Making a dessert with beer can be one of the easiest “cooking with beer” tasks you can do, depending on the dessert (if you can’t bake a regular cake to save your life, then baking a cake with beer in it might not be any different, sorry to say). But, if you can crack open a bottle of craft beer, pour it in a goblet, and then scoop in your favorite ice cream, then voila! You’ve just made a beer ice cream float, and trust me, it’s delicious.
But that’s not actually making a dessert with beer. So let’s try a one that is: Homemade beer ice cream. If you have an ice cream maker and the ingredients, then you’re all set. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, but REALLY like ice cream, think about spending $40 and getting the machine. It’s worth it, and a great way to wow guests at dinner parties.
I did this just the other night when friends came over; I made a Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar ice cream with Spiced Brown Butter Almond Tuile Cups. Now, only the ice cream has the beer in it, but if you want to fancy things up a bit, I suggest making the tuile cupsâ€”they’re easy, they’re tasty, and you could probably figure out how to use a little beer in them as well.
But first, the ice cream.
I use a base recipe that is for a Philadelphia-style ice cream (it doesn’t contain eggs, so you don’t have to fuss with cooking it—bonus!)
Hazelnut Brown Nectar Ice Cream
2 cups light cream
1 cup beer (I used Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar)
1 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
Whisk the ingredients together until combined; pour into your ice cream maker and process per the manufacturer’s instructions. I’ve noticed that when I make beer ice cream, the final product out of the ice cream maker is the consistency of soft serve, but once I get it into the freezer, it firms up. You could also use heavy cream, which thickens the finished product a bit, but I had light cream on hand and rolled with it.
If you were going to serve this without the tuile cups, then during the last 5 minutes of the processing time you could add nuts like almonds or hazelnuts to amp up the nuttiness. Or just add them as toppings when you serve them.
Now for the tuile cups. I originally found the recipe in Bon Appetit magazine, but have made a few changes.
Brown Butter Almond Tuile Cup Ingredients
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of Chinese five-spice powder
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup minus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/8 cup finely chopped almonds
Preheat to 350°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats. Place 4 pint glasses, upside down, on the countertop.
Stir butter in small saucepan over medium heat until nutty brown and milk solids are dark brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Carefully pour browned butter into small bowl and cool slightly.
Combine egg whites, sugar, five-spice powder, and salt in medium bowl; whisk until mixture is foamy, about 1 minute. Add warm browned butter, leaving dark brown milk solids behind in bowl; whisk until blended. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour and whisk until blended and smooth.
Drop batter by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets, spacing so you fit 3-4 cookies on each sheet. Spread out using an offset spatula or butter knife, getting the batter thin and to the shape of a 4-5 inch circle. Sprinkle almonds over each.
Bake the tuiles, 1 sheet at a time, until evenly golden all over, about 11 minutes. Working quickly and using wide metal spatula (hint spray the spatula with a little non-stick cooking spray), carefully lift each tuile immediately drape over pint glass. Press the tuile to mold to the bottom of the glass, making cookie bowls. Cool until tuiles are set. Repeat making total of 12 cookie bowls, or less, depending on how many guests you may have.
Scoop the ice cream into a cup and garnish with a cookie shard on top. The nuttiness of the ice cream and the nuttiness of the brown butter and almonds go together well. Definitely give this a try!
A few notes on beer ice cream:
• I’ve found sweet, malty beers work best for this, though I’d be interested to see a big, citrusy IPA in ice cream formâ€”I’m curious if the flavor and aroma would make it through the freezing process, or if you’d be left with bitter cream.
• If making a stout ice cream, add a little unsweetened cocoa powder (maybe a tablespoon or 2). This amps up the chocolate flavors in the beer, and is especially wonderful (I had great luck doing this with Middle Ages Brewing Co.’s Dragon Slayer Imperial Stout.
• Yes, you will taste the alcohol. You will taste the beer. If you have friends over that do not like beer, I suggest serving them French vanilla with the cups.