Desserts and alcohol can go hand in hand. Sipping champagne with a raspberry tart, Irish coffee with a bowl of chocolate mousse, or bourbon alongside a slice of pecan pie can feel like the utmost of luxury – an intoxicating experience in more ways than one. (These are the best bourbons in the U.S. right now.)
Of course, these two indulgences can also be combined into one. Spirits like rum and brandy, especially when they’re softened by age, can add notes of caramel and vanilla to confections that have nutty or chocolaty flavors. Dark beer or stout can add richness to plum pudding or chocolate cake. Wine can feature in lighter desserts, like frozen sangria or a wine-soaked granité.
In addition to providing flavor, alcohol can also improve the texture of both baked goods and frozen desserts. Alcohol can lower the freezing point of the latter, leading to a smoother final product, and can also add moisture and a tender crumb to cakes. Some recipes will call for alcohol to be baked into desserts, while others may require soaking them in liqueur or an alcohol-infused simple syrup. Just be sure to use a spirit that is good enough to be enjoyed on its own by the glass, as inferior liquors can lead to bitter or off-putting flavors. (Here’s a list of the most valuable liquor brands in the world.)
To assemble a list of desserts spiked with alcohol, 24/7 Tempo reviewed numerous culinary websites, including Delish, Eat This Not That, Taste of Home, and Food & Wine. Like all recipes, those for desserts vary widely, and not all will include exactly the same (abbreviated) list of ingredients we offer.
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