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Friday, June 3, 2011

Beer-Orange-Vanilla Bean Caramel (...featuring New Belgium's Somersault Ale)

This post has been a long time in the making.  No particular reason.  Nothing out-of-the-ordinary.  Nothing spectacular.  Oh, let me rephrase that- this caramel is spectacular.  My goal- not so much.  Don't you just hate it when best laid plans don't work out?  I was planning a dazzling "ladies who lunch and drink beer" day in which I would get together with my mom and sisters and grandma.  It just never came together. The whole menu was carefully planned out using a selection of New Belgium Beer throughout the menu.  Oh yeah, it was going to be epic.  The lunch party to end all lunch parties.  There was the meal which consisted of something typical made non-typical. 

What's typical you ask?  Soup, salad, and bread.  Pretty typical.  Nothing flashy, but meal that I am pretty much happy with anytime.  However, this was not just any meal consisting of soup, salad, and bread.  Oh no.  It started off with a Wedge Salad with Blue Cheese Beer Buttermilk Dressing and Spicy Beer Nuts made with Mighty Arrow Pale Ale.  And then.  Then there was Oatmeal Brown Ale Bread Bowls made with 1554 Enlightened Black Ale.  And to sit perfectly inside those retro little bread bowls was an amazing Beer Cheese Soup made with Fat Tire Amber Ale. While my lunch hasn't come together yet...I do still plan on making it happen.  This menu was too good to go to waste.  However, I still wound up making my planned dessert.  A simple Vanilla Bean Ice Cream smothered in warm Beer-Orange-Vanilla Bean Caramel made with Somersault Ale.  This should inspire a fire under their booties.  Although to be gave birth, and that slowed things down a bit.  And probably foremost were gas prices (unfortunately, we don't all live in the same town.  Or even state.).  One way or another, these ladies will be lunching.  Soon.  Did I mention the beer bottle vases?  Aaahhhh.  It's so vivid in my head.
Beer-Orange-Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce
inspired by/adapted from Food Network Magazine June '11
makes ~1½ c.

1 (12 oz.) bottle New Belgium Somersault Ale
4 cardamom pods
juice & zest (cut in large, wide strips) of one orange
1 vanilla bean
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1½ c. packed brown sugar
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
sea salt
Bruise the cardamom pods a bit and scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean.  Place the cardamom pods and the scraped vanilla bean & seeds into a large (really, large...this helps prevent boil-overs later) saucepan with the beer, zest and juice from half an orange and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Cook, stirring, until reduced to about 1 cup.  This will take around 10 minutes.  

Add the butter and brown sugar and let boil until thick and syrupy, ~10-12 minutes.  To test for doneness, drip a bit of caramel into a bowl of cold should form a soft ball when ready.
Slowly stir in the cream and cook another 5 minutes, until sauce has thickened a bit.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract and a couple pinches of sea salt.  Remove cardamom and vanilla pods and orange zest.  It will be a bit loose, but as it cools it will thicken up nicely.  

Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge.  It could last for a couple of weeks stored that way...but I doubt it will.  I mean, I'm sure it will, I just don't think it will last that long.  It vanished in no time around here.  When we wanted it to coat our cold vanilla ice cream, I stuck the jar in the microwave for about 30 seconds...then spooned the warm, fragrant, addicting caramel over and made quick work of it.  So. Stinkin'. Delicious.  I'm not saying that I occasionally pulled the jar from the fridge and scooped out a bite and ate it just like that.  Okay, yes I am.
*As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a stipend to help reimburse the cost of the beer & ingredients.  All thoughts and opinions on New Belgium beer are my own.

*I am sharing this post with:
Sweet Treats Party SweetToothFriday sweets for a saturday fridaypotluck FCFButton freshfriday-1 foodfriday Foodie Friday Logo 2 foodiefridaylittlebrickranch food trip friday friday food at mom trends

Would you like to comment?

  1. that looks (and sounds) with ice cream!
    love love love this...
    yeah, i love beer. lol

    thanks for linking to Food Friday, Heather

    happy weekend!

  2. This is a really interesting combination. I am intrigue about the beer. The site describe it as fruity. Hhmm. Have to look for it. We like the Beck here at home, a german beer.

    Hopefully that women lunch could come true soon.



  3. that sounds so great and looks really delicious, i would love to try it! thanks for sharing. have a great weekend! :)

  4. Que guay tiene que estar esto, saludos.


  5. I've never been fond of beer but you may make a convert of our me! That caramel sauce is amazing.

  6. Mr. Momtrends always has some cool beers in the house. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing on Friday Food.

  7. That sounds a great combo for a perfect caramel! Love the color and the clicks.

  8. Oh yum, I need this for dessert tonight.

    Thanks for linking up with Sweet Tooth Friday!

  9. I am a huge fan of cooking with beer. I must try this out. Nice work!

  10. This does look amazing! I have cooked with beer, but not anything sweet, and I don't know why not because they have cherry, beer orange beer, honey ale just seems to go to gether. Love your photos!

  11. OMG!!! Gorgeous!!!!
    Prathima Rao
    Prats Corner

  12. Wow - you really did have an impressive and well thought menu plan, didn't you? Too bad it didn't work out, although it sounds like you do have a new addition to the family! I'm sure the beer menu will be much appreciated by your sister with the newborn;-) Let's hope the gas prices go down soon or no one will be going anywhere this summer.

    The caramel looks amazing and I'm loving the cardamom (it's one of my newest loves).

  13. Ahhh...a woman after my own heart! LOVE this post. That's an ingenious way to combine delicious ingredients. Mmmm.mmm Come to my house anytime you want to teach me to cook

  14. Absolutely wonderful!
    You're an inspiration!!

  15. This looks amazing!! I cant wait to give it a try...yummmmm...caramel! Thanks for linking up to Foodie Friday. I hope to see you again next week!!

  16. This happens to me all-the-time. I plan the perfect brunch or dinner party just of for the girls and (life) some how manages to rear it's ugly head. great menu and beer vases totally retro! ice cream with beer caramel sauce..oh yo quiero!


  17. What a super cute fun lunch you were planning! And so sad that it didn't get to happen. but that caramel does look amazing. I'm pretty sure I'd be sitting there drinking it to calm my woes if I were you.

  18. Am a huge fan of caramel, just drooling here..

  19. Oh i like that specially it is hot in here. Happy FTF!

  20. I wish I was eating this right now instead of reading at looking at it! Have a great weekend!

  21. Beer + vanilla + ice cream. You are a goddess!

  22. That sounds like an awesome menu you've planned there. Hope you girls can have a wonderful gathering soon with all those yummy food. Thank you for sharing this scrumptious beer orange vanilla bean caramel sauce recipe with us.

    BTW, I'm hosting 2 giveaways on my blog. One for $50 Thrive Product and the other one are baking molds and more. Please stop by to check them out.

    Have a wonderful weekend.


  23. How funny, when I got my stipend for the New Belgium beer, I also planned an elaborate menu with beer in every course. After reality set in, I made beer braised onions to top a hamburger.

  24. what a fun lunch idea! i love the menu too, it sounds delicious. that caramel looks soo good, i don't even think i'd need ice cream to enjoy it.

  25. I love caramel sauce and could eat it straight from the jar!

  26. The 'somersault' sauce sounds excellent, very innovative. I had a look at the beer profile - it does not seem to be very bitter. I will look for this.

  27. What a creative use of beer - I adore caramel, I'm sure this was quite the hit!

  28. The fruit of your labor has certainly been a wonderful reward for us. THAT looks incredible!

    I do hope your best laid plan comes to be soon, Heather. I'm sure that menu is worth the wait.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I will now reconsider Beer as a dessert "sauce."

  29. beer in my dessert? tempting! this really looks good.

  30. As usual, I am ready to drool over your post! :) I wish I'd gone to the NB brewery when we were living in CO, but, we didn't, and that's that. Thanks for bringing this scintillating dish to Friday Potluck!

  31. I have never heard of beer in the sauce but it looks normal and delicious. You do have the most interesting dishes.

  32. Gorgeous ooey-gooey caramel pictures.
    Beer is an excellent addition. ;-)

  33. That looks absolutely awesome! The rest of the menu sounds great too. I am pinning this to my Pinterest board. Thanks for linking this up to Fat Camp Friday, see you next time!

  34. I never would have considered combining these ingredients, but it looks just wonderful!

    Thank you so much for linking up with Sweet Tooth Friday! I hope to see you again this week.