Just before St. Patrick’s Day, the web is teaming with Baileys desserts. Everything from cakes and brownies to puddings and parfaits. These Baileys Chocolate Irish Cream Cookies are made with pure Irish butter, a little cocoa powder, espresso powder and two types of Irish cream (liqueur & baking chips) for Baileys cookies that are as welcome on March 17th as they will be every other day of the year.
I used to have a laissez fare attitude about butter, not really understanding (or caring) about the difference between American and Irish or European varieties. Butter was butter, plain and simple and since I came of age in the 80s — it was something to be avoided at all costs (remember the 80’s low-fat craze that made us all fatter?) It wasn’t until later in life that I realized how wrong I’d been.
The difference between Irish butter & American butter
There are several differences between Irish and American butter and the first few that you’ll notice are purely visual (see photo above).
- First, the size… American butter is sold by the pound and comes in parchment wrapped half-cup sticks where Irish butters (and some European butters) are sold in 8-ounce (1/2 pound) bricks, that can be about the same cost-wise. Yes, Irish butter is more expensive.
- Second, the color… American butter has a feint pale yellow color and when the parchment is peeled back you can see that it’s firmer and more solid from the barely-noticeable indentations from the packaging. Irish butter is a rich, gold color (attributed to the fresh grasses, rich with beta-carotene, that the cows in Ireland graze upon. Also, notice how the Irish butter is softer and more malleable, showing obvious indentations from the foil packaging… That’s an indication of fat content — and yes, Irish butter has more of it 82% vs. 80%. However, there’s more to it than that…
Anytime a cow eats fresh grass, it creates cream high in conjugated linoleic acid, a heart-healthy unsaturated fat that’s liquid at room temperature. In cream from animals fed grain, however, saturated fats dominate, which makes for a stiffer, more brittle butter.Robert Bradley, a professor emeritus of food science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an expert on butter. Read more here.
What about the taste?
Irish butter is richer, creamier AND more flavorful than domestic American butter…. which translates to flakier pastries, richer cakes and chewier cookies. Try it once… you won’t go back. It’s why I use Irish butter in these Irish Cream Cookies.
Ingredients for Baileys cookies
- Unbleached All Purpose Flour
- Baking Soda
- Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
- Instant Espresso Powder
- Irish Butter
- Light Brown Sugar
- Granulated Sugar
- Irish Cream Liquor
- Vanilla Extract
- Baileys Irish Cream Baking Chips
These Baileys cookies are layered with flavors, but none is too dominant. Instead they all meld together to create distinctive Irish Cream cookies subtly enhanced with cocoa and espresso. Irish cream liquor and baking chips are noticeable flavors, but if you can’t find those chips, semi-sweet chocolate or even white chocolate would work as well.
Creaming batter for Irish cookies
Like most cookie doughs, this is little more than creaming the butter and sugars until light and fluffy, then beating in the egg and flavorings until smooth and creamy. Whisk together the dry ingredients and beat them into the butter mixture until just combined.
Type of chocolate in Baileys cookies
These cookies only have a small amount (one tablespoon) of cocoa in them. It’s meant to enhance the flavor of the Irish cream without overpowering while also adding a sexy swirled dark and light brown hue to this Baileys dessert.
Best way to portion cookies
I used to be a “drop by rounded teaspoonfuls” kind of a baker, but my teaspoon was less of a measurement and more of wing-it approach. I’ve found that a variety of cookie scoops gives me even, uniform cookies that can reliably cook at the same time, to the same doneness, because they’re all exactly the same size. This kind of precision isn’t mandatory, but it removes the guesswork and yields perfectly-sized munch-able snacks.
Technique for giving the cookies their distinctive look
Baking the cookies as you normally would gives them a puffy dome, but there’s a way to add ridges and grooves which I find both rustic and beautiful.
- Bake the cookies for about half the baking time.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven and firmly whack it against a counter 4-5 times until the cookies deflate a bit.
- Return the cookies to the oven to finish baking.
I’ve used this technique in my chocolate cherry ripple cookies to stunning effect. These cookies are smaller than those behemoths and don’t quite have the same drama, however, this technique does lend a certain appeal even to these smaller cookies. It’s optional (so don’t feel compelled if your main focus is just to have a cookie in hand), but if you’re trying to impress, this method adds a touch of flair.
Pro-Tip: Using chips for decorating
If you like the look of glossy chips peeking out from the top of your cookies, here’s an easy method:
- Reserve a few extra chips (say 2-3 per cookie).
- When the cookies are done baking, but still hot from the oven, lightly press a few chips into the tops of each cookie.
- Let the Baileys Irish cream cookies rest for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
The trick here is that when the cookies are still hot from the oven, they’re soft and pliable. Placing a few chips on top of the hot cookie and lightly pressing them into the dome will both afix them to the Baileys dessert and warm them enough (without melting) to create that glossy chocolate-y effect.
How do they taste?
The flavor of these cookies is truly unique. In fact, upon appearance only, friends will assume a double chocolate chip cookie. But after tasting it, you’ll notice their face change. Questioning. What is that flavor? It’s only when you tell them “Irish Cream” that their face will perk up with recognition and appreciation. “Yes, that’s it!” My husband shared most of this batch with his work colleagues and he’s been pestered relentlessly ever since for “more of those Irish cream cookies”.
More Baileys Desserts & Drinks:
- Baileys Cheesecake via Peas and Peonies
- Baileys Mocha Mousse from Little Sugar Snaps
- Chocolate Irish Cream Whoopie Pies by Ritzy Mom
- Coffee Buzz Martini
- Banana Cabana – A Caribbean Drink (and yes, it DOES have Irish Cream)
- Creamy Irish Mocha Latte
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Bailey’s Irish Cream Cookies
- 1 cup + 3 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 8 tablespoons Irish butter (or European butter) at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon Irish cream liquor
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup Baileys Irish Cream Chips or semisweet chocolate chips (+ additional for decorating)
- In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine.
- In a medium bowl add the butter, brown sugar, white sugar and espresso powder. Use a hand mixer to cream the mixture together until very smooth.
- Add the egg, Irish cream and vanilla extract and beat until very light and fluffy, about 2 minutes on high speed.
- Add the flour mixture in two additions, not adding more flour until the first bit has been incorporated into the batter. Add the chips and stir to combine. Refrigerate the batter for 30 to 40 minutes before baking.
- 15 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 375°. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or a silpat.
- Using a 1 1/4 teaspoon cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the baking sheet, leaving 2" between each cookie to allow them to spread. Bake for 5 minutes, remove the pan from the oven and whack the pan several times against a solid countertop or stove. This is an optional step, but it deflates the cookies a bit, making them less puffy and more rustic looking.
- Returm the cookies to the oven to bake for an additional 4-5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle a few chips on each cookie, lightly depressing them into the surface. Cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.
- Store cookies in an airtight container, separate layers with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
- Makes about 45 cookies.