Who doesn’t love a great Riesling paired with a delicious and creamy cheesecake? We certainly do, but our tips for baking with alcohol are taking on a whole new meaning today. That’s because cooking with alcohol in the recipe is a great way to add distinct flavors and aromas.
Of course, we will not discourage you from cooking with your favorite adult beverage. Just be sure that most of the alcohol makes it into the recipe during the process. Whether you’re baking cupcakes with alcohol, cookies with alcohol, or bread with beer, you’re guaranteed to have a unique palate experience. Boozy additions are always a great idea but must be placed strategically and with care. Here are some tips for success below:
4 Tips for Using Alcohol in Baking
1. Know your alcohol
This may sound easier said than done but baking with liquor or any other alcohol is a science. All forms of alcohol trigger different chemical reactions when baking and produce different flavors. It’s important to know which alcohol to add to a specific recipe.
For example, when using wine in baking, reds are best for braising and whites are great for deglazing liquids. Regardless of whether you’re using reds or whites, both can be added to pan sauces and vinaigrettes. Adding a German Riesling to an apple pie or a red wine to a chiffon cake can be a whole new experience for your taste buds.
Since beer is a natural leavening agent, different beer types like Brown Ale, Double IPA, or Stout can make your ginger cookies or caramel tart really stand out. Most of the flavor is cooked out of beer when used in braises and bread but will stay put in sauces, like cheese dips and steak sauces.
If you’re using craft beer, malts are usually the best for baking and adding sweetness while balancing the bitterness of hops. However, hops are bitter but still are great for adding big flavor to pastries like brownies or donuts. Just be careful about the amount that is included in your recipe.
Baking with liquor is the most challenging when creating booze-infused recipes. While you want the flavor of the liquor, its best to use it sparingly to prevent overpowering the dish or pastry. It’s best to add liquor in baby steps.
Simple syrups are an easy way to incorporate rich, strong flavors into pastry dishes while preserving all other flavors. A Bacardi Rum cake or a Black Russian cake are some of the best ways to use liquor while topping off with a chocolate glaze. Kahlua can be added as a flavor enhancer to Tiramisu recipe. With liquor or liqueurs, the options are virtually limitless.
2. Use as a substitute
One of the best things about baking with alcohol is that it can be used as a substitute for extracts and other flavors. The best way to do this is to use the same amount of alcohol that you would for an extract in any given recipe. An example is the use of Bourbon, which is typically aged in barrels, giving it a smokey vanilla flavor that can be used as a vanilla extract for a pie filling, cake mixes, and even cookie dough!
It’s important to remember that quality over quantity is paramount in substituting alcohol for other flavors. In other words, use the good stuff when using alcohol as a substitute in baking.
3. Watch food alcohol levels
Yes, you read that right. It could ruin the taste of the recipe, so add alcohol with caution. Too little alcohol and you may not taste it in the dish, but too much will overpower your recipe and ruin it. Always check alcohol levels with the recipe given.
4. Use what tastes good
This goes without saying, but be sure to buy alcohol that you’d drink. Just because the recipe calls for it, doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy it if that’s not your forte.
When baking with alcohol, you want to include a spirit that you’d most likely enjoy during and after the meal or dessert. The alcohol adds texture, moisture, and flavors that will permeate throughout the recipe. You want to be able to enjoy the experience, even if most of it ends up in your glass!
As you can see, cooking with alcohol is one of the best ways to spend a day in the kitchen. Always remember that alcohol evaporates quickly depending on its concentration, liquid ingredient balance, and how strong you want the alcohol to be in the mix.
Are you looking for baking ideas or products to pair with your favorite spirited beverage recipes? Visit our website or visit us on social media and check out our supply. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed. Until next time, happy baking!