Ahh dessert. The realm where I feel most comfortable because it’s one of my specialities — so much so that I just left my desk to go bake my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, although it doesn’t contain beer.
I have made 3 beer desserts I can recall. My first was a spice cake using Victory’s Storm King Imperial Stout, frosted with a quadrupel-spiced buttercream. I baked it for my 26th birthday, and guests seemed impressed.
We’ve made stout floats with Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout and a mocha java chip ice cream — and I think we’ve also used North Coast Brewing’s Old Rasputin and Stoudt’s Fat Dog.
I’ve also baked with liquid malt extract in place of molasses, creating my cherry oatmeal cookies, which were insanely good. Mmmm … cookies.
While baking my chocolate chip cookies and pondering beer desserts, I picked Ray’s brain for ideas. He thinks that any Belgian Strong, Tripel, Dubbel or Barleywine could be used with fruit somehow — so I suggested their use in a pie filling. Hmmm … a mincemeat pie dressed with a little English Barleywine in the filling? It could be delish. Ray also suggested making a reduction of a beer with some brown sugar and serving it over warmed fruit, with a spot of fresh whipped cream.
As for desserts we’ve ordered out, we have to tip our hats to the folks at Dogfish Head. We have shared the Chocolate Chicory Stout Cheesecake, which interestingly enough, is made with blue cheese and is insanely rich, and we have also shared the DFH Stout Sundae, which consists of vanilla ice cream, Chicory Stout chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a hop-infused brownie.
What I think is important to consider when creating a beer dessert is that you must have a plan of action for dealing with the bitterness. Balance is crucial. If you’re going to reduce a beer for a sauce, you don’t want to reduce it to an unappetizing sticky mess.
So I think this might mean no IPA-infused cookies. Nevertheless, I’m sure there’s a place for bright, grassy beers, just maybe not dessert.