Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

March 15, 2018

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So today is the Ides of March, but there is nothing to fear here. I’m serving up a bunch of these Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes to anyone who might darken my doorstep!

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That’s right – little individual sized Baileys spiked chocolate cheesecakes topped with Baileys whipped cream and drizzled with an Irish Whiskey laced chocolate. Hmmm…on second thought, perhaps your liver should beware the Ides with all that booze!

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These decadent little devils are rich, creamy and just the perfect serving size. Recently I’m somewhat obsessed with canning jars. Not only are they adorable, but they also make serving folks at any gathering a breeze. No worries with slicing cakes or flimsy serving plates. These supremely portable jars are the way to go!

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Easy to make and even easier to eat, these Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes are a St. Patrick’s Day delight!

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Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 12 - 4 oz. canning jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Irish Baking Adventures

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 200 grams Graham Cracker crumbs (you can use Digestive Biscuit crumbs if you like)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

For the Cheesecake filling:

  • 360 grams cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 200 grams melted milk chocolate
  • 120 ml. sour cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 70 ml Baileys Irish Cream

For the topping:

  • 500 ml whipping cream
  • 75 gram confectioners sugar
  • 60 ml Baileys
  • 200 grams chocolate, melted – for drizzling
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey (optional – once the chocolate is melted, stir in the Whiskey if desired).

Directions:

Preheat the 325° F (160°C). Combine the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Place 1 Tablespoon of the crumbs in the bottom of each jar and pat down firmly to create a crust.

Place the cream cheese, sugar and cocoa in a stand mixer and mix on a low speed until combined.

Add the sour cream, vanilla, melted chocolate and Baileys. Continue to mix on low speed until combined.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely incorporated before adding the next.

Divide the batter evenly between the jars.

Place the jars in a large roasting pan or baking dish with sides. Carefully add hot water to the pan until it reaches halfway up the sides of the jars. Bake for 45 – 50 minutes until the center is set. Remove from the water bath and cool completely on a wire rack. Once cool, cover and refrigerate until cold.

Just before serving, whip cream on high until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and Baileys and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.

Pipe the whipped topping onto the mini cheesecakes and drizzle with melted chocolate and sprinkle with chocolate candies if desired.

Enjoy!

Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Mini Baileys Chocolate Cheesecakes:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 

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Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers

March 14, 2018

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Now here is a St. Patrick’s Day dish for you that is a bit unexpected I’ll bet – Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers. So I won’t try to pull the wool over your eyes and tell you that you’ll find this Asian fusion dish on every table in Ireland come St. Patrick’s Day. But I will say that if you’ve got some lovely corned beef left over from your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations here in the States, these potstickers are great for using up the leftovers in the most wonderfully tasty way.

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As I’ve mentioned in previous years, you won’t really find corned beef on the menu in Ireland come St. Patrick’s Day. Well, I’d say you might now, but know that they’re serving it up specifically for the tourists. It isn’t the traditional holiday meal there. To read all about the history of corned beef and how Americans became corned beef crazed see my blog on Corned Beef Hash from a couple of years ago, which by the way, is also a great dish for using up leftovers. But believe me when I say corned beef on St. Paddy’s Day is an Irish American tradition.

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I found this recipe on the Farmette blog. If you haven’t visited before, you should definitely take a peek. It is basically the diary of Imen McDonnell who moved from the US to an Irish dairy farm, where she now resides with her husband and son. You can find this recipe on her blog along with a story of how shocked she was on her first St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland when she discovered that she was actually in a corned beef free zone. This recipe can also be found in her cookbook: The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm. Imen uses bacon in her version, which I’m sure is also quite delicious!

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The Husband absolutely went wild for these potstickers, declaring them much better than any corned beef and cabbage he had ever eaten. Now I did change a couple of things from Imen’s recipe. I was feeling a bit lazy and didn’t actually make my potsticker wrappers myself. Nope. I went right out to the store and purchased some wonton wrappers, which worked very well. I also cooked them a bit differently and have included my method along with Imen’s. And although I am advocating this recipe as a way to use up leftovers, you really can’t use any leftover cabbage in these. Previously cooked cabbage will be too wet to work well in the filling. You’ll have to reserve a bit of fresh cabbage to use on the day you make these potstickers. Definitely give this recipe a whirl for a fun twist in your St. Patrick’s Day feast.

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Paddy's Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers

  • Servings: 20 medium-sized dumplings / if you use wonton wrappers @40 potstickers
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Farmette also featured in the cookbook: The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm by Imen McDonnell

Ingredients:

For the Wrappers:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup cold water

*** I actually used store-bought wonton wrappers here due to my extreme slothfulness…

For the filling:

  • 6 ounces cabbage, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/8 cup minced parsley
  • 1/3 pound shredded corned beef, smoked ham (or smoked Irish bacon)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper (or freshly ground black pepper)
  • 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 tablespoon Chinese rice wine (or dry sherry)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil

For the slurry:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water

***egg whites work great here as well

For the dipping sauce:

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • ¼ cup brown rice vinegar
  • ½ cup scallions (spring onion)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce

Directions:

Make the wrappers: In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Gradually add the boiling water until the mixture becomes mealy. Switch to the cold water and stir until a dough is formed. Knead the dough on a floured surface until smooth. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with a towel and let rest.

Make the filling: Put the cabbage in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt. Let it rest for 10 minutes. While it is resting place the ginger, parsley, corned beef, pepper soy sauce, rice wind and sesame oil in a food processor and pulse until it is mixed well. Squeeze the water out of the cabbage and place the dry cabbage into a bowl. Add the pulsed ham mixture and combine.

Make the dumplings: Roll out the dumpling dough and cut our wrappers with a 4-inch round cookie cutter. Sed aside. Mix together the cornstarch and water for the slurry. Take one dumpling wrapper and spoon 1 tablespoon of the ham mixture into the center. (If you are using wonton wrappers, you will likely only be able to spoon 1/2 tablespoon onto the wrapper). Dip one finger (or a small pastry brush) into the slurry and paint the edges of the dumpling wrapper. Fold the wrapper over the filling and press the edges together, forming a half-moon shape. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover loosely with plastic wrap and repeat with the rest of the dumplings. Do not allow the dumplings to touch each other on the sheet. Once the dumpling are all assembled, you can cook immediately or refrigerate for up to several hours. When ready to cook, fill a large pot half way with water and bring to a boil. Gently slide 1/3 of the dumplings into the water. Once the water returns to a gently boil simmer for 6 – 8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with remaining dumplings. Coat a frying pan with oil and place over medium heat. Once hot, fry the dumplings until they are golden on each side.

*** I cooked my potstickers using a different technique. I place a bit of oil in a 10″ skillet and heated it just shy of smoking. I arranged my potstickers in the pan and cooked them until the bottom of them was a golden brown. The I poured 1/2 cup of water into the skillet and covered it with a tightly fitting top. I continued cooking until all of the liquid was gone. The bottoms of the potstickers should be sufficiently browned at that point, but if not, you could leave them in the pan a bit longer.

Make the dipping Sauce: Heat the sesame oil in a saucepan. Add the scallions and brown rice wine vinegar and soy sauce. Mix well and then remove from heat.

Enjoy!

Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potstickers brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Paddy’s Day Corned Beef & Cabbage Potsickers:

The Farmette Cookbook: Recipes and Adventures from My Life on an Irish Farm by Imen McDonnell

 

 

 


Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

March 13, 2018

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I am so excited about the recipe I have for you today…Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème! Why so excited, besides that fact that I’ve got 2 days of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-palooza done and dusted (only 4 more days to go…)? Well, I am excited about that, but I’m also thrilled because these little treats are quite possibly a game changer for me. Not only were they delicious, and I’m talking a swoon-worthy kind of dessert, but they were so easy to make. I’m serious. No baking. Just a few whrrrr’s of the food processor, a bit of stove top warming and some chill time. And then before I knew it I had these simple yet elegant, boozy, rich, salted caramel chocolatey decadent desserts, ready to be garnished and served.

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Pots de Crème (pronounced Po – think how southerners might pronounce “poor”- de Krehm) are a french custard which dates back to the 17th Century. Traditionally served in little pot shaped dishes (hence their name) or demitasse cups they are usually baked at low heat in a water bath. Their consistency is similar to a chocolate mousse but more dense yet not quite as firm as a flan. But this recipe today is for the new fangled Pots de Crème. As I said…no baking is involved. I’m telling you these little dreams are so easy to make you could do it first thing in the morning, while you’re still sleeping…perhaps before you’ve even had your first sip of coffee (or tea). Well, that might not be true, but they are pretty dang easy.

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However that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a couple of really important things you must do to ensure the success of this recipe. First of all, those eggs need to be room temperature. I promise you it will not work if you pull the eggs straight out of the fridge. Easiest thing to do is just set them out the night before. Oh come on! They are not going to go bad sitting out over night! But if this makes you nervous, you can let them soak in a bit of warm water to bring them up to room temperature. Again, I said warm water. Not boiling hot water. You don’t want to cook them at this point. Next important thing to remember is that it needs to be HOT cream, not room temperature and definitely not cream straight out of the fridge. That cream has to melt all the chocolate as well as kill any bacteria that might be in those raw eggs, so don’t mess around. Warm it to just shy of boiling. Put it in the microwave if you must and nuke it…nuke it real good! And finally once you’ve added the very HOT cream, make sure you run the blender long enough that the chocolate is thoroughly melted and uniformly mixed. That is pretty much it. You just pour it into whatever containers you plan to serve it in, leaving plenty of room for the whipped cream and pop them into the fridge. In 3 -4 hours they will be set and ready to serve.

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I made a version of these a few years ago with Baileys and coffee. I was inspired to reboot it this year when I saw that Valhrona had come out with a Salted Caramel Chocolate. I love salted caramel and couldn’t resist doing this recipe over with new ingredients. Valrhona also has these Dark Chocolate Crunchy Pearls that I used for my topping. I did not see these available on amazon and it looks like Valrhona might only supply Sur la Table with this item. Valrhona also makes a Dulcey white chocolate which has toasty buttery shortbread notes to it. I can see I’ll have to give that a whirl as well. In the meantime, please enjoy these Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème and don’t forget the Baileys whipped topping!

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Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème with Baileys Whipped Cream Topping

  • Servings: 6 -10 jars - depending on the size of your jars
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. Valrhona Lait Caramelia
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons (possibly more depending on your mood…) Bailey’s Irish Cream, separated
  • 1 cup piping HOT whipping cream
  • an additional 1/2 pint cold heavy whipping cream
  • chocolate shavings or cocoa powder or even fresh fruit, for additional garnish

Directions:

Pour 1 tablespoon (or a bit more if you’re feeling a bit saucy) of Bailey’s Irish cream into the whipping cream and stir. Place into a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring occasionally, heat until just shy of boiling.

While cream is heating, add chocolate and room temperature eggs (really – I can not stress it enough – not cold out of the fridge, but room temperature eggs) to a blender or food processor and pulse, about 5-6 times, until the chocolate is broken up into small bits. Small folks, try to make it as easy as possible for that cream to work its melting magic.

Once cream/Baileys mixture is hot, with the blender running, slowly stream in the Baileys cream and continue blending until the chocolate melts and the mixture thickens.

Pour the mixture into 6-8 small mason jars, martini glasses, ramekins or tea cups and refrigerate for 3 -4 hours or until set.

Right before serving the pots de crème, add whipping cream to the bowl of a stand mixture and beat until soft peaks form. Beat in the remaining tablespoon (and perhaps a bit more…) of Baileys until well mixed.

Dollop the Baileys whipped cream on top of the pots de creme and serve with chocolate shavings or a dusting of cocoa powder.

Enjoy!

Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com) 

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Baileys Salted Caramel Pots de Crème:

Valhrona Lait Caramelia

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

 

 


Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream

March 12, 2018

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I can’t believe it! Here it is, March already. And St. Patrick’s Day is a mere 5 days away! That means it is time to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. In the days leading up to March 17th I will be sharing a delicious assortment of Irish-y recipes. I’ve been doing this for several years now, so I’ve collected 106 St. Patrick’s Days recipes at this point. Yup! I said over one hundred!!! And that doesn’t take into account all the delicious dishes coming your way this year. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions. I am very excited to kick off this year’s series of Irish recipes with Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream.

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You may be thinking “Who’s Theresa?” – well let me tell you. Theresa is one of my best friends from college. She is amazing in the kitchen. I remember back when we were starving students, and practically surviving on buttered toast (and perhaps the occasional pint or two…), we had actually run out of sliced bread. I looked around the kitchen and quickly announced “We’ve got nothing to eat in there.” Theresa popped out to the kitchen and returned in no time with a big plate of warm fluffy lovely scones. Just like that! To me, who definitely was not of any use in the kitchen at that point (all my cooking skills developed post marriage) it was nothing short of magic! A couple of years ago, Theresa published her first cookbook where you can find the recipe for these scones and the strawberry jam along with over 100 other delicious seasonal fruit recipes. It is called Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs a business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

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Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. The Green Apron has won 12 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, 7 International Great Taste awards and is listed not only in McKenna’s Guide, but also in Georgina Campbell’s Guide. The Green Apron is also now offering workshops on sustainable living, preserving and bee keeping.

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Theresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best-selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing these recipes from her book this year and I shared quite a few last year as well, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!

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I’m sure you must now be inspired to make both these tender fluffy scones as well as the divine strawberry jam with which they are topped. Your first step will be making the scrumptious Strawberry Jam. You will end up with a bit more jam than you require to slather over these scones, but it is great to have on hand. It is very versatile and you can use it many other recipes…hint, hint – it might make an appearance again later this week. Strawberry Jam is my favorite and this jam, free of pectin, is just bursting with strawberry goodness.

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And scones…Well, I just love them. With the first bite of these little gems you will understand why they are prize-winning.

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And topped with strawberry jam and clotted cream…I am absolutely over the moon! The Husband loves scones with jam and clotted cream as well. In fact, his first experience with this delicacy was in Dublin, shortly after we were married. As he gobbled down every morsel, I just might have heard him murmur “Where have you been all of my life?!!” And I’m fairly certain he was referring to the scones rather than me.

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As it turns out it recently came to my attention that there is an etiquette to topping your scone. My friend Keela informed me that spreading your scone with the clotted cream first and then dolloping your jam on top is the Devon way, whereas jam first and cream second is the Cornish way. I checked for the Irish method with my friend Theresa and she said butter goes on the scone first the jam and then cream. No one she is aware of puts the cream on first. Hmmm….the good news here is that Scones with Strawberry Jam and Clotted Cream are pretty heavenly no matter which way the toppings go on. Make up a batch and see for yourself!

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Theresa's Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream

  • Servings: 18 dainty scones
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
  • 450 grams (1 lb.) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 110 grams (4 oz.) unsalted butter
  • strawberry jam (recipe to follow) and clotted cream for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Beat the eggs in a measuring jug with enough milk to make 300 ml (1/2 pint) of liquid. You will have a little milk left over.

Put the dry ingredients in a bowl. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add three-quarters of the liquid and mix well. If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more liquid or, if wet, add a bit more flour. You should have a soft dough that you can stick your finger through. (Don’t over-handle the dough or the scones will be tough.)

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 2.5 cm (1 inch) thick and cut into the desired shape. I use a 5 – cm (2 inch) round cutter usually, but sometimes I cut the dough into squares or diamonds.

Place the scones on a lightly floured baking tray and then brush the top with the remaining egg and milk mixture. This gives them a nice shine and color when they are cooked.

Bake for 10 -15 minutes or until they are golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Spread with strawberry jam and clotted cream. You can even go crazy and slather the scone with a little butter first before adding the other goodness. The sky is the limit!

Variations:

Add the zest of one lemon to the dry ingredients; or 2 tablespoons of raisins or sultanas; or ground cinnamon and the juice and zest of one orange. For savory scones, leave out the sugar and add herbs or grated cheese.

Strawberry Jam

Ingredients: 

  • 2 kg (4 1/2 lb) Strawberries (hulled and halved if big)
  • Juice of 3 large lemons
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) water
  • 2 kg (4 1/2 lb) sugar

Directions:

Place a saucer into the refrigerator to chill. You will use it to test the setting point later.

Put the strawberries, lemon juice and the water into a preserving pot and cook over low heat until the juice starts to run from the berries and they begin to soften. Remove the pot from the heat and put it onto a sturdy work surface.

Take a potato masher and squash the strawberries in the pot. You don’t want them completely puréed but you do want them broken up. Give it about six mashes.

Put the pot back onto the stove and continue to cook the fruit over a low heat until the strawberries are completely soft and the juice starts to darken in color.

Add the sugar, stir in well, and cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the jam reaches settings point. Spoon a little of the boiling preserve onto the cold saucer. Let it cool and then push it with your finger. If it has reached setting point, the top of the blob of jam will wrinkle. You want strawberry jam to be barely set, because if you cook it for too long some of the flavor will be lost.

Pour into warm sterilized jars to within 6 mm (1/4 inch) of the top. Wipe any drips off the rims of the jars to make sure there is a good seal between the jar and lid. A dampened paper towel works well for this. Place lids on and seal.

Enjoy!

Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Kilner Stainless Steel Jam Pan

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Canning Magnetic Lid Wand

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Ball Canning Funnel

 


Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce

November 23, 2017

IMG_6627Woah! Here it is Thanksgiving already and no doubt Christmas will be hot on its heels. Before we blink it will be upon us! I can’t believe I’m actually able to get this post off today because the Husband and I have been craaaa-zeee busy lately. But here you go – Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce, just in time for the holiday. Yes…as I previously mentioned…I do know that Thanksgiving is today. I also would wager there are quite a few of you stuck in the kitchen right now saying ” Oh no! I’ve still gotta do the cranberry sauce”. Don’t reach for that can of cranberry jelly. You can have some lovely homemade cranberry goodness all made up in about 20 minutes or so! Easy peasy! And like a lot of things I make, this Cranberry sauce has a kick…namely Bourbon. Bet no one would notice if you took a wee nip or two while you were preparing this dish. I’m sure you need it about now if you’re cooking for the family. Consider it medicinal.

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Now I will admit, this is a bit of a cheat because I have published this recipe before but it was hidden within other recipes. Like this Thanksgiving Pie -Toffee Blonde Pie with Cinnamon Toast Crumb Crust, Pumpkin Ganache and Boozy Cranberry Sauce for example:

img_3579This year, I decided it should get the limelight. (And I did mention that things have been nuts around here right…). Sweet, tangy and a bit boozy, it is the perfect complement to items on your Thanksgiving menu. Not to mention, it is wonderful to have around when you dig into all those Thanksgiving leftovers! What would the Thanksgiving leftover sandwich be without it? Or maybe you could make up these Holiday Leftover Pirozhkis that I told you about last year?

img_5322It is also wonderful stirred into yogurt or as an oatmeal topping. This Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce it so fantastic and easy to make – which is very important since preparing holiday meals can be somewhat frantic to say the least – I bet it’ll show up on your Christmas table. There is no reason it should be relegated to Thanksgiving alone.

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This sauce can actually be made up several days before your holiday event as well and does just fine chilling in the fridge. So there you have it, a quick, easy and tasty Thanksgiving side dish, just in the nick of time. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce

  • Servings: 2 1/2 cups yield, about 8 - 10 folks depending on their appetites...
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces, weight Fresh Cranberries
  • 3/4 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Loosely Packed Orange Zest
  • 1/2 cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 stick Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup quality Bourbon

Directions:

Pick through the cranberries, removing any stems or berries that don’t look plump and ripe. Rinse the remaining cranberries well, then place them in a heavy bottomed medium saucepan with the sugar, orange zest, orange juice, water and cinnamon stick. Stir to combine, then place the pan over medium heat. Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.

After 15 minutes, the cranberries should all have burst. Remove the pan from the heat. The sauce will look very liquidy, but will thicken as it cools. After the sauce has cooled completely, stir in the bourbon. Remove the cinnamon stick and serve the cranberry sauce at room temperature or chilled.

Cranberry sauce can be made 2–3 days ahead of time.

Enjoy!


Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

November 1, 2017

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So what in the world?!! I’m posting again so soon! Usually months go by between my posts. It must be some sort of Halloween miracle! It is just that I couldn’t wait to share these adorable Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider cupcakes with you. I made them for our Halloween festivities last night, but then ran out of time to actually post the blog about them. So even though Halloween is over, I’m sharing this recipe anyway. You’ll be all set for next year.

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These cupcakes not only look fantastic, if I must say so myself, but they also taste amazing. The cake portion is a moist Guinness chocolatey, coffee cake. And then it is frosted with a smooth and velvety Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Oh be still my heart…I am in Cupcake Heaven! No wait….I mean to say the torturous depths of Hell (it is Halloween right?).

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Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Halloween actually has Irish origins. Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

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Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

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Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

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Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

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Roasty Toasty Cocktail

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This year’s Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes combine the whimsical and boozy together in one perfect Halloween treat! The little spider darlings (I mean horrible, terrible scary spiders) are fairly easy to make. I used two malted milk balls for the body and head (turns out Maltesers -the body- are slightly larger than Whoppers – the head), but you could also use a malted milk ball and a chocolate covered peanut. You get the idea. The legs are made with black candy melts. I piped them out onto parchment paper, let them harden and then attached them to the body with more candy melt. Then I used Wilton mini Candy eyes for their googly eyes. You could also probably use mini M&M’s here. And There you have it…. Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes!

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Truth be told I am terrified of spiders, so it is a bit weird that I decided to make these cupcakes. And  I’m not one of those girly girls that is scared of all bugs and mice and snakes. Nope, I pretty much like most bugs – mosquitos excepted – but it’s more hate where they are involved rather than fear. Snakes are pretty cool and I love mice. But spiders….no way!  I keep trying to make a treaty with them in which I will leave them alone as long as they are outside, but they are not allowed to come into my house. Rather than squish spiders that do venture inside despite the treaty, I show them mercy by capturing them and escorting them outside- all the while telling them that they must spread the word of our treaty to their friends. Those jerks agree at the time (spiders are full of deceit..), however once they get outside unscathed, I think they tell their little spider friends that I’m a softie and they shouldn’t worry about going into my house. Sigh….spiders are the worst! I’m just saying!

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Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 - 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cake portion of the recipe from: Wife in Progress

Frosting recipe from: Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream (or you could substitute Kahlua or your favorite)
  • green gel food coloring

For the Spiders: 

  • 24 Maltesers or Whoppers (Malted Milk Balls)
  • 24 chocolate covered peanuts or raisins (or just use another malted milk ball as I did)
  • 6 ounces Black or Dark Cocoa Candy Melts, melted
  • 48 (or more if you prefer – spiders sometimes have lots of eyes!) Candy eyes (small size)

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add Baileys slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

Add green food coloring gel to frosting until it reaches desired hue.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Melt 6 ounces of Candy Melts in the microwave. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pipe “L” shapes onto the parchment to form spider’s legs. Let harden.

Place a Malteser “spider body” on the center of the frosting. Place the chocolate peanut “head” in front of it. Pipe dots of melted chocolate on the side of the spider’s body to hold the legs in place. Gently place 3 – 4 legs on each side of the spider. Use a dot of the melted chocolate to stick the eyes onto the head.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes:
Maltesers
Wilton Mini Candy Eyes
Merkens Dark Cocoa Confectionary Melts

Roasty Toasty Cocktail

October 30, 2017

IMG_6513It’s almost Halloween, which is my favorite holiday! And I have a great recipe to share with you – The Roasty Toasty Cocktail! Full of vodka and toasted marshmallow syrup, one small taste will conjure up autumn thoughts of Halloween bonfires and s’mores. It is just the perfect libation to sip while handing out candy to those adorable little trick or treaters. I must admit, it is a bit on the sweet side, so you’ll feel like you’re indulging in a bit of candy yourself. Why should the kids have all the fun anyway? But let me tell you… this candy cocktail is definitely for adults and has a much better kick to it than your average old Snickers bar! Guaranteed to keep you warm on the most chilly Fall evenings.

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I found this delicious cocktail recipe through a fun company called Cocktail Courier. A good friend got the Husband and I a subscription to it a bit back and we have loved it! The way it works is you select your favorite spirits, you know like Vodka and Gin and then the Cocktail Courier folks send you a box with everything in it that you need to create a fabulous cocktail at home.

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That’s right – you get the recipe, the booze, mixers and garnish all delivered right to your door (3,6 or 12 month subscriptions are available). Each kit makes 4 -12 amazing cocktails. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving! And Christmas isn’t very far away – so it might be a good gift idea for any boozy buddies you have. Or maybe you could just treat yourself! It’s never been easier to be a hip and happening bartender.

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Roasty Toasty

  • Servings: 1 cocktail
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe by: Cocktail Courier/ Laila Grainawi

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces Vodka
  • .75 ounces Marshmallow Syrup
  • .50 ounces Manzanilla Sherry
  • 3 Drops Cherry Bark Bitters
  • Garnish: 3 roasted and toasted mini marshmallows

Directions:

Chill Rocks glass by placing in fridge/freezer or by filling with ice water and setting aside for 5 minutes.

Measure and add all ingredients (except for garnish) to Mixing Beaker

Fill Mixing Beaker with ice, stir contents by placing shaft of Bar spoon or teaspoon between your index and middle finger. Insert spoon into the beaker until spoon touches the bottom.

Stir for 15 seconds.

Remove Rocks Glass from fridge/freezer or if using ice water, empty the glass.

Strain the contents of the mixing beaker using Julep Strainer, into your Rocks Glass. Top with ice.

Create your garnish by sliding three mini marshmallows onto each skewer. Carefully toast your marshmallows using a lighter or kitchen torch. Place atop each drink.

Enjoy!

Roasty Toasty Cocktail brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Roasty Toasty:

Torani Toasted Marshmallow Syrup

Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

Oxo Streel Double Jigger

Libbey Glass Studded Mixing Glass with Julep Strainer & pourer

Hiware 12 Inches Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon

 


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