beer sticks

Beer Sticks

I present to you beer sticks!

Recently my aunt posted some photos in our family chat group showing how she forms these little sticks of deliciousness. I immediately recalled my father who would always talk about his mom making them but he never managed to jot down the recipe. I of course immediately asked my aunt for it and gave it a go myself.

Interesting thing about these beer sticks, everyone from my dad’s side of the family claims they’re a typical treat from the island of Madeira (Portugal), unfortunately no amount of research in Google has led me to a proper story behind their origin. I’ve asked other people of Portuguese origin (here in Venezuela we have loads of Portuguese families) but zero, another person with ties to Madeira was able to confirm their awareness of the existence of these treats but was as clueless as me regarding how they came to be. If the day ever arrives that I get the scoop on what their story is, I’ll most certainly be updating this post. For now I’ll just leave the recipe here so it doesn’t get lost yet again.

beer sticks

Recipe notes:

  • I’ve only tried this recipe using light beer (4.5 percent alcohol). My aunt suggests Cerveza Zulia for this recipe but I’m confident any light beer would work well.
  • To shape I’ve tried two different techniques. My aunt uses the first one, I personally prefer the second one:
    1. Extend the dough to about 5mm thick, cut into small rectangles (2cm x 6cm), take each rectangle by the ends and twist. You can see an example in this video, even though they’re making strozzapreti pasta the principle is more or less the same.
    2. Roll the dough into a long tube, cut into 6cm segments, press a copper rod (or a skewer dipped in flour also works fine) against one end of the dough segment and roll so that the dough spirals around the rod. Another video of a lady shaping pasta, this time with the rod, even though it’s pasta the same technique applies.
Beer Sticks

Pestana family recipe. Madeiran recipe.

Makes about 40 sticks
Ingredients
  • 50g cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 100g all purpose wheat flour
  • 100ml light beer
  • Enough granulated sugar to coat the sticks
beer sticks
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking tray with a Silpat or parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl combine the butter and the flour. Use your fingers to cut the butter into the flour until it’s in pea-sized pieces.
  3. Drizzle in 50ml of beer and mix until the dough comes until the dough comes together. Add more beer if necessary.
  4. Fill a not-so-shallow plate with granulated sugar.
  5. Shape the beer sticks (see recipe notes above). Every time you shape a stick roll it in the sugar and place on the prepared tray.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Keep an eye on the ones on the outer edges, you might have to take them out first since they tend to toast quicker.
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