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Chocolate Stout Covered Beer Caramels

You aren’t always aware of the nexus of a true obsession. It may only be in hind sight that the catalyst is revealed upon agonizing inspection of your past. For me, however, the spark was breathtaking, an obvious birth of a fixation that lead to this blog. That trigger was Bison Honey Basil Ale. A beer that begged to be turned into Beer Creme Brulee, my first post.

If you enjoy this little blog that I have, and are as fascinated as I am with turning beer into chewable treats, you don’t have me to thank, you owe the lovely folks at Bison Brewery a debt of gratitude. As do I, or course.

For this post, I used Bison Chocolate Stout, an excellent example of the genre.

Chocolate Stout Covered Beer Caramels

Ingredients

    For The Caramels:
  • 12 oz bottle low hop Pale or Amber ale, divided
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • For the Chocolate:
  • 1 1/2 cups 60% dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup Chocolate Stout
  • 1 tsp flakey sea salt (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, add 1 cup beer (reserve the remaining beer). Allow beer to boil and reduce until thick and syrupy and only about 1 tsp remains, about 20 minutes. Set aside. (Note: if you want a lower level of beer taste, skip this step and substitute the "extract" you have just made with 1 tsp of vanilla extract in the later step that calls for the beer extract)
  2. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, making sure the paper goes up and over the sides of the pan, set aside.
  3. In a large sauce pan over high heat add both sugars, butter, cream, corn syrup and remaining 1/2 cup beer. Stir until butter has melted and then stop stirring while the candy boils (you can occasionally swirl the pan), clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot, taking care that the tip doesn't touch the bottom. Allow to boil untouched until the liquid reaches 244 degrees. The caramel will reach 200 degrees rather quickly,but will take 15-20 minutes to reach 244. The last few degrees climb quickly so stay close to your pot.
  4. Once the caramel has reached 244, remove from heat. Add the reduced beer "extract" that you have set aside and stir until the bubbling has subsided. Pour it into prepared loaf pan, allow to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. Cut into squares.
  5. In the top of a double boiler add the chocolate and the stout, stir over low heat until melted and creamy, about 5 minutes. Don't over heat or your chocolate will seize.
  6. One at a time, place the squares into the chocolate with a fork. Roll around until covered, remove and add to a piece of wax paper, sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Once the squares been covered in chocolate transfer the to the refrigerator, repeat with remaining caramel. Chill until set, about 10 minutes.
  7. Keep refrigerated.
https://domesticfits.com/chocolate-stout-covered-beer-caramels/

 

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Salted Caramel Pecan Linzer Cookies

I’m reading What Alice Forgot. It’s about a woman who has no memory of the past ten years of her life. She thinks she is a blissfully in-love newly wed, pregnant with her first child when she is really a mother of three going through a nasty divorce. And she isn’t proud of the type of woman she has become: "a point-making hussy who went to the gym and upset her beloved sister and hosted cocktail parties…" 

It got me thinking. What would the 2001 version of myself think of the 2011 me? Would she be proud? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t think of myself as a point-making hussy. So that’s a win.

What would surprise me? What would disappoint me?

I’m pretty sure I would be shocked that I make Linzer cookies and have a food blog. Ten years ago I was just trying to figure out how to cook, skipping steps and trying to cheat recipes.

Am I going to be proud of the 2021 version? That older model with the inevitably fancier techno-gadgets and an 11 year old daughter? What would she tell me? What would I remind her?

She: "Even though you want to kick people in the shins when they tell you to "enjoy the baby years, they go by fast!" They are right. ENJOY chasing your naked toddler around the house before bath time because that will end"

Me: "Don’t forget how much work it took you to get where you are an appreciate it."

Who knows what else.

Where do you want to be in 2021? Or even the end of 2012?

What is stopping you? Make yourself proud, that 2001 version, the 2008, 2010 version. 2021 is going to come whether you like it or not. Where do you want to be?

Think about those goals you have neglected, like books on a dusty shelf. Those ones you would be embarrassed to have to answer to 2006 for not having even attempted.

They seem overwhelming, but you don’t have to do it all right now, just take a step. One today, one tomorrow. Order a catalogue from a college that has the major you have been thinking about. Start a business plan for that small business you want to start. Or just buy the domain name (about $10 at godaddy.com) for inspiration.

Leave that boyfriend that treats you like crap.

Take that photography class because you know that photo is in your blood you just have to figure out what aperture means.

Take on a part-time job so you can save for that trip to Europe that you are always talking about.

Actually volunteer.

Be the person you wanted to be ten years ago.

It takes work, but it’s worth it. If was easy it wouldn’t make anyone proud.

Linzer cookies are a sign of progress in my life, I never would have tried this ten years ago. And the look so fancy!

Salted Caramel Pecan Linzer Cookies

Cookies:

1 cup (2 sticks) of Butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking powder

2 cups of flour

1 tsp salt

Filling:

4 tbs butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

4 tbs light corn syrup (like Karo)

2/3 cup chopped pecans

2 tbs heavy cream, brought to room temperature

1/4 tsp kosher or sea salt plus 1/8 tsp salt, divided

Plus 1/4 cup powdered sugar for topping, if desired

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until well combined. In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder and salt, mix with a fork until combined. Add the flour to the stand mixer and mix until the flour is just incorporated into the butter mixture.

Form into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. It is important that the sugar cookie dough is cold or the cookies will spread too much during making.

Preheat oven to 350.

Once the dough is chilled, roll out and cut into 2 1/2 inch circles. Use a small cookie cutter to cut out a small window in the middle of just half of the cookies.

Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until the edges just barely start to brown. It will probably look as if they need another minute or too, but cookies continue to bake once they are out of the oven and you don’t want these to be too crispy.

Allow to cool. Top the window cookies with powdered sugar, if desired.

In a large sauce pan over medium high heat, combine butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently until the sugar has dissolved.  Allow to boil, without stirring, for about 5-7 minutes or until the sauce has turned an amber color. Remove from heat, stir in the pecans, vanilla and the cream and stir until combined. Allow to cool until thickened, but not hardened.

You don’t want to make the caramel sauce too far in advance because it will harden in the pan once cooled, making it impossible to add to your cookies.

Add about 1 tsp of the caramel mixture to the middle of the solid cookies (the ones without the cookie cutter windows) be very careful not to touch hot caramel, it will burn the crap out of your fingers. Use two spoons to get it into place without needing to touch it. Top immediately with a cookie with a cookie cutter window. Sprinkle a few grains of salt in the window. I used a super fancy large grain salt my sister bought me for my birthday. Yes, I am now the sort of person who gets excited to receive a box of super fancy salts from all over the world as a present. Take that 2001.

Allow to chill in the fridge until the caramel has set, about 30 minutes.