There are some starchy goodies that were made for beer – pretzels and beer cheese, beer bread, desserts made with porters and stouts – but there is one hole in the boozy baking portfolio I’d like to see filled more often — Beer muffins. The ladies of Bitch Beer are getting together this weekend for a beer-inspired brunch, and what goes more perfectly with brunch than muffins? Not a damn thing.
There is a super easy recipe that only calls for flour (3 cups), sugar (1/4 cup), and beer (16 oz), but I’d recommend adding at least a pinch of salt. If you want a lighter muffin, however, use the following recipe:
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 24 ounces of beer
- 5 tbsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- cheese to top
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Mix in the sugar, then add the beer slowly until a moist batter forms. It should be the consistency of pancake mix. If it looks like muffin batter, you are probably there. Just don’t over-mix the batter or the muffins will get tough and gummy.
Pour the batter into a standard sized muffin tin. You should have enough to fill all 12 cups of the tin. Top with the cheese of your choice and bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops of the muffins are browned and the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Just like pairing cheese for snacking, certain beers pair best with certain cheeses. Here are some recommendations I think would be scrumptious.
- IPAs and sharp cheddar – the bitterness of the hops reinforces the sharp, nutty cheddar. Bleu cheese would also be an excellent cheese to try on top of an IPA muffin.
- Saisons and Gouda – a little funkiness from the saison cuts through some of the sweetness and richness of the gouda. Stouts also work well here for the opposite reason — they bring out the sweetness of the gouda
- Wheat beers like a hefeweizen with soft goat cheese like a chèvre- While both are light, the slight acidity of the beer balances out the mouth-coating goat cheese.
- Rauchbier and brie – This would be really smokey and creamy and tart. Personally, I cannot wait to try this.
For my first batch, I used Calma Muerta Session Ale from Pinthouse Pizza — I had some on hand — with a run of the mill mild cheddar with pretty fantastic results. The fruity qualities of the mild session beer brought a lot of salty character out of the cheese.
If you want to experiment with a pairing, rather than making a whole batch of muffins, mix 1/4 cup flour with 1 tbsp sugar and enough beer to moisten the batter. Again, if it looks like muffin batter, you are probably there. Add a touch of salt, pour into a mug, and top with the cheese of your choosing. Then microwave the mug for 2 minutes or so until the batter is cooked through. Poor girl baking — one of the many great things I took from college. Try out the finished product and decide if it is delicious enough to make 12.
To elevate the muffin even more with hoppy, malty goodness, fill it with a beer jam. I’ve been saving a jar I bought for just such an occasion, but there are plenty recipes online for those daring enough to make their own. There are spiced beer jams, jams with Lambics and fruit or made with barley wines or stouts for a more robust flavor.
To add a beer jam filling, fill each cup of the muffin pan half way full. Then add a teaspoon or so of beer jelly. Top with more batter, and cheese then bake as described above.
Other additions like dried fruit, nuts, even chocolate in some circumstances could make beer muffins truly decadent. Or just coat them in butter. However you choose to enjoy the muffins, make sure to pair them with a delicious brew as well!