I woke up on Sunday morning craving a beer. Maybe it was the lack of beer from the night before or maybe I was dreaming about drinking… I’m not quite sure. What I do know is that these muffins turned out so gosh darn tasty that I ate 3 of them. and then I slipped into a 10am food coma while watching the Food Network. Let’s just say it was one glorious way to start the day.
- 3 cups + 3 tablespoons of all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon turbinado/raw sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup neutral oil such as vegetable or canola
- 12 ounces of a malty beer; think stout, porter, or brown. Or maybe even pumpkin?
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold butter
- 1 1/2 tablespoons molasses
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Sift together the 3 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
- Beat the 2 eggs together in a separate bowl; add the beer and oil.
- Slowly pour the liquid mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
- Mix together; do not beat or over stir!
- In another bowl, add the molasses, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and remaining flour.
- Cut the ingredients together with a fork until the mixture is homogenous and crumbly.
- Grease a muffin tin or use cupcake wrappers to prevent the muffins from sticking.
- Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, but only fill them halfway.
- Use half of the crumble mixture to divide evenly amongst each muffin.
- Fill each tin with the remaining batter.
- Use the remaining crumble to top each muffin.
- Bake in a 350F for 25 minutes or until done.
If you’re reading this blog, support craft beer, and live in Texas, you likely know 4 Texas breweries took home medals at this year’s GABF, an incredible win for the Lone Star State and its growing craft beer scene. One of those breweries was Austin Beerworks; they received a silver medal in the English-style summer ale category for their Peacemaker.
I met one of the owners, Michael, at a Craft Beer Tweet Up and he was kind enough to invite us on a tour; uh.. yes, please! We took him up on the offer and visited the brewery a couple of weeks later. The guys who work there were all awesome – welcoming, informative, passionate about what they do, and they answered all of my I’m-a-lightweight-and-two-drinks-in questions.
In honor of that win, and because we now had a 6 pack in our fridge, we created this tasty snack based around the Peacemaker:
And while I typically will not endorse or promote a particular product, well, let’s just say the corner store next to my work can hardly keep Austin Beerworks on the shelves and, when they do, I’m usually heading home with more beer than I probably need…
Ricotta makes my knees go weak. It’s really that simple.
As a kid my mom would let us choose what we wanted for dinner on our birthday. For years, without fail, my dinner of choice was cheese raviolis. I was a picky kid, perhaps the pickiest, but there was something about ricotta that I simply could not get enough of. To this day it’s one of my favorite foods.
When I found out it’s one of the simplest foods to make from scratch… I just about keeled over in disbelief. But it’s true. Oh, sweet Jesus, is it true. There’s truly no reason not to make it yourself. The ingredients are inexpensive and the result is fresh, creamy, cloud like deliciousness.
- 1/2 gallon whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
- a pinch of salt
- fresh lemon juice
- Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth. A clean dish towel will also work, but can impart a soapy flavor if washed in scented detergent. I’m a hypoallergenic kind of gal, so we use one towel strictly for cheese and rinse it thoroughly before straining the milk curds.
- Bring the milk, cream, and salt just to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from burning on the bottom of the pan.
- Turn the heat to low and add the juice of one lemon.
- Stir constantly until the curds separate from the whey, about 2 minutes.
- Once fully separate, turn the heat off and strain into the lined colander.
- Allow to sit for 1 hour until fully drained.
- Transfer to a bowl and mix in any additions. For this post, I used lemon zest and fresh thyme.
- Add some olive oil (optional), serve with a good crusty bread (also optional), and try to save some room for dinner. Can’t lie… this has been my dinner on more than one occasion. It really is that good.
Beer inspired variations:
- Steep fresh hops in the milk & cream overnight. Proceed with the recipe, but after the mixture comes to a boil, strain the milk & cream into another pan before adding the acid.
- In step 6, allow to strain until most of the moisture is gone. Transfer to a bowl and stir in 2-3 tbs. pale ale, in addition to the lemon zest and thyme (latter two ingredients still optional). The cheese will be more spreadable and just as, if not more, delicious.
Now the question is how can I make this a part of every meal…
The French 75 seems to be showing up on cocktails menus in Austin more and more lately. I’ve seen happy hour specials on them, an event booth that taught you how to make your own, and a competition between Texas bars to see who could sell the most. I’m not usually one to drink gin, but I do have to say… they’re tasty. It’s a drink that feels fancy while still being approachable and refreshing. There’s only one thing that it’s lacking: beer. We can fix that, though….
- 1 ounce gin
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 3/4 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 3 ounces of a light beer*
- a strip of lemon rind to make a twist if you feel particularly fancy
*I used an Austin Beerworks Peacemaker, but I’m also a fan of the High Life in this recipe. I mean, it’s the Champagne of Beers. That must make it the perfect substitute for real champagne, no?
- Combine the gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake the bajeezus out of it.
- Strain into a chilled glass.
- Top with the beer and garnish with a lemon twist.
I’m a huge fan of making food from scratch. I’ll also be the first to say that it doesn’t always make sense to do so. Time constraints and food costs all too often get in the way. But then there are things like mustard. There’s really no reason not to make it yourself. It’s quick, absurdly cheap, and the flavor is worlds better than anything you’ll find in a squeeze bottle at the grocery store. And did I mention you can customize it to your taste with little to no effort? It’s definitely a recipe worth experimenting with. Heck, now that I know just how simple it is, there’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll have two to goodness knows how many flavors on hand at any given time.
- 4 tbs yellow mustard seeds
- 2 tbs brown mustard seeds
- 1/2 cup + a glug of light, non-hoppy beer
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tbs honey
- 1 tbs brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. turmeric
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Grind 1 tbs. of yellow mustard seeds to a powder.
- Mix with the remaining mustard seeds (yellow & brown) in a small bowl.
- Chop the garlic and shallot very finely. Large pieces of garlic in mustard doesn’t seem like it’d seem that appetizing in turkey sandwich…
- In a small, non-reactive saucepan combine the beer, vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, shallots, honey, turmeric, allspice, and salt (aka the rest of the remaining ingredients). Bring to a boil, then gently simmer for about 15 minutes or until the mixture reduces by about half.
- Pour the mixture over the mustard seeds, cover, and leave in the fridge for 36-48 hours.
- Pulse the mixture in a food processor or grind with a mortar and pestle until smooth. If you prefer grainy, pulse a few times just until the mixture comes together.
- The mustard is now delicious and fully sandwich ready and it’ll be even better in another 24-48 hours as the flavors meld and the acidity mellows out a smidgen.
Do you prefer honey mustard?
Mix the honey in the recipe and add honey at a 1:1 ratio with the final product.
Do you prefer your mustard more pungent and strong?
Use black mustard seeds instead of brown.
Do you prefer spicier mustard?
Increase the amount of brown mustard seeds and/or add a chopped serrano pepper with the garlic and onion. Or add tabasco or chile powder to the final product.
Do you prefer a more robust mustard?
Use a porter or a stout instead of the pale ale and replace the tablespoon of honey with a tablespoon of molasses.
Even the above is just a starting point; play around with mustard seed varieties, types of vinegar, and spices. The possibilities are truly endless. And if you fully sanitize the jar and lid beforehand, it will keep for several months in the fridge, that is if it lasts that long…
Chris Cosentino is one of my culinary heroes. His restaurant, Incanto, introduced me to the wonder of duck head, pig trotters, and all things offal. This recipe is based on his with the addition of Lindemans Kriek, a tart beer that reduces incredibly well. The result is a dessert that’s tart, creamy, floral, and just sweet enough with an underlying pepper note.
- 3 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk, divided
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbs. sugar
- 1 to 2 tbs. pink peppercorns depending on your taste
- 2 1/2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- 12 oz. fresh cherries, can use frozen & thawed
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 or 2 bottles of a kriek or other lambic (raspberry maybe?)
- You will also need 10 five-to-six-ounce ramekins. And.. this recipe can be halved (10 servings is a whole lotta panna cotta).
- Crush the peppercorns
- Bring cream, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup kriek or lambic, 3/4 cup sugar, and peppercorns to a boil in a large saucepan until the sugar dissolves.
- Remove from the heat and allow to steep for 10 minutes.
- Pour remaining 1/4 cup milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over and let stand until gelatin softens, about 10 minutes.
- Set a strainer over a large pitcher or bowl.
- Bring the cream mixture to a simmer; stir in softened gelatin and vanilla. Whisk until the gelatin dissolves. Let stand for ~5 minutes.
- Pour cream mixture through strainer.
- Coat ramekins with nonstick spray and divide the cream mixture amongst them.
- Cover and chill until they firm. It’s best to prepare them the day before as they can ~6 hours to properly set. Keep them chilled until eating time.
- Stir cherries with remaining 2 tbs. sugar and pepper. Let sit until sugar dissolves and juices form; stir occasionally.
- In a saucepan, add the remaining kriek/lambic and reduce until it reaches a syrup consistency.
Allow to cool before serving or it will melt the panna cotta (as can be seen in my picture at the bottom of this post; I was kind of sort of overly eager).
- invert panna cotta onto plates. Spoon cherry mixture over top and pour kriek/lambic syrup around in a big delicious puddle.
I am not a baker. There’s something about the whole following directions thing that I just haven’t gotten the hang of. Unfortunately for me, baking doesn’t often tolerate a cook going rogue and that’s kind of what I did with this recipe.. I couldn’t stop drooling when I read it in Bon Apetit last month and had to give it a go, but also decided to add beer because, well, beer and chocolate go lovely together.
To my own disbelief, this cake turned out ah-freaking-mazing. In fact, I was so impressed with myself that I brought a piece to the Pastry Chef at my work for her to critique. Her response was excellent. As was the restaurant’s Forager who also tried a piece. Both let me know the recipe was a ‘keeper’ and so now, that’s exactly what I’m going to do – keep it – blog style.
But before we get into it, let me say that this recipe isn’t very difficult (don’t let the somewhat lengthy ingredient list fool you!), but it is sort of time consuming (less the sort of). Read through the steps, buy the ingredients in advance, and plan to make the filling the day before and have no fear that the invested time is absolutely worth the end result.
- 3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup New Belgium 1554 (or other dark beer, or kahlua)
- 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
- 3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the meringue)
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- nonstick oil spray or butter
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 large egg
- 1 large egg white
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tbs. cake flour
- 3/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
- 6 tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbs. buttermilk
- The rest of the bottle of 1554 (or other dark beer or more kahlua)
- 1 tbs. finely ground espresso beans (optional)
- 1 tbs. cocoa nibs (optional)
BLACK PEPPER MERINGUE
A candy thermometer would also be good to have to make the meringue.
- 1 cup sugar, divided
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 3 large egg whites, room temperature
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper (fresh is a must)
- Pour 1 tbs. cream into a small bowl; sprinkle gelatin over and let stand until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Combine the chocolate and salt in a large bowl.
- Whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1 tbs. sugar in a medium bowl.
- Bring remaining cream, the beer, and 1 tbs. sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan; stir to dissolve.
- Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture in with the egg yolks, being careful not to create scrambled eggs (which I did on accident on the first attempt…).
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat until it thickens slightly and your finger leaves a path when you draw a line on the back of a spoon. This will take ~3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Add the gelatin mixture to the cream mixture; stir to dissolve.
- Pour the cream mixture through a strainer (I use the same one I use for brewing) and into the large bowl with the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute.
- Whisk until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.
- Add the creme fraiche.
- Use a stand up mixer (or your mad mixing skills) to beat until well blended.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the filling and chill overnight.
- IMPORTANT: Pour the rest of the beer into a bowl or glass and cover; leave it so that it goes flat and doesn’t affect the texture of the cake with its carbonated goodness.
- Mix 1 tbs. sugar and salt in a small bowl.
- Attach a candy thermometer to a small saucepan and add remaining sugar and 1/2 cup water.
- Sit over medium low heat until sugar dissolves.
- Increase heat and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling the pan, until the thermometer shows 240F, which will take about 10 minutes.
- Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment; beat at medium speed until frothy.
- With the mixer running, gradually add the remaining sugar and salt.
- Gradually add the hot sugar syrup to the egg whites while the mixer is on medium-high.
- Continue beating the egg whites until they are stiff and cool; this will take around 20 minutes.
- Add the pepper.
- Immediately spoon onto the cake. Smooth over top and sides; swirl decoratively (and because it’s easier than trying to make the topping look clean and smooth).
- If you have a blow torch, torch away.