Just when you thought you had covered everyone on your list…surprise! That’s why it makes darned good sense to cook up obscene quantities food gifts, put them in jars and cute boxes and have them at the ready.
My faves are salted caramel Cholliesauce, roasted and glazed nuts and of course, a constantly replenished stash of crackle. We’ve learned to love Crackle over the years, but it’s time to shake it up a little. It’s time to go to the Dark Side. Behold Crackle 2.0, a more grown up version of decadence from a favorite site: thebeeroness.com.
I love the idea of cooking with beer, and the whole consequence of recipes only calling for half a can (at most) of some shmancy beer, making it perfectly ok—even responsible—to finish the rest. There are lots of things I love about this, including of course the taste, which really isn’t beer-like or even alcoholic after all that boiling.
This recipe lets you decide on the thickness of both the toffee and the chocolate layers. Also, it does not require oven time, leaving your oven free for baking things like these and these and these. No baking means also no urgency between steps, which is nice. You can make the toffee part and then come back to slay the rest.
Finally, the dark chocolate is a more sophisticated touch (even if you hedge and add some milk chocolate chips when you run out of the good stuff).
I have made this with Guinness and most recently with Lagunitas Little Sumpin ale, subscribing once again to the “love the one you’re with” method of ingredient selection. Do keep it to craft beer or something more complex than Bud. If you want to really experiment, read up on the Beeroness wisdom. Alternatively, just wing it, and try a new beer with each batch. Oh, and for presentation points, make this edible plate out of peppermint candies. You’re soooo Martha!
Chocolate Pretzel Beer Toffee
Adapted from The Beeroness
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Butter (2 sticks)
1/2 Cup Amber Ale
2 Cups Pretzels, Smashed
2 Cups Dark Chocolate Chips (60% cacao content)
1/4 Cup Amber Ale or Chocolate Stout
1 Tbsp or so coconut oil (optional but it gives the chocolate a nice gloss)
In a large pot over high heat add the sugar, butter and 1/2 cup amber ale, it will triple in volume during the cooking process so make sure to use a large pot. Stir until the mixture starts to boil. Allow to boil untouched until the mixture starts to darken and thicken at about 230 degrees. Stir continuously until it turns a very dark amber and hits 290 degrees. (Use the color as your guide. Too light means less caramel flavor. Be patient but vigilant!) This process will take between 15 and 20 minutes from start to finish. Pour onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper or a Silpat. Immediately spread to desired thickness before it starts to harden. Allow to cool.
Add the chocolate to a large bowl. Heat the beer until hot but not boiling. You can heat it on a pot on the stove or microwave it in a microwave safe bowl. If you use the microwave, know that the beer will foam up once it reaches it’s boiling point. Pour the hot beer over the chocolate chips and stir until well combined and melted. (Alternatively, and preferably to SOME, do the whole shebang in a double boiler. See Edie notes below.)
Pour the chocolate over the toffee and smooth out in an even layer. Sprinkle the crushed pretzels over the chocolate and chill until the chocolate has set. Cut into pieces.
Beeroness Notes: If you use a chocolate with less than 60% cocoa content, it will have higher levels of milk solids, because of this it will have a more difficult time hardening once the beer is added. Try to find 60% and chill it to set.
Edie Notes: In my microwave-deprived house I made this as directed a few times but could not get the chocolate to be as glossy as I wanted. I had better results melting the chocolate and beer over water in a double boiler, and adding a bit of coconut oil. For chocolate I used a combo of 2 Ghirardelli Intense Dark 72 % Cacao bars, and enough milk chocolate chips to get to the right amount.