I can't say I've that much of a sweet tooth. I always go for savory snacks, I like my drinks bitter or sour, I rarely eat candy, and I seldom order dessert when I eat out - or when I do, I share. However, there are a whole bunch of things I love, which I manage to eat in moderation - such as gelato, sorbet, creme brulee, tarte tatin, chocolate, licorice, salted caramels, red velvet cake ...
In Paris recently we had some amazing crepes with a salted caramel sauce, washed down with a nice glass of calvados. Shortly after as we got home from the trip I started looking for a recipe so I could replicate that dessert. I did a Web search and decided to make a batch of caramel sauce from a recipe I found on smittenkitchen.com, though I made mine a tad lighter than their one. It turned out great, brought me right back some I'd had in Paris this past February, and it kept really well in a jar the fridge (still good more than 3 weeks later). We used it on a bunch of things, including crepes (on "Pancake Tuesday") and ice cream.
A few nights ago I had some leftover Murphy's stout, and decided to make a chocolate sauce with it. I'd been meaning to make David Lebovitz's Best Chocolate Sauce for a while, so I decided to base my recipe on that. I simply substituted some stout for the water, and used brown sugar instead of white (I'd only white sugar lumps in my pantry). I was very pleased with the results, and immediately used it in an impromptu dessert: in each dish a layer of salted caramel sauce, some of my friend Jai's (so moist!) vanilla marshmallows, some vanilla ice cream, some fresh whipped cream, toasted pecans, and finally the chocolate sauce drizzled over the top - many layers of flavour and some really nice contrasts. It also goes really well with coffee ice cream.
1/2 cup Irish Stout (i.e. Murphy's, Guinness, or Beamish)
1/4 cup soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or chocolate bar, chopped)
In a small saucepan over medium heat, dissolve the sugar and corn syrup in the stout. Add the cocoa powder and whisk to incorporate. Continue to whisk until the mixture reaches a boil, and allow to simmer for a minute to allow the alcohol to evaporate (the mixture will froth quite a lot, so be careful it doesn't overflow). Remove the sauce from the heat and stir in the chocolate until it melts. Serve warm.
Makes about 1 cup.