Five ideas for cooking with beer: chocolate cake, sweet potato soup, biscuits and more

When it comes to cooking with beer, darker varieties like porters and stouts work best. And those brews are more versatile than you'd think, adding flavor and a little something special to dishes beyond beer cheese soup (beer and cheese are best buds) and beer can chicken. We found five recipes that use beer in surprising ways, so pick up an extra six-pack and get to work on these dishes.


Honey and Beer Glazed Chicken Skewers


2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane or minced

1/3 cup honey

½ cup porter or stout beer

1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon Dijon mustard

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ teaspoon pepper

6 boneless skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup chopped shallots (about 1 medium shallot)

Oil for the grill


In a small bowl, whisk together the garlic, honey, porter, red pepper flakes, mustard, soy sauce and pepper. Add the chicken cubes and refrigerate for 1 hour and up to overnight.

Remove the chicken from marinade (reserve the marinade) and thread it through wooden skewers.

In a pot over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and shallots. Saute until shallots have softened, about 5 minutes. Add marinade and boil, stirring frequently, until reduced and thickened, about 8 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium high and brush it lightly with oil. Brush the chicken with the glaze and place it on the grill. Brush with glaze and turn every 2 to 4 minutes until cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Note: If you want to use the oven, you can. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken on a baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Brush liberally with glaze. Roast at 400 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, brushing with glaze every 8 to 10 minutes until cooked through.

Serves 4.



Chocolate Guinness Cake


Butter for pan

1 cup Guinness stout

10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter

¾ cup unsweetened cocoa

2 cups superfine sugar

¾ cup sour cream

2 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2½ teaspoons baking soda

For the topping:

1¼ cups confectioners' sugar

8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

½ cup heavy cream


For the cake: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and line with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine Guinness and butter. Place over medium-low heat until butter melts, then remove from heat. Add cocoa and superfine sugar, and whisk to blend.

In a small bowl, combine sour cream, eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add to Guinness mixture. Add flour and baking soda, and whisk again until smooth. Pour into buttered pan and bake until risen and firm, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Place pan on a wire rack and cool completely in pan.

For the topping: Using a food processor, or by hand, mix confectioners' sugar to break up lumps. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Add heavy cream and mix until smooth and spreadable.

Remove cake from pan and place on a platter or cake stand. Ice top of cake only, so that it resembles a frothy pint of Guinness.

Serves 8 to 12.

Source: New York Times


Prune Cake with Porter


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1½ cups cake flour, plus flour for dusting the pan

1 tablespoon cocoa

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup honey

2 large eggs

¾ cup dark porter or stout

1½ cups chopped pitted prunes

1 tablespoon grated orange zest


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8- or 9-inch springform pan with a little of the softened butter, then dust it with flour.

Sift the remaining flour together with the cocoa, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Beat the butter until it is fluffy. Slowly beat in the honey. Beat in the eggs one at a time and continue beating for 1 minute.

Add the flour mixture in thirds, alternating with the porter or stout. Fold in the prunes and orange zest.

Spread the mixture in the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Serves 8.

Source: New York Times


Sweet Potato Soup


2 ounces (½ stick) unsalted butter

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 medium-sized onion, diced

1 medium-sized carrot, peeled and diced

1 rib celery, peeled and diced

1 sprig fresh thyme, leaves only

1¼ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and diced

1¼ pounds tart apples, peeled and diced

12 ounces Belgian-style white beer

1 cinnamon stick

Salt and ground black pepper

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 cup heavy cream


Melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan. Add the garlic, onion, carrot and celery and cook on low until tender and translucent. Add the thyme. Add the sweet potatoes, increase the heat a little and cook, stirring from time to time, until the sweet potatoes are tender and start to caramelize, about 12 minutes. Add the apples and cook another 5 minutes or so, until they are tender. Pour in the beer and deglaze the pan.

Add 5 cups water and the cinnamon stick and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Allow soup to cool slightly, then puree it in a blender. You may have to do this in two batches.

Return the soup to the pot, stir in the nutmeg and cream and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.

Serves 8.

Source: Adapted from the New York Times


Jalapeno Beer Biscuits


2 cups flour

4½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 large jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely diced

½ cup cold shortening

About ¾ cup flat and warm beer


Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir in the peppers.

Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add the beer a few tablespoons at a time, tossing the mixture with a fork until it clings together into a ball. You may not need all the beer; the dough should be only slightly sticky and still easy to handle.

Lightly sprinkle a countertop with flour. With your hands, gently pat the dough out into a round about three-quarters of an inch thick. Using a cookie cutter or small glass, cut the dough into rounds about 2.5 inches in diameter. Place those on the baking sheet. Pull the dough scraps together into a ball, pat it out and cut more biscuits.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until golden brown. Serve very hot with lots of butter.

Source: New York Times