I made these spent grain cookies with Kahlua and chocolate chips just over three months ago… It has certainly taken me a while to publish the recipe, but since today is National Cookie Day I finally found the resolve to do it.
While I am still not completely sure about the process of proclaiming a national something day, I do know about making cookies with fresh spent grain (as opposed to spent grain flour cookies). And I will give you an idea of what you could substitute the spent grain with if you don’t have any at your disposal.
Spent grain is the leftover malted barley (plus any other malted grains used) after the mashing stage of brewing has been completed and the grains have been sparged (hot water has been ran through them to release any residual wort). After sparging, the spent grains are scooped out of the mash tun and can either be discarded or, more commonly, used in recipes or as animal feed (animals go nuts over fresh spent grain!!).
This below is fresh spent grain, within an hour of Chris giving it to me. Do you notice the husks? I did squeeze some liquid out by simply applying pressure with my fist, but for the most part it remained quite moist.
If you do not have fresh spent grain at your disposal you can use cooked hulled barley (whole grain barley) instead. It will bring a similar texture to your cookie dough and it has a pleasant nutty flavor similar (even though not as robust) to that of malted barley spent grain. Either use the instructions on the package for cooking the hulled barley or follow the ones provided in the recipe card below.
The rest of the ingredients are very straightforward. I used classic Kahlua, rum and coffee flavored, but you can absolutely use a different flavor or even Bailey’s if you are so inclined.
These spent grain cookies turn out amazingly fluffy, yet you will not fail to taste the grains that dot them throughout. They make their own wholesomely chewy contribution to the texture. Imagine fresh baked biscuits, but sweet and filled with chewy grain bits. And the coffee and rum flavored infusion of the Kahlua partners so very well with the faint nuttiness of the spent grain. Plus, there are the chocolate chips further sweetening the experience.
Actually, these are not overly sweet cookies. You can increase the brown sugar to boost the sweetness level, but the resulting texture will not be as fluffy/cakey.
Learn how to make Spent Grain Flour and utilize the fresh spent grain you cannot use right away.
Pairing wise, I would either go with hot coffee with a shot of Kahlua:) or a porter/stout. The cookies are fun to dunk in either of the two beverage options. In case you have respect for dunking. I love to dunk my cookies.
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- 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1½ cup spent grain (*see below for substitute grain, cooked hulled barley)
- ⅓ cup Kahlua (original flavor) or substitute with coffee porter reduced by half over medium heat, then cooled off)
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 2 eggs beaten
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp vanilla
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- *To substitute the spent grain with cooked barley: Use a ratio of 1 part barley to 3 parts water. Bring 1½ cups water to a boil. Add ½ cup hulled barley and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 45-50 minutes. Cool off and squeeze out any extra water before using in this recipe. Should make exactly 1½ cups.
- In a mixing bowl combine the melted butter, beaten eggs, brown sugar, Kahlua and vanilla. Mix well.
- Stir in the spent grain.
- Add the flour, salt and baking soda and stir it in using a fork.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Spoon over parchment paper lined cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes at 425°F.