Holding the slim 125-page volume of “Cookies & Beer: Bake, Pair, Enjoy,” I was skeptical. As someone who writes a weekly beer column for MaineToday Magazine, the book’s premise seemed like a stretch.

Regardless, I cracked the soft cover and read the introduction. The first three sentences disarmed my suspicions: “Cookies and beer. You just read that and smiled, right? I’m smiling, too, because this is a big, silly, wonderful idea.”

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies paired with beer. Testers found the flavors of beer mingled well with the sugar, butter and spices in the cookies. Dave Patterson

Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies paired with beer. Testers found the flavors of beer mingled well with the sugar, butter and spices in the cookies. Dave Patterson

“Cookies & Beer” is an invitation for readers to make a big batch of cookies, buy delicious craft beer, and invite their friends for an evening of eating cookies and drinking beer.

Author Jonathan Bender explains that as he was testing recipes for the book, if the cookie and beer pairing failed, “the worst thing that happened was we had cookies and beer.”

I like your attitude, Mr. Bender.

Here’s how “Cookies & Beer” works: Each cookie recipe, of which there are 38 total, offers a specific beer pairing. The book does a good job explaining why the beer’s flavor profile will interplay nicely with the cookie it’s paired with.


Bender gives the reader the opportunity to swap out his beer suggestion for another beer with a similar flavor profile. For example, in the recipe for Nana’s Molasses Cookies, I replaced the book’s suggestion of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale with the local option of Rising Tide Brewing Company’s Daymark Pale Ale.

Since I’m a dud when it comes to baking, I enlisted the talents of my good friend Flora to prepare four recipes: Nana’s Molasses Cookies, Man Bars, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Curry Coconut Macaroons.

Flora related that the recipes are clearly written and accessible to cooks of all abilities, but at the same time did offer a few challenges for seasoned bakers. She echoed Bender’s advice: For the most success (and ease of preparation) use a stand mixer.

I purchased the appropriate beer for each recipe, and Flora and I invited 15 people to her Portland house to give the experiment of cookies and beer a go.

It was a smashing success. The cookies were delicious. My friends who are beer aficionados were as satisfied as were the casual beer drinkers who just wanted to eat some cookies. The flavors of the beer mingled beautifully with the sugar, butter, flour and spices of each cookies.

We dunked our cookies in beer. We snapped off sugary bites and gulped from our glasses. We laughed a lot. And we joked at how we were doing an adult version of the milk and cookie parties we had as kids.


My trepidations about the book dissolved one sip and one bite at a time.

Curry coconut Mmcaroons paired with Bucko's Hoppy Brown Ale from Hidden Cove Brewing Company. Dave Patterson

Curry coconut Mmcaroons paired with Bucko’s Hoppy Brown Ale from Hidden Cove Brewing Company.
Dave Patterson

The standout for nearly everyone at the party were the Curry Coconut Macaroons, which I paired with Bucko’s Hoppy Brown Ale from Hidden Cove Brewing Company  in Wells. The back and forth between the coconut and subtle curry flavors of the cookie with the caramel and brown sugar flavors of the beer was wonderfully complex.


Pair with Mikkeller’s Jackie Brown Ale (also try locally brewed Hidden Cove Brewing’s Bucko’s Hoppy Brown Ale or Foundation Brewing’s Burnside Brown Ale).

Makes 10 to 15 cookies

2 cups sweetened shredded coconut


1 teaspoon curry powder

1 large egg white

Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

Combine the coconut and curry powder in a small bowl . Stir the coconut until it’s evenly coated with the curry powder.

In a clean large bowl, use a whisk to beat the egg white and salt until stiff peaks form. The peaks are stiff when you can hold your whisk upside down and the peaks hold their shape without collapsing. Gently fold the coconut and curry powder mixture into the beaten egg white.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. If you like larger macaroons, you can use an ice cream scoop. The scoop yields 10 cookies, but they’ll be perfect half snowballs. You’ll have about 15 cookies if you use a tablespoon.

Bake the cookies until golden brown, 13 to 15 minutes for larger macaroons and 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones. Start checking the cookies after 10 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Let cool for 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes.

The macaroons will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for about 1 week.

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