Beer candy? Absolutely!
At this year’s World Food Championships, I was given the opportunity to host a live cooking demonstration showing guests how to use beer in desserts. While pairing beer with food is common, using a beer to actually create the dessert may seem foreign, and rightfully so. As a culture, we are taught that beer is merely a beverage to be enjoyed on a hot afternoon and that each cool crisp sip will take life to new levels of popularity and enjoyment. However, with the amount of time, effort, and expense that brewers are putting into their crafted brews, identifying each beer’s flavors and nuances and using that beer as an ingredient in a recipe is a relatively new concept–one that I have fully embraced.
When prepping for WFC, I reached out to several Tampa Bay craft breweries to find sponsors who were willing to see their beer turned into sweet treats. To my surprise, FIVE breweries bit and graciously, sent their brews with me to Alabama.
As the breweries came on board, I had the job of deciding which of their beers I would like to feature and then, creating dessert recipes to highlight each beer. As a foodie, I wanted a variety of flavors, a variety of styles, and a variety of desserts. The end result…five breweries and six desserts featuring seven different beers (yes, one dessert had two different beers in it). One of the desserts we made was candy, toffee, using an American red ale by 3 Daughters Brewing in St. Petersburg, FL. With its caramel flavor and chocolatey finish, it was perfect, and incredibly EASY to make!
1 c. granualted sugar
1 c. softened butter (2 sticks)
1 c. chopped pretzels
1 c. chopped roasted & salted peanuts
2 c. dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa or higher)
1/4 c. 3 Daughers Rod Bender Red Ale
2 tsp kosher salt
In a large pot, combine sugar, butter, and 1/2 c. Rod Bender. Bring to a boil over high heat. Allow to boil until the mixture reaches 230 degrees on a candy thermometer. Then, stir continuously until it reaches 290 degrees.
Pour the molten candy onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. Use an offset spatula to spread to an even thickness. Allow the candy to cool. It will harden as it cools.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat 1/4 c. Rod Bender for 1-2 minutes or until it boils. Add chocolate chips and allow them to melt for 30 seconds. Stir until chocolate is smooth.
Pour the melted chocolate over the hardened toffee and immediately top with chopped pretzels, peanuts, and kosher salt. Chill until the chocolate is set.
Remove the candy from the pan and the parchment paper, cut/break into chunks, and enjoy!