Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Beer Glazing for Beer Cinnamon Rolls

Okay, so @cdnbeer  has been talking about his beer based cinnamon rolls again. I am not one for the sticky toffee cinnamon rolls. I prefer those rolls with the white glazing. So, I have come up with an alternative.

The thinking was to get some beer with spicing to complement the basic yeast and cinnamon combination found in most cinnamon buns. My first thought was to use a Belgian beer with strong clove and banana notes. Alas, that was not what was available at my local liquor store. I suppose I could have went with a chocolate, coffee or vanilla porter but I wanted to stick to a more sedate beer for the first time through. Of course, I ended up with a Danish strong beer Nogne O - Underlig jul, a spiced Christmas beer and for contrast, Schneider-Weisse Unser Original, a traditional German beer with notes of clove, banana and nutmeg. It was the closest to my original intention.

I took around a half cup of beer and reduced it by half (1/4 c or so), added a pat of butter (1 tsp) to cut some of the bitterness. Added mixture slowly to 1 cup of icing sugar. Mixed until dissolved and goopy. Now, here you kind of have to wing it a bit. A lot depends on how thick you like your glaze. Add until you get it to the consistency you like. Add a little milk or cream if the flavour is still too sharp. Add 1/2 tsp of vanilla. Now comes the hard part. Taste it. Adjust seasonings as you see fit.

What worked or didn't work for me. When I tried this with the Underlig jul, it brought forward the black molasses flavour and jumped all over the spicing. It brings to mind gingerbread and might be a good pairing to a more yeasty note in a bread depending on the beer used for the buns. My wife preferred this one in spite of the bitter aftertaste.

The Schneider, when reduced, had winey notes that reminded me of old citrus and mushrooms. That sounds as if it would be bad but when you added the sugar, those notes softened back into the clove esthers with a really mild lively flavour that tastes mores like the traditional vanilla cream glaze. I liked this one.

I would definitely try this riff with the porters and stout mentioned about. The Belgian beers with the more pronounced flavours would work nicely, as would the cristall weissbier from Schneider. The important thing would be to taste it with some of the dough and determine what spicing to add. There is a subtleness to the glaze that I didn't expect. The glaze would work great with cookies, guinness cake or spice cakes. Explore and experiment. The worst thing would be to waste 1/2 cup of beer.

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