MMMmmmm, beer, sweet beer...
to the truffle to make homebrewed bonbons for Valentine's Day
the inspiration for this extreme experiment:
Valley Brewing Co. releases Barney Flat Oatmeal Stout Chocolates.
Always with an eye toward beer and food pairing now Anderson Valley
Brewing Company has developed their own line of chocolate candies.
The chocolate candies are made with a soft Oatmeal Stout center. They
come in either dark and milk chocolate and there a mocha-stout version
that has a roasted coffee bean in the center.
and Stout are a taste combination made for each other" said brewery
owner Ken Allen. The release of the Anderson Valley Chocolates will
be in early Feb. 2004 (just in time to for your sweetheart - with
the sweet tooth). The chocolates are available in quarter and half
pound boxes at the brewery gift shop or on line at www.avbc.com."
cake" is one thing, but beer in candy? I love the taste of barleywine,
stout, and fruit ales with chocolate, and when I bake with chocolate,
I always try to add beer to the batter.
of bakers who read the "Cake Mix Doctor" cookbooks have tried the
addition of stout to chocolate bundt cake mix, always raving about
the moist and tender texture that results from substituting stout
is a bit trickier to make confections and candies with beer. That's
because the acidity of beer's hops and sheer volume of water both
change the texture of chocolate ganache (most chocolate candies are
filled with creamy centers called ganache). Pastry chefs always keep
water away from melted chocolate, because even a drop of water will
make the liquid cacao bean turn grainy and "seize up" into a stiff
and unappealing mass.
can you add the taste of beer to a chocolate confection? NYC pastry
chef Eric Girerd is an accomplished chocolatier; his love of making
unusual chocolates borders on wizardry. His line, which sells for
close to $50 per pound, consists of ganache centers flavored with
spices, herbs, tisanes, and even wasabi. At the request of Richard
Scholz of BierKraft in Brooklyn, Girerd developed a line of beautiful
chocolates, sold exclusively at BierKraft, and flavored with brews
such as Abita Brewing's TurboDog or Ramstein Wheat Ale.
the beers and try to find one where the acidity is balanced so that
it will not overpower the taste of the chocolate," says Girerd. Then
he blends the beer with melted butter and warmed heavy cream to make
an emulsion, and uses that emulsion to flavor the ganache. "The high
butterfat makes it possible to add the beer-buttercream without making
the chocolate seize," says Girerd.
blended, the ganache is chilled for several days to ripen and grow
firm. The refrigerated air slowly removes excess moisture from the
ganache, which makes a perfectly smooth filling for confections. Girerd
is working to make his own proprietary blend of chocolate beans to
use in making fine bittersweet chocolate.
so difficult to find wonderful tasting, pure chocolate," laments Girerd.
"Just a few very large companies dominate the world market for chocolate,
so it is harder and harder for the small artisanal chocolatier," he
says. (That lament should sound awfully familiar to craft brewers...)
such as BierKraft often help small purveyors of specialty foods and
confections get started. Sweet Spot on Seventh is actually "a retirement
hobby started about 30 years too early," laughs Daniel Marks, an avid
candy maker. For years, he has made toffees and nut brittles for his
friends and family, and just last year, began supplying BierKraft
with a mixed nut brittle made with Smuttynose Brown Ale.
are tasty brown nuggets of caramelized sugar, butter and beer, cooked
into a crunchy dark brown cluster around a blend of pecans, almonds
and peanuts. They are best eaten fresh, because "unless it is enrobed
in chocolate, brittle gets softer and spreads into a chewier nougat,"
as Marks describes the effects of humidity on cooked sugar confections.
He sampled many different beers to make the brittle, but found the
Smuttynose to be a better complement with the taste of the nuts.
are some chocolate recipes to serve with your favorite strong ale:
(14 ounces) condensed milk
2/3 cup barleywine (room temperature)
1/4 cup 22 percent plain cocoa
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, very finely chopped, divided
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Covering: Melted white couverture or dark chocolate couverture (about
2 pounds) Chopped macadamia nuts (or other nut)
milk, cocoa and barleywine until smooth. You should have 2 cups of
liquid. Pour through a strainer into a heavy saucepan and heat to
just a simmer. Chop 8 ounces of the chocolate very fine and place
in heavy nonreactive bowl. Set aside remaining 4 ounces chopped chocolate
for later use. When the barleywine mixture just bubbles and is hot,
pour steaming blend into the 8 ounces chopped chocolate and stir slowly
with a spatula, until the chocolate melts. Melt the unsalted butter
in the same saucepan, and then when it is almost bubbling, remove
from heat and stir in the remaining 4 ounces chopped chocolate. Stir
until chocolate melts and then slowly stir the melted butter mixture
into the barleywine base. Stir slowly, so air pockets and bubbles
do not form. When smooth and glossy, pour the ganache into a 9x9x2
glass pan, and let cool. When cooled, cover and chill 1 to 2 days.
centers by cutting ganache into squares and place on parchment-lined
pan. To make bonbons, choose an assortment of coverings. Roll or dip
each piece of ganache in the desired covering, and place on a parchment-lined
baking sheet. Chill uncovered 6 hours, then pack into candy cups and
place in a sealed container. Keeps refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Yields about 3 dozen bonbons.
½ cup barleywine
½ cup chopped almonds
Ice creams of your choice
Chocolate sauce or melted ganache (above)
Slice the bananas and mix with barleywine. Set aside to marinate,
about 30 minutes. Place bananas and barleywine in an ovenproof dish
and sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar and toasted
almonds. Place under broiler until nuts are toasted and sugar is bubbly.
Remove from oven and let cool 4 minutes, or until bananas are warm.
Top with scoops of your favorite ice cream, and chocolate sauce, or
several tablespoons of the melted barleywine ganache. Serve immediately.
Yields 2 servings