How to add a slight buzz to your dessertsFrom chocolate stout cupcakes to fruity sorbet topped with sparkling wine, desserts that marry spirits and sugar solve the dilemma of drink or dessert. Kristina Lau and Andrea Chang of Bakeology occasionally bake with booze and shared some tips for cooking with it.
By: Anna G. Larson, Forum News Service
FARGO — From chocolate stout cupcakes to fruity sorbet topped with sparkling wine, desserts that marry spirits and sugar solve the dilemma of drink or dessert.
Kristina Lau and Andrea Chang of Bakeology, known for the cupcakes at Unglued, occasionally bake with booze and shared some tips for cooking with it.
• Alcohol often dissipates when baked, so in order to get the flavor to come through, you can brush the alcohol/liquor of your choice on top of cakes and cupcakes with a pastry brush.
• Another way to incorporate alcohol into baked goods is to infuse frostings or fillings with a reduction to get the flavor without compromising the final product.
• To reduce alcohol, boil it in a saucepan or microwave it until you are left with half the amount of liquid you started with.
• A fun way to top off cupcakes is using edible gold leaf (available on Amazon).
It looks especially wonderful on top of chocolate desserts. Use a small dry paint brush to pick up a piece of gold leaf, and gently apply it to the frosting or glaze.
David Lieberman’s Chocolate Stout Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes
Note: Stout adds complexity and depth to the chocolate batter, and the alcohol cooks off in the baking process. Different stouts produce different flavors.
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 12 ounce bottle stout beer
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
¾ cup sour cream
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 stick of butter, at room temperature
1-3 tablespoons heavy cream
2-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. In another medium mixing bowl, combine stout, melted butter and vanilla. Beat in eggs, one at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Lightly grease 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each three-fourths full. Bake for about 12 minutes and rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until nicely domed and set in the middle. Cool before frosting.
Frosting: In a medium bowl with a mixer, beat cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add butter and mix until it’s a homogenous mixture. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners’ sugar until incorporated and smooth. Add more sugar for a thicker, sweeter frosting. Add vanilla and mix to combine. Slowly add cream until frosting is at desired consistency. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled.
Source: Adapted from the Food Network
Note: This dessert is only for adults, but swapping soda water for sparkling wine makes it kid-friendly.
Homemade or store-bought fruit sorbet (Talenti’s Roman Raspberry sorbet works well for this.)
A bottle of sparkling wine or champagne
Julienned basil or mint (optional)
Chill the serving dishes for at least five minutes. Scoop sorbet into dishes and top with a few splashes of sparkling wine or champagne. Sprinkle basil or mint on top. Serve immediately.
Source: Adapted from MarthaStewart.com
Irish Cream Crème Brulee
Makes six individual servings.
2 cups heavy cream
13 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons Irish cream (such as Bailey’s)
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place six ramekins on a towel set in a roasting pan that is at least 3 inches deep. Stir cream and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, and cook until very hot, stirring until sugar dissolves. Whisk together egg yolks, vanilla and Irish cream until combined. Slowly add one-third of the hot cream, whisking it in 2 tablespoons at a time until incorporated. Once you have incorporated a third of the cream, stir in remaining hot cream without the mixture curdling. Pour custard into the ramekins, then fill roasting pan with boiling hot water that comes halfway up the sides. Bake until set, 50 to 60 minutes. Once the custard has set, place ramekins on a wire rack to cool at room temperature, about an hour. Cover and refrigerate custard until cold, about 4 hours. Custards may remain refrigerated until ready to serve.When ready to serve, unwrap the custards, and sprinkle about one teaspoon of superfine sugar onto each. Gently shake custards so the sugar coats the entire top surface, then tip the custards to a 45 degree angle and shake off excess sugar. Using a chef’s torch (sold at cooking supply stores), melt sugar by making short passes over top of the custards with the flame not quite touching. Continue melting sugar until it turns deep brown. Once the sugar has melted and turned to caramel, the cold custard underneath will harden the sugar into a crispy crust. Serve immediately. Alternatively, the sugar-dusted custards may be browned underneath the broiler in the oven.