How to Turn Leftover Beer into Toffee Sauce

January  4, 2016

If you love beer, it’s hard to imagine having too much of it around—after all, it keeps well and goes with everything. But say you are tired of drinking it or you have plenty of half-full bottles (that have not been sipped from…) after a party.

Or maybe you just love beer so much that you want to eat and drink it—which can sometimes be said of me.

There are a zillion savory dishes made with beer (from soup to waffles to chicken) but I particularly love beer in sweets and desserts because they highlight the lovely caramel-y, malty, hoppy, banana-y, grapefruit-y, and other beer-ish flavors that might get lost in spicy and complex meat dishes and barbecue.

Photo by Mark Weinberg

Recently, I made beer caramel sauce and beer toffee sauce. (I have an entire list of things I’ve been meaning to try with beer… I'm just trying to check them off!)

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Both sauces were excellent, but the toffee sauce was so darn simple, it had to be shared immediately. No thermometers or caramelized sugar are involved. All you need is beer, cream, butter, and brown sugar, plus a little salt and vanilla. Regular brown sugar (the moist type, not the crystal kind) is fine, but you’ll get more nuanced flavor by using light muscovado sugar instead.

More: All about muscovado and 5 ways to use it.

Dark and light muscovado Photo by Rocky Luten

Toffee sauce is plenty sweet by design, but the beer adds a pleasing bitter edge and extra dimensions of flavor. The sauce is perfect over vanilla ice cream; it should grand with coffee, chocolate, and other ice cream flavors as well, but vanilla is always my go-to starting point for dramatic contrast and for drawing out the flavors of a sauce.

All kinds of beer will work here—even a hoppy I.P.A. that might be too bitter for some other desserts—so feel free to experiment.

Notes: You can put open bottles of leftover beer in the freezer to be used later, by the way. And, you can use flat or fizzy beer for the recipe. To measure fresh beer: Pour the beer carefully down the sides of the measuring cup to avoid raising a head (or, weigh out 8 ounces/225 grams of it, head and all).

Check out my other beer and wine desserts, too:

Are you often faced with leftover beer—and how do you put it to use? Share with us in the comments!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

1 Comment

starvingfoodist January 5, 2016
What is this "leftover beer" you speak of? ;) Sounds yum.