These spent grain cookies have a nutty, toasty flavor with a grainy texture similar to oatmeal chocolate chip cookies! Using the byproduct from beer brewing, this is a great way to use up spent grain and make delicious chocolate chip cookies.
A few years ago, I asked my brewmaster friend if he’d be willing to help me try making this Chocolate Stout beer. Trevor is amazing and he took me on a field trip to the grain store where we picked out pounds of grain, yeast, hops and lactose in a musty, farm-like warehouse before spending hours starting the brewing process. We realized halfway through that Trevor had the wrong type of yeast on hand, so we apparently made a Belgian chocolate stout instead of a normal stout, which he’s never done before.
If you boil down the brewing process to the basics, this is how I understood the process:
- Boil a ton of grain in water and let it sit to extract sugars from the grain
- Take the sugar-water and boil it with other components to make the beer:
- Hops: for bitterness and balance
- Flavoring: we used cocoa
- Lactose: for sweetness–it’s a sugar that isn’t fermented by the yeast
- Add yeast and let ferment.
After making the initial mixture, the beer goes to sit in a vat–leaving behind pounds of spent grain.
What is spent grain?
Spent grain is the term for the pounds of leftover boiled grain from the brewing process.
It isn’t the prettiest thing: it kind of looks like horse food and smells vaguely barn-like when ground into flour. However, that grainy, prickly, soggy mass has had most of the starch boiled out and is essentially a pile of protein and fiber. It’s often used for animal feed, but you can also use it in other baking applications like granola, flour, bread, waffles, biscotti, muffins, etc.
What else can you make with spent grain?
I’ve tried making granola out of spent grain and also dried out spent grain in the oven (at a low temp of 200 degrees for a few hours) to grind it into spent grain flour, which opens up a world of possibilities. You can use spent grain in all sorts of baked goods like bread, pretzels, pie crust, pizza dough, crackers, and more.
My greatest success so far has been these cookies!
What do these cookies taste like?
The texture is soft with a yielding crumb and studded with chewy grains—like the thickest oatmeal cookie you’ve ever had with a crazy grainy texture. (You could probably sub oats if you don’t have spent grain and add a few more tablespoons of milk. Or Omnomicon suggests that any cooked grain might work—like quinoa!) These have a nice peanut buttery flavor with nutty undertones.
Spent Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (vegetable oil also works)
- 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1/3 cup milk, any kind
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup spent grain flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1.5 cups spent grain, wet
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, oil, sugar, milk and vanilla. Add the flour(s), baking soda and salt. Fold in the spent grain and chocolate chips.
- Roll cookies into balls using about a tablespoon of dough per cookie. Bake on a greased cookie sheet at 350F for 12-14 minutes until the tops begin to brown and look dry. Cookies should feel firm-ish to the touch—slightly soft in the center, but not gooey.
- These are absolutely the best the day they are made, but will keep in a sealed container at room temperature or in the fridge for a few days (up to a week in the fridge).
Did you try this recipe?Tag @thepancakeprincess on Instagram!
With that beer you just brewed, you might want to try your hand at this cake…
Momofuku Pretzel Cake: stout-soaked pretzel layers layered with burnt honey frosting, stout ganache and pretzel crumbs!