquids with liquor, like tiramisu, ice cream or macerated fruit?
posted by halogen at 2:07 PM on December 7, 2008

You could, in theory, experiment with using the gin/vermouth to make an icing that you'd apply to the cookies after baking.
posted by CKmtl at 2:08 PM on December 7, 2008

There's no way you can get the flavor of alcohol into the cookies, but all the other flavor ingredients (including the vermouth) may be possible. Instead of trying to include them in the batter, how about painting a room-temperature mixture of gin and vermouth onto the cool cookies with a paintbrush? The alcohol would evaporate but it would leave most of the martini flavor in place on the cookie.
posted by Class Goat at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2008

I might try a Chocolate Martini Cookie.

There's also the possibility of making a savory shortbread, which is more like a biscuit than a cookie and could be altered a little to include a gin/vermouth soaked olive slice on top right before baking. To be sure, I'd try a test biscuit before making a whole batch this way.

You can also make peanut butter cookies that much more delicious by making a little thumb print in the middle and then spooning a little dollop of grape, strawberry, cherry or apricot jam to the impression.

Truly, a sweetened martini cookie sounds gross to me, but I admire the spirit of innovation you've got going.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 2:31 PM on December 7, 2008

I might just make juniper-lemon sugar cookies, which hint at "gin martini with a twist" without being so literal.
posted by judith at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2008

I am sorry that I cannot back it up with a nice link or citation, but I read that actual experiments have show that -surprisingly enough- quite a lot of the alcohol survives the backing process.
(I could now go ahead and waffle a bit about alcohol and water being an aceotrope, essentially boiling off together and thus any moisture retained must be a mixture of alcohol and water or something like that.)

So if you want to retain more taste you want to try a more spongy type of cake/cookie whatever.

Another idea along the lines of painting the cookies post baking as CKmtl suggested would be to use olives in the recipe and inject those olives with a gin/vermouth mixture after baking, giving you a hopefully delightful explosion of martini goodness. I successfully used this strategy with cherries in a cake that I injected with rum.

I agree with most of the above posts that it probably will taste terrible, but you should try it at least once or twice! Culinary progress demands it and there is no shame in failure! (Use Bombay Sapphire or similar, shitty gin will lead to shitty results and you'll never know if it was the gin or the recipe).

Onward! (I will now go ahead and drink some spirits, to justify the drunken tone of this post.)
posted by mmkhd at 2:46 PM on December 7, 2008

I'm going to have to disagree that alcohol is the actually essence. If you're talking about doing something inspired by or recreating flavors, it's the balance of the dry vermouth flavors, which depending on which style you prefer, all have their own varying recipes of varying herbs and flavors, and the juniper flavors of gin, again, going to depend on which gin you prefer. So make yourself a martini with the gin and vermouth you like, maybe taste the ingredients separately and try to isolate what flavors you're tasting and try to recreate that in your cookie. Maybe you won't end up pouring a martini into your cookie batter, but you could get the basic taste/idea (Make a batch just adding a bit of your vermouth of choice to the batter and see how it comes out?).

In New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail, I got to try a Sazerac cupcake. So it's not the most unheard of thing to try and make a cocktail inspired baked good. It wasn't exactly like downing a glass of the stuff, but then again I'd been drinking since the early morn, so don't base this taste test on my account. From what I remember, I could faintly taste where they were trying to go with the flavors (probably herbs and spices from Peychaud bitters as well as probably some other stuff to recreate the Herbsaint/absinthe anise-like flavors and whatnot), but it was basically a tasty cupcake, not an alcohol soaked affair.

Sorry, I don't have a recipe for the cupcake, but you could get in touch with the folks responsible for the cupcake, New Orleans Cake Cafe, and see what they have to say. Can't hurt to ask.
posted by kkokkodalk at 3:56 PM on December 7, 2008

I'm not a drinker, but what about rum balls, only with gin and vermouth?

Or would that be vile?
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:50 PM on December 7, 2008

Don't listen to the naysayers, you can do this! Using some straight juniper is a good suggestion, and a better idea than a reduction, but you will have to experiment. You can definitely make a cookie that has that alcohol flavor. It does not all cook out. I'd make a simple syrup with juniper and mix that with butter, and then I would add vermouth and a bit of gin just after the eggs.
posted by Nothing at 4:56 PM on December 7, 2008

Go for it. I've had sort of short-breadish cookies with a strong aromatic and the flavor makes it through the baking.

Keep in mind that Juniper is generally only one of the flavors in Gin.
posted by Good Brain at 7:30 PM on December 7, 2008

The thing is, some drinks don't need a strong alcohol kick to it to be distinctive. It'd be pretty easy to make a "White Russian" cookie. But Martinis are all about the alcohol. So it's not enough for the cookie to have some kind of "juniper" flavor. If you bake the gin and vermouth in, it might have the flavor of the margherita, but when you bite into it it won't "taste" like a martini.

I'd recommend making some kind of cookie with a nice juniper, lemon (and mayyybe olive) flavor and then put vodka or gin in some kind of spray bottle and give them a liberal spraying while they're cooling. They should dry out at that point but the alcohol won't have a chance to cook out.

You might even want to be just a litle crazy, and supply the "olive" flavor by taking some kosher salt and infusing it with olive flavor by breaking some olives into small pieces and mixing them in with some kosher salt and letting it sit in the fridge (well sealed) for a while. After spraying the cookies with alcohol, sprinkle with the olive-infused salt.

Would this work? I have no idea.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:31 PM on December 7, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks for the reality check, everyone! Some of the ideas have potential, but time is short so I'm going to look around for a tried and true quirky recipe or fall back on peanut butter chocolate chip. It's a fan favorite for a reason.
posted by itesser at 9:33 PM on December 7, 2008

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