So, it's autumn. Officially. And now I feel less weird about buying and drinking pumpkin beers. But I also really want to start making all the food that you can make with all the brews - beer, coffee, and heck, even liquors. I thought today, rather than review a new brew, I'd talk about cooking and baking with them instead - because who among us hasn't cooked at least something with beer, wine, coffee, or liquor?
And I know that there is never really such a thing as "too much beer" or "too much coffee," buuuut.. right now I have a surplus of one of these items. I could throw a party and serve it along side punch, hot and cold cider, and wassail, but I'm having one of those lazy and overscheduled months where it's probably not going to happen, so I might as well cook and bake with it.
Which means I need recipes that are good for fall, football season, World Series parties, and just life in general. Oh, and some of those recipes should involve beer. Or coffee. Or rum. My first new recipe included beer, and it was How Sweet Eats' Short Rib Tacos.
They're amazing. Seriously. The recipe is one you make in a crockpot, so it's sort of "set it and forget it." Well, until your whole house smells like delicious food and you get impatient. But I made our batch with Wiedemann's Royal Amber and it added a really good flavor to the tacos - the beer enhanced the seasonings and beef without being overwhelming, making for a good chilly-night taco recipe.
I'm also seriously craving quick breads. My current favorite is Smitten Kitchen's Jacked Up Banana Bread. Which, really, has been my go-to banana bread recipe for years. The amount of liquor in the recipe is small, but it enhances the caramel-like flavor that banana bread takes on as it bakes. Which makes this bread pretty darn addictive, if you ask me.
I don't cook with beer often, but have done it enough to have a good idea what to use when recipes say to use a favorite. The same goes with coffee - except most of my coffee recipes involve chocolate.
Beer is a little tricky because of all of the varieties out there, so I have a few tips for cooking with it (that I'll share below, followed by recipes!):
- Cook with beer you like. If you don't like it, you may not like what you're cooking.
- If you aren't sure, use something lighter flavored or that's kind of everywhere, especially if you're cooking for a crowd. You want the flavors to be familiar and not overwhelming.
- It's okay to experiment!
Now onto the recipes! I've already shared two of my favorite ways to cook with brews, but other ways I like to use my brews in cooking are:
- Chocolate Stout Cupcakes. They're rich in chocolate flavor and oh-so-good. The best part: this recipe adds even more to the mix with Jameson frosting.
- Beer Cheese. I love beer cheese. It's perfect for dipping pretzels, chips, eating off of a spoon... and even on hot dogs. Try it. Trust me: it's delicious.
- Pulled Pork Sandwiches. This includes another recipe for beer cheese that I'm eager to try, as well as a new-to-me recipe for pulled pork. The sandwiches look really homey and delicious, and there's lots of cheese (I really do love cheese).
So, for coffee, I have just a couple links, but I like to use coffee in chocolate dishes a lot. Its dark flavor enhances cakes and brownies very well. But my favorite combination? Espresso beans covered in chocolate. Um. YUM.
- This link has ten very tasty ways to use leftover coffee. Including ice cream, pork chops, and a host of other fun recipes. I never thought of using it on pork chops before, so that recipe intrigues me. So much so I may try it next week.
- Mocha. Popsicles. I'm pretty sure I just went to heaven here, and am scouting out popsicle molds so I can make these like, yesterday. Because these? Breakfast food. Snacks, all. the. time. The best of two worlds: coffee and popsicles. Oh, and a third: chocolate.
I'd say all of these recipes will satisfy my overwhelming desire to do what I do every autumn: cook and bake. There are so many ways to use all kinds of brews in the kitchen, and I'm excited to get to baking, cooking, and yes, freezing.