Root Beer Cookies

Root Beer Cookies
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A long, long time ago when I was a little girl, my mother’s good friend brought us a plate of Root Beer Cookies. Clearly it was a memorable day because since then I have personally made these cookies probably a hundred times. They are one of my family’s favorite cookies now that I have children of my own. My son asks for them more than any other cookies.

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I originally posted this Root Beer Cookie recipe over at Make and Takes, but I wanted to post it over here, too, so I can have it on hand when I don’t feel like wading through my recipe binders.

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I posted this recipe awhile back (like in 2006 when I first started blogging) sans photos. That was back in the days when I didn’t have a fancy camera. I thought I’d post a how-to because I already took the pictures, why not?

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Okay, I’ll be honest. Not everyone likes these. It takes a very special person with a very special appreciation. I am one of those people, as are several of my close friends, my sisters, and my husband’s cousins. And if you’re a root beer fan, I think you’ll LOVE these root beer cookies too.

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Let me just say this: Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

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The cookie dough base is very good even if you don’t use the root beer extract. I’ve included some variations we’ve made over the years – check below the recipe in my notes.

In any case, if you give these a try, I hope you’ll come back and let me know how you liked them!

Root Beer Cookies

from my mom’s friend

Ingredients:

For cookies:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons root beer extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (can also sub gluten-free flour blend)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup water (optional–only use if dough is too dry)
For frosting:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (salted or unsalted is fine)
3 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons root beer extract
1-2 tablespoons hot water

Instructions:

1. For cookies: Using an electric mixer, cream butter and dark brown sugar until very light and fluffy. Stop and scrape down sides of mixing bowl as needed.
2. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next add the root beer and vanilla extracts.
3. Whisk dry ingredients together. Add the dry ingredients, a little at a time, to the creamed mixture. Stop and scrap down sides as needed. Add the water only if the dough is too dry.
4. Cover the dough and chill for at least an hour or until firm.
5. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350°F.
6. Roll the chilled dough into small balls (about 1″ diameter). For evenly portioned cookies, use a mini ice cream scoop. Place the cookies far enough apart so they can spread without touching each other.  Whether you roll them or scoop them, flatten the tops a bit before you bake them if you like the cookies to be flatter. If not, the cookies will bake up a little thicker.
7. Bake cookies for 6-8 minutes, rotating cookie sheet halfway through, or until cookies are set on the edges and a little under baked in the center. Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to finish cooling.
8. For frosting: Beat butter on high with an electric mixer until it is fluffy. Add a little powdered sugar and the root beer extract. Beat until smooth. Add remaining powdered sugar alternately with a little hot water until a nice spreading consistency has been reached.
9. Frost the cooled cookies and let stand for a few minutes to allow the frosting to set up. (It should dry a bit on the top.)
10. Store frosted cookies between layers of waxed paper in an airtight container. Alternatively, store unfrosted cookies and frosting in separate airtight containers. Cookies are also really good made into sandwiches.

Notes: If you don’t like root beer, simply omit the extract from both the cookie dough and frosting. They are a great base for chocolate chip cookies and leave room for more varieties.

We like to add maple flavoring and chopped pecans. Recently I posted a recipe using the cookie dough sans root beer extract with hazelnuts and toffee. I’ve also done white chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and dried cherries – with and without nuts. Dried apricots and cranberries would be good, too. Or leave ’em plain for delicious, soft n’ chewy brown sugar cookies.

How-to pictures:

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Cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

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Add eggs, one at a time, and root beer and vanilla extracts. Beating well.

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Add the dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing well after each addition. Only add water if the dough is too dry.
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The dough should be sticky like shown in the picture above.

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Chill the dough until firm enough to hold its shape. The chilled dough is also much easier to scoop. Use a mini ice cream scoop for evenly sized cookies and clean hands. :)

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The cookies spread quite a bit, so leave plenty of space between them.

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Flatten the tops for thinner cookies, or leave as-is for thicker cookies.

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 Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to racks to finish cooling completely before frosting.

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While the cookies are cooling, prepare the root beer frosting. Frost the cookies and allow the tops to set up and dry a little before storing.

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12 Comments

  1. I made these after seeing your recipe on Makes and Takes. They are so yummy!!!. After posting it on my blog I had someone suggest to use the cookies and make ice cream sandwiches with them. I think it was an excellent idea!

  2. I am practically your neighbor…don’t be surprised to find me on your doorstep begging for leftovers.

    This recipe may cause me to shop on the Sundy.

  3. Laura–My friend suggested that idea to me four or five years ago after I brought them to her family. What a great idea! I’ve been working on getting the cookies right so they’d work for ice cream sandwiches. The last time I made them, they were too hard out of the freezer and the ice cream squeezed out all over. Not that they weren’t good. :) I’m still trying. It’s on my list for the summer. Glad you like them!

    Hannah–you can eat my leftovers anytime! You, too, B.

    Pinkstripes–you should try it. You’d be surprised. I use the extract to make ice cream, too, and homemade rootbeer.

  4. aw! I remember when you came over one night and we ate a fresh batch just for us.

    I miss you. I could have really used a girl’s night like that this week. even without the cookies.

  5. I too saw your recipe on Make and Takes and have posted the recipe for my family on my recipe blog with a link to your site for the recipe as well!
    Hope some of my friends come and visit your site! I have subscribed now and am having fun reading all your recipes!
    Thanks soooooo much for sharing!
    You can see my pics of my batch of cookies at
    http://www.fromkellyskitchen.blogspot.com

  6. First time here and boy oh boy, I must confess, I’m sure liking it! This recipe for Root Beer Cookies sounds so intriguing, I just had to “grab” your recipe link to include in a post I did today celebrating Charles E. Hires. Hope you don’t mind.

    Any left? I sure could use one (or two) about now. Thanks for sharing…

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