Saturday, April 7, 2012

Baking Experiment: Bailey's Irish Cream Cookies

Another experimental recipe, but this time, I'm writing the entry after preparing, baking, and eating the food. Trust me on this one, y'all, remember that this was an experimental recipe, and that you should read all the way to the end to get all the juicy tidbits and results.

The Recipe


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup Irish Cream liqueur (i.e. Baileys)
  • 1/4 cup butterscotch schnapps
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour


  1. Cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in vanilla, egg yolk, and egg until combined, then beat in egg; beat until smooth. Add Irish Cream and schnapps, and mix until incorporated.
  2. Sift flour into the mixture. Stir well until evenly mixed.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Scoop the dough (which should be fairly soft and sticky) into a piping bag. (In a pinch, a gallon sized ziplock with the tip cut off will work. Consider reinforcing the tip with gaff or duct tape.) Pipe into flatted fingers or wavy shapes, keeping the cookies fairly flat to ensure even cooking, onto a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
  5. The piping bag can be a mess, but it does make it easy to make a variety of interesting shapes.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes (or 16-18 minutes, see below). Remove to cooling rack to set afterward.
Some possible shapes: squiggly snakes and flat fingers.

The Results

These cookies as baked were a bit of a let-down. They didn't have a whole lot of flavor, and you definitely couldn't pick out anything that distinctively said "Baileys!"

Cruising the internet, it became clear that most variants of this recipe include two more ingredients than I do: salt, presumably for flavor, and baking powder. Baking powder! Of course. Definitely would have helped these cookies be a little less spongy and more crisp, like sugar cookies should be. The snake-shapes especially (that you can see in the above picture) were pretty moist in the middle, and not that flavorful. For the later trays that went in the over, I shifted to the flatter finger shapes and even flattened circles, in an effort to get more consistent cooking.
The flatter cookies baked more evenly and avoided the cakey texture that the snakes had.
At this point my roommate and his girlfriend came home, and lost as I was in their delightful friendship, I left a batch of circles in the oven for over 17 minutes. I assumed they'd be a lost cause, but they actually came out crisper and tastier than any of the other batches. I left the remaining batches in for about the same amount of time, and they too were delicious.

Even with the overbaking, the cookies were still a little bland. These really being sugar cookies, it would have been nice to throw some icing on them, but without powdered sugar, I didn't feel I could make a solid and sturdy enough icing to hold up to the hardness of the cookie.

Schnapps and brown sugar to the rescue! I brushed each cookie with a little more butterscotch schnapps, pressed a generous pinch of brown sugar on top, then brushed more schnapps over the top and let them dry. These made a sugary crisp topping that really added to the flavor of the cookie. If I'd have had cinnamon, I think cinnamon-sugar would have worked as well, but might have disguised this as a typical snickerdoodle, instead of a sugary butterscotch cookie.
The butter brush: no longer just for butter. The emergency cookie fix made quite a mess, but it was worth it.

Next Time

Add salt and baking powder. Ditch the piping bag - a lot of mess for not that much added value or taste. Bake a solid 12 minutes at least. Add icing. Clearly, these cookies are begging for a second baking.

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