Mini Choklat Cheesecakes

Choklat is an imperial stout from Southern Tier brewed with bittersweet Belgian chocolate. That's the same brewery that made all the beers that allowed for my Creme Brulee ice cream, Mokah Souffle and Pumking bread pudding. Beer cheesecake has been on my list of things to make, so when I saw that Choklat was in stores again I decided this would be the one. So instead of making chocolate cheesecake, I made normal cheesecake and let the beer shine through as flavoring. Then I made a chocolate sauce using the beer as well. I'd say this is as good as any cheesecake you'd find in a fancy restaurant. Enjoy! :)

2 tablespoons butter
20 graham crackers
3 tablespoons sugar

16 ounces cream cheese
8 ounces sour cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons Choklat

Chocolate Sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup half and half
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup Choklat

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Crush the graham crackers finely and combine with the butter and sugar. Press mixture into bottoms of greased muffin tins. Bake the crusts until golden brown. For the filling, beat the cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar using an electric mixer. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature so it's softened. Add in the vanilla and one egg at a time as you continue mixing. Add the beer and adjust for how much you'd like in your cheesecake. With these big beers a little goes a long way, so start small and add more as needed. Pour filling into the muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes until set. For the chocolate sauce, bring the half and half to a simmer with the butter. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and the rest of the ingredients.

Homemade Gnocchi With Dubbel Mushroom Sauce

Today we have a pairing and a beer recipe. I made some delicious home made gnocchi and covered them with a creamy mushroom sauce. The sauce included Maredsous 8, a Belgian dubbel from the same brewery that makes Duvel. I added just enough for a nice hint of complexity, but not enough to over power the flavors of the sauce. I used a different beer for the pairing: Weihenstephaner Korbinian. The malt in this dopplebock worked well with the earthy mushrooms and the cheese flavors, and the 8 percent alcohol was able to stand up to the richness of the sauce. Really good stuff :)

4 russet potatoes
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon minced garlic
about 10 white mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choice), sliced
3 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup beer

Maredsous Dubbel, used in sauce.
 Prick the potatoes a few times with a knife or a fork. Microwave for 5 to 10 minutes (depending on your microwave) on each side until they soften. Carefully peel the potatoes while still hot and mash with a fork or potato ricer. Add the flour and salt to the potatoes. Add enough egg until it binds together. Knead with your hands on a floured flat surface. Add more flour as needed but be careful to not add too much. I ended up only needing 2/3 of a cup but it can depend on your potatoes. Once you can form your dough into a ball and it's not sticky, roll out sections of the dough into ropes. Use a knife to cut gnocchi sized pieces. Roll the pieces on a fork for the ridges. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and drop in the gnocchi in batches. Remove with a slotted spoon when they float to the top.

Weihenstephaner dopplebock
paired with the dish.
For the sauce, melt one tablespoon of butter in a pan. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms start
to brown. Add the evaporated and regular milk. Stir in your cheese until melted and well blended. Add salt to taste. Add the beer and remove from heat. Pour sauce over gnocchi and top with chopped parsley and parmesan cheese. Pair with a dopplebock.

Beer Battered Shrimp and Mushrooms with Lemon Butter Mayo

If  you have beer, flour, and oil on hand, you can start beer battering stuff right now. It's really simple. I made  this dinner for my mom, sister, and boyfriend. We couldn't decide between mushrooms and shrimp so I made both. This worked out really well because the dipping sauce I made was amazing with both of them.  My batter just consisted of flour, beer, and seasoning. I also added a splash of milk but it was a small amount so I don't know if that makes a difference. Brian described the batter as being not too heavy but still having substance and being fluffy yet crunchy. He said it was very well balanced ^.^ I just think it was delicious.

The beer I used for the batter was Native Lager. It's an American lager brewed with all malt, not like those mass produced lagers most people are used to, so it has some real flavor and body but is still easy drinking. Native Brewing was actually started by Adam Fine, who also started Fresh Beer Distributing in South Florida.

The sauce I made was a buttery, lemony mayo dip with parsley. It made for kind of a tangy creamy sauce that worked well with the fried textures of the batter and the delicious mushrooms and shrimp inside. You really have to try this.

At the end Brian requested fried Oreos, so my mom dropped a few in for each of us. In case you were wondering, beer battered Oreos are really good. My mom and sister had never had fried Oreos before and were pleasantly surprised. My sister said they tasted like the corners of brownies. Yum.

Ok recipe time:

For the batter:
2 cups beer
1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
oil for frying

This was enough batter for about a pound of shrimp and 15 medium sized white mushrooms.

For the dipping sauce:
4 tablespoons mayonaisse
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons of butter
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Combine flour and beer and adjust the amounts as needed so its not too thick or thin . Season with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne, or whatever spices you prefer. Combine a bit of extra flour with some salt and coat the mushrooms and shrimp with the flour. Then dip each piece into the batter and drop into a few inches of hot oil (I don't have a deep fryer so I just used some oil in a pot). When they are golden brown, remove and place on a plate lined with paper towels. For the sauce, melt the butter and combine with the rest of the ingredients.