[Welcome to any new readers from The Rest is Still Unwritten! Or if you’re a Fiscally Chic regular looking for a double dose, I wrote a Paris-themed guest post for Stephanie while they’re enjoying Paris and France.]
As you may remember from a few weeks ago, (mostly) John and I brewed our first batch of pumpkin ale. We decided to use some specialty grains (crushed malted barley) at the beginning of the brewing process to give the beer a more complex flavor. However, that meant we were left with about 6 cups of spent grain. Not wanting to put a good thing to waste, we decided to save it.
This isn’t a random hippie idea because we’ve been to brewpubs where spent grain is used in cooking or baking, like the Brewer’s Barley Pretzels at Great Lakes Brewing Company. Great Lakes will also use their spent grain as fertilizer, animal feed, or compost. Since it’s a little late in the growing season, and we don’t have any livestock, baking was the way to go.
The stars must have aligned because the September/October 2011 issue of Draft magazine had a story featuring several recipes using spent grain. Additionally, Etsy had a blurb about the Brooklyn Brew Shop. Lucky for me, their website includes a nice collection of spent grain recipes.
Now, I generally don’t bake just for the sake of baking. I enjoy baking when I know it will be enjoyed by others. That means I bake when people are coming over, we’re going somewhere, or there’s a special event like a birthday. We were having friends over for dinner on Friday night, so it was the perfect opportunity to try out a new recipe. I guess that’s another thing you need to know; if you’re coming for dinner, I’ll probably be trying out at least one new recipe on you :)
The great thing about cooking or baking is you can improvise a little and customize the recipe to your tastes. We had all sorts of apples and a random bag of cranberries on hand, which were excellent building blocks for this cobbler. I recommend trying out other combinations of fruit based on what’s in season. Maybe peaches or blueberries in the summer. And don’t worry if you don’t have any spent grain lying around, oatmeal should work wonderfully.
Spiced Apple and Cranberry Cobbler with Spent Grain
Adapted from a recipe by Carolyn Tesini, published in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of Draft magazine
Serves: 8 to 10
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar
½ cup toasted sliced almonds
1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
pinch of salt
4 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced (I used 2 Fuji and 2 Honeycrisp)
1 cup fresh cranberries (probably could have increased to 2 cups)
½ cup apple cider
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup lightly packed brown sugar
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups low-fat milk
1 cup spent grain (this should be fairly dry)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the butter in the microwave. About 30 seconds.
Combine the flour, sugar, almonds, ginger and salt in a small bowl. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of the melted butter on top and stir. Set aside.
Combine the apples, cranberries, apple cider, bourbon, 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large saucepan.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes.
Stir in the vanilla and salt.
Cobbler (and putting it all together)
Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.
Whisk in the milk until combined, then stir in the spent grain.
Pour remaining melted butter in a 9×13 inch baking dish or other 3-quart baking dish.
Pour the spent grain cobbler mixture on top of the melted butter in the baking dish.
Spoon the fruit mixture on top and sprinkle with streusel.
Bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
Let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.