Beer paired with dessert? Delicious. But beer inside dessert? Even delicious-er! And not something you see every day.
But in our never-ending quest to ever consume beer in more interesting and unique ways, we knew there had to be dessert-makers out there who go beyond the typical Guinness cupcakes. (Not that the version Yours Truly Cupcake makes isn’t damned good!) And in our search, we found three phenomenal bakers from across the country who are using beer and their serious skills to make macaroons, marshmallows, and cakes even more delicious and boozy than we thought possible.
Coconut Stout Macaroons aren't just for the holidays
If you’re Jewish (or have been to a friend’s Passover seder), you might recognize the traditional macaroons from those holiday dinners. To me, they never really stood out -- they were bland, weirdly shaped fixtures that tasted like shredded coconut and not much else. But Danny Macaroons ain’t your bubbe’s macaroons -- they’re on a whole different level.
Danny (a.k.a Dan Cohen) had previously made macaroons for family consumption at holiday functions, but he never thought he’d hawk macaroons full-time.
“Seven years ago -- ten years after I started making [macaroons] -- I brought them to my uncle’s house,” Cohen explains. “My uncle’s mother-in-law was there, and had them for the first time. She said, ‘These are so delicious! You should sell these.’ And I said, ‘I appreciate that, but I’m working for a software start-up and I have no interest at all in trying to sell macaroons.’” Fast-forward to a few years later, and Cohen would win a People’s Choice award at the largest open-air weekly market in the country, Smorgasburg. Which proves an important lesson: always listen to your uncle’s mother-in-law.
Over the years, Cohen has created around 70 different flavors, and says that his Coconut Stout variety are in his top four of all time. And perhaps because creative thinking is easier with beer, he conceived this macaroon while he was drinking one. “I was in Hawaii drinking a Maui Brewing Coconut Hiwa Porter,” he recalls. “I thought it was really tasty, and figured, ‘I guess if they can put coconut in the porter, I can put porter in the coconut.’” He wasn’t wrong! While he initially used a stout from Brooklyn Brewery, Cohen has since reformulated the recipe to incorporate Gun Hill Brewing Co’s Void of Light from Bronx, New York.
And the best part? You don’t have to wait until Passover to enjoy this unique twist on a holiday treat -- he’ll ship you half a dozen right now.
align:center Credits:"Ethan Fixell"
Marshmallows, meet beer
The pillowy, fluffy marshmallow has long been the domain of middle school lunchroom eating contests and the campfire s’more. And while even adults can enjoy a s’more every now and then, it’s not something people over the age of 21 tend to clamor for. Until now.
San Antonio, Texas’ Chocollazo is a dessert restaurant/ice cream parlor run by husband and wife chocolatiers Frank and Mary Collazo, who got the brilliant idea to infuse beer into their ‘mallows. (Fun fact: Frank is also an MMA referee!)
The housemade marshmallow (or “malt mallow,” as they call it) is infused with San Antonio’s own Alamo Beer Co. Amber Lager. Luckily for beer fans, the collaboration between the dessert maker and the brewery isn’t just for collaboration’s sake: the marshmallow actually has the malt qualities of the Vienna-style lager with which it’s infused! And while eating unadulterated malt mallows sounds like a decent way to spend a few hours, the Chocollazo folks up the ante by adding it to a s’more. They sandwich their housemade graham crackers around the fluffy treat, and then hand paint chocolate onto both the ‘mallow and the graham.
Yeah, we’re sold.
Beer nerd makes boozy desserts in Baltimore
credits:"[krystalcmack / Instagram](https://www.instagram.com/p/BPbq9GxDk1M/)" width:450 align:right
I was working on a story about the beers that chefs drink after work when I got an email from Krystal Mack. She introduced herself as pastry chef from Baltimore, Maryland, and the owner of BLK // Sugar. I could tell from the brews she liked to drink post-shift that she was something of a beer nerd. She namechecked huge imperial stouts like Lizard of Koz from Founders Brewing Co., Grimm Ales Sumi Ink, and Mikkeller Beer Geek Dessert. And she also said she loved sours and “crushable pale ales or a High Life with Aperol poured in.” Obviously Mack sounded like someone we’d want to hang out with.
But it was her beer-infused desserts that really caught our attention. “When I'm not drinking post-shift, I'm considering fun ways to incorporate beers into my baked goods at the shop,” she said.
Suffice it to say, she’s doing just that. Exhibit A: chocolate buttermilk pie infused with the Michigan blueberry-filled Lizard of Koz is topped with a chocolate blueberry sauce. Exhibit B: Mexican chocolate layer cake and hazelnut-cacao nib biscotti is made using Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break Stout from Evil Twin and Westbrook Brewing Co. I mean...come on!
Unfortunately, Mack’s storefront in Baltimore closed back in August. But she’s hoping to open a new location soon -- and you can always order her dessert locally through Uber Eats, or hit her up on Facebook to see if she’ll custom make you some of the best damn looking, creative beery treats we’ve ever seen.