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!

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Salty Bacon Bourbon Peanut Butter Cookies

October 14, 2016

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Sorry…Did someone say Bacon…Bourbon and Peanut Butter in one little cookie? And it is salted! Whaaaat?!! Can you do that? Yes indeed you can and that is just what I did here. These naughty boozy little cookies are completely amazing. With gooey peanut butter, smoky bacon, rich chocolate and silky smooth bourbon (Knob Creek is our favorite) all enhanced with a perfect sprinkling of flaky sea salt, how could they be anything other than oh so decadent and sinfully delicious! Wonderful with a glass of milk or maybe with another shot of bourbon for an indulgent nightcap.

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These cookies would be perfect for tailgating, a very welcome treat for any adult trick-or-treaters you might encounter and certainly keep these in mind when those Super Bowl parties fire up!

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Salty Bacon Bourbon Peanut Butter Cookies

  • Servings: 24 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe slightly adapted from: The Endless Meal

Ingredients:

  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • ⅓ cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
  • Maldon Sea Salt for Sprinkling over top

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together.

Cook the bacon until crisp. Transfer to a paper towel lined plate. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the drippings and set aside to cool. Once cool, crumble the bacon, remove (eat) any chewy bits.

Beat the butter and reserved bacon drippings in a large bowl with a mixer on until smooth, about 1 minute. Beat in the peanut butter until combined, about 1 minute. Add the granulated and light brown sugar and mix until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and bourbon and beat until light and fluffy, about two more minutes.

Add the flour mixture in 2 additions, scraping down the bowl as needed, until just combined.

Stir in the crumbled bacon and chocolate chips

Form the dough into 1″ balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle Maldon flaky sea salt over the dough balls. Place cookie sheet in refrigerator and let cookie dough rest overnight. If you are rushed for time, you can simply let the cookies chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, though I think an overnight rest results in a more flavorful cookie.*

Once you are ready to bake. Place cookie dough balls on a parchment lined baking tray 2″ apart. Bake for about 8 minutes for chewy cookies, 10 for crispier cookies.

Let the cookies cool 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy!

* You can also freeze the cookie dough balls at this point. Once the dough is frozen you can remove it from the baking tray and store in a ziplock bag. When you are ready to treat yourself to a cookie or two (or so…) remove from freezer and bake as directed above, but add two minutes to the overall baking time.

Salty Bacon Bourbon Peanut Butter Cookies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake

August 29, 2014

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Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake. Say that three times fast! I would try but I’m afraid my mouth is stuffed full of cake at the moment. Hey…sometimes one – meaning yours truly – needs inspiration to write these blogs. I mean occasionally I’m at a loss what to say. If you were here I would just hand you a big old plate full of whatever it was I was trying to artfully describe. Let the food do the talking if you get my drift.

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Other times I just stuff my face full of whatever it is and start writing. Luckily for me, it was the last piece of the Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake I made for my friends recent birthday. I’m a big believer that there is nothing like a big old fancy homemade cake to properly convey an enthusiastic Happy Birthday.

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I mean store-bought cakes are ok and I guess I could see if you have a favourite bakery ( mine is Baked & Wired – if anyone was wondering…) and a favourite cake from said favourite bakery (uhhhh… do you know me at all?…cupcakes from Baked & Wired – any flavour will do but please no fruit filling. Get those for my husband.), folks could do just fine stopping by there and simply picking up a big old bakery box of love. However, if you have a bit of baking skill, I think you’ll get quite a few points (there I go with those supposed points again…) by making someone a cake, with as many layers as you can manage (the more layers, the more points) from scratch.

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My Grandmother, of the Jewish Apple Cake fame, always made me a Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Chocolate Fudge Frosting for my birthdays. I can remember one above all of the others. I think I was about five years old. It had the usual chocolate frosting and shaky script handwriting spelling out Happy Birthday.  But this one was decorated with tiny plastic cake decorations. In this case they were ballerinas wearing pink tutus. I thought it was awesome!  I can still picture it perfectly in my mind’s eye.

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Here is the only picture we could find with the remembered cake. Perhaps also showing my early tendency towards cupcake obsession.

When I got to be about 14 -15 years old and was the standard clueless teenager, I asked my Mom for a store-bought sheet- style birthday cake. I got it into my head that they were pretty cool with all of their fancy colours and big frosting flowers. Not to mention, that is the type of cake most of my friends had on their birthdays. Mom got me the cake, but it just wasn’t all I hoped it would be. It tasted ok, if not a bit plasticy and sickeningly sweet as those cakes often do. The bakery misspelled my name, which was a bit of a bummer. But luckily, Grandma, either through force of habit or some greater knowledge (mom-mom worldly wisdom) had still made me my old standard Hot Milk Birthday Cake. From then on, I knew which cake I’d be requesting when asked. Yup…although Grandma is not around to bake it for me anymore, my Mom has picked up the torch and has been known to whip up one mean Hot Milk Cake with Old Fashioned Fudge Frosting in no time flat! So when my friend’s birthday rolled around, I wanted to make him something special. A cake he would really like. I was pretty sure that vintage plastic ballerinas wouldn’t do a thing for him, so I turned my thoughts to something which seems to get most folks pretty excited…booze! In his case Bourbon. He has been known to take an occasional sip or two of that Knob Creek elixir from time to time. And there is quite a lot of bourbon to be found in this cake. Yup…it is in the cake, in the ganache and in the icing. A veritable Bourbon bonanza!

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This cake was a huge hit. The buttermilk, yeah that’s right….even more “B” words, made the cake layers wonderfully light and moist. The frosting was rich, yet fluffy and fantastically boozy.

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Made for quite the happy birthday, not only for the birthday boy, but also for all his well wishers to boot! Got a special occasion coming up and some bourbon lovers in the house? Look no further, this Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake will get the job done!

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Boozy Birthday Bourbon Layer Cake

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy but a lot of steps!
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recipe from: Love & Olive Oil

Ingredients:

For Cake:

  • 1 vanilla bean split and scraped, seeds reserved
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) bourbon (pick your poison…I used Knob Creek)
  • 2 cups (13.5 ounces) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

For the Buttercream:

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate
  • 6 ounces milk chocolate
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2-3 cups powdered sugar, or more as needed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Bourbon

For the Ganache:

  • 4 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon

Directions:

Combine the bourbon and vanilla bean together in a small bowl. Steep overnight, or as long as you can before proceeding.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter and line 3 8-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Butter parchment.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Combine the sugar, butter, and reserved vanilla bean seeds in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed for 10 minutes, until very light and fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl periodically as needed.

Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition.

Add the flour mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk, mixing on low speed until incorporated. Immediately add the bourbon (discard the vanilla pod) and mix until combined.

Divide the batter among prepared pans. You can just eyeball it, or weigh the pans like I do, with my handy dandy OXO Food Scale. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until tops are lightly browned and springy. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack until cool enough to handle. Run a small knife around the edges of each pan, then gently invert onto wire racks. Cakes should come out cleanly. Allow to cool completely.

For the ganache:  Place chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Bring cream to a bare simmer over low heat. Pout hot cream over chocolate, and stir until smooth. Add bourbon. Set aside and allow to cool until thickened slightly (the room temperature ganache should be about the consistency of peanut butter). If it’s too thick, you can add a little bit more hot cream and stir until smooth.

For the buttercream: Melt chocolates in a microwave or double boiler over low heat until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add powdered sugar, 2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. If you don’t add the sugar slowly and mix thoroughly after each addition, you run the risk of ending up with gritty icing, which no one will be pleased with! Add cooled chocolate and beat until smooth. Add heavy cream and bourbon and beat until light and fluffy. Add more powdered sugar or heavy cream as necessary to achieve desired consistency.

To assemble:  Level each cake layer by cutting of the domed top with a long serrated knife. Or use a handy cake leveler like I did. Place one layer, flat side down, on a cake stand or serving platter. To keep the platter clean while frosting, place 4 small strips of parchment or waxed paper just under the edges of the cake. This will allow you to frost the cake and then remove these strips cleanly later.

Spread half of the ganache evenly over top of layer, followed approximately 1/2 cup of buttercream. Position second layer on top and press to adhere. Repeat with remaining ganache, another 1/2 cup of buttercream, and final cake layer, flat side up.

Cover the entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream. This “crumb coat” will make frosting the cake easier. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to allow this crumb coat to set.

Remove cake from refrigerator and frost with remaining buttercream, reserving some if you’d like to add any decorative details or borders.

Enjoy!

Bourbon Birthday Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )


Peach Dumplings With Bourbon Hard Sauce

August 8, 2014

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Peach Dumplings! And as if that didn’t sound delightful enough, the following words, Bourbon Hard Sauce, just might just zombify you.  What do I mean by zombify? You know how zombies are just shuffling forward, driven by a burning desire to eat something, in their case brains, in your case these Peach Dumplings with Bourbon Hard Sauce. Zombified…you get what I’m saying right? And I have to tell you that when I served these Peach Dumplings I didn’t just stop after dolloping out a generous amount of that Bourbon Hard sauce which promptly began to melt and trickle down over the sides. Nope. I added a big old scoop of ice cream. Oh yes. I did. Sheer summer-time dessert bliss!

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I don’t usually make a lot of peach desserts. It’s not because I don’t like them, cause believe me I do. I just have really bad luck with them. I mean often I will go to the store and see a big, glorious mountain of peaches. They look great and smell phenomenal. Sometimes there will even be a little plate of cut up sample peach pieces, which I try and find they taste great as well. Alright! I’m in business. These are perfect peaches, I think and then I pick out a bunch out and take them home, already drooling over the spectacular desserts I will be making. Alas, when I actually get into the kitchen, I find out that they are either not ripe enough, way too ripe or have some weird mealy consistency. Bleh! But somehow the peach gods were with me when I picked these bad boys out. I guess persistence pays off. I mean certainly the odds must dictate I will eventually pick out the delicious peaches rather than the duds if I try often enough right? These peaches were just sweet juicy perfection!

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I found this recipe in Deb Perlman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook, which if you don’t already have it, you absolutely need to buy it today! I kid you not, every single thing I have made from it has been just incredible! For these dumplings, Deb gives the recipe for what I’m sure is a fantastic pie crust. I however already had a batch of the pie crust which I usually use all made up and ready to go, so I substituted in my crust for simplicity sake. (If you buy her book, you could get her recipe and try it out as well…hint, hint.)

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Without a doubt, these Peach Dumplings were impressive, though pretty dang easy to make. And when I say impressive, I mean in a down homey kind of a way, not a fancy pants French restaurant kind of a way. You know just delicious, kind of old-fashioned goodness. Your Granny would have served this dessert. The buttery pastry bakes up golden and flaky, the peach halves are sweet and glazed in caramalized brown sugar with overall hints of sweet buttery bourbon. And when you add that scoop of ice cream…you will be in a zombie trance indeed. Need. More. Peach. Dumplings!

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Peach Dumplings With Bourbon Hard Sauce

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perlman with the substitution of my favourite pie crust

Ingredients:

For the crust: 

  • 2 1/2 cups (360 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 6 tablespoons vodka (chilled)
  • 2 Tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 3 large peaches
  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) light or dark brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Few fresh gratings of nutmeg, or a pinch of ground
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, cut into 6 pieces, kept cold
  • 1 large egg, for glaze

For the hard sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams or 1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (95 grams) confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon bourbon ( your choice – but let me just say Knob Creek is delicious!)

For Serving:

  • Ice Cream! ( not necessary, but really yummy)

Directions:

 

Mix 6 tablespoons of vodka and 2 tablespoons of water. Put in fridge or freezer (don’t forget it) to chill.

 

Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

 

Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).

 

Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).

 

Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water/vodka over mixture. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of extra water/vodka and continue to press until dough comes together.

 

Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball. Flatten it into a disc. Wrap the disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).

 

Roll Crust out to a 12 X 18″ rectangle, and divide into six 6″ squares. If dough gets too soft or warm while you’re rolling it, continue to the square stage, but then transfer the squares to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill them in the freezer for a couple minutes until they firm up again.

 

Halve the peaches and remove the pits. Using a melon baller or a knife, scoop out a tiny extra bit where the pit was so that there will be more room for the filling.

 

Mix the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a little dish. Spoon 1 lightly packed tablespoon on top of each peach, packing as much of the sugar mixture as you can into the center indentation. Dot the tip of each with a piece of cold butter. Center a peach half, cut side up, in your first pastry square. Bring the corners up to meet each other over the center and seal the seams together, pinching with you fingertips.

 

Arrange the peach dumplings in a buttered 9 X13″ baking dish and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375°F.

 

Whisk egg together with 1 teaspoon water to form a glaze. Brush glaze over the tops and exposed sides of dumplings. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until pastries are puffed up and golden on top.

 

While baking, make the hard sauce. Beat softened butter, confectioners’ sugar and bourbon until smooth. Scrape into a serving dish. When pastries come out of the oven, dollop each with a heaping spoonful of the hard sauce. And don’t forget that ice cream!

 

Enjoy!

Peach Dumplings with Bourbon Hard Sauce brought to you by: Runcible Eats (http://www.leaandjay.com )

 

 

 

 

 


Bourbon Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

April 16, 2013

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Since I just shared that wonderfully spicy Chicken & Andouille Jambalaya recipe with you, I thought you might like something with a bit of a Creole flavour to serve for dessert. New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding is just such a dessert. Usually this bread pudding would be made with a French baguette or other egg rich bread like brioche or challah.But I had just made a huge batch of Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday. Those Buns were deeee-lish!

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The best Hot Cross Buns I have made to date. However, there were quite of few of those gems sitting around here. Even after the husband and I had eaten our fill, and I’d set one aside for its good luck/medicinal value, we still had quite a few and they were rapidly heading towards a very stale state. Perfect for Bread Pudding! Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding!

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Oh and don’t forget that I’m putting some Bourbon in the mix as well. That is always a good thing! I had made Dorie Greenspan’s Bourbon Bread Pudding before and knew it was a winner, so I just made her Bourbon Bread pudding using my Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns for the bread. I decided to make up a bit of Bourbon Syrup to drizzle over the pudding as well. Oh yeah…and we might have added a little scoop of ice cream on the side. Let me tell you, this bread pudding is just da bomb! I hope you won’t wait until next Easter to make it!

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Bourbon Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Bun Bread Pudding

Recipe slightly adapted from: Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces left over Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Demerara sugar to sprinkle over top

For the Bourbon syrup:

  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Bourbon ( I like Knob Creek)

Directions:

Butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan ( Pyrex or ceramic will work well. I had so many Buns left over to use, I doubled the recipe and made mine in a 9×13″ pan). Line a roasting pan big enough to hold the loaf pan with a double thickness of paper towels. Fill a teakettle with water and put it on to boil; when the water boils, turn off the heat.

Cut the buns into 1″ cubes and remove the cross from the top of the bun as it tends to have a tough texture. If the bread is stale, put it into the loaf pan. If it is not stale, spread it out on a baking sheet lined with parchments and bake it in a 350° F oven to “stale” it for 10 minutes. Once finished, place the bread in the loaf pan and set the loaf pan in the middle of the roasting pan.

Bring milk and cream just to a boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, yolks, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a bowl. Still whisking slowly drizzle in about one-quarter of the hot milk mixture-this will temper, or warm the eggs so they don’t curdle. Whisking all the while, slowly pour in the remaining milk. Add the bourbon and vanilla and whisk gently to blend. Rap the bowl against the counter to pop any bubbles that might have formed, then pour the custard over the bread and press the bread gently with the back of a spoon to help cover it with liquid. Cover the pan lightly with wax paper and leave it on the counter, giving the bread the back-of-the-spoon treatment now and then, for 1 hour.

Center a rack in an oven preheated to 350°F.

Discard the wax paper. Sprinkle Demerara sugar over the top of the pudding. Cover the loaf pan snugly with a piece of aluminum foil. Poke about 5 holes in the foil. Slide the roasting pan/loaf pan into the oven and very carefully pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake the pudding for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for 15 minutes more, or until the pudding is puffed and golden and a knife inserted deep into the center comes out clean. Transfer the baking pan to a rack and cool the pudding until it is just warm, or reaches room temperature.

While pudding is baking make the Bourbon Syrup. Stir the water and sugar together in a medium saucepan over medium heat until the sugar melts, then bring to a boil for about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the Bourbon. Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and let cool.

Once you a ready to serve the pudding, sprinkle powdered sugar over the top and serve with a Bourbon syrup drizzle. Or you could go even one step further and serve it along with a scoop of ice cream.

Enjoy!


Scáiltín (Milk Punch)

March 7, 2013

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I thought you might enjoy this recipe for a St. Patrick’s Day beverage. Scáiltín, or Milk Punch, is a hot drink made with milk, Irish whiskey and spices. It has been enjoyed in Ireland since the Middle Ages. I can just see myself, curled up next to the fire with a good book and a big mug of the stuff. Perhaps I can see this so clearly because that is exactly what happened on last night’s snowy eve! Yup, the weather folks were right. It sure did snow yesterday and everything was closed down. It was that really heavy, wet snow that had a lot of rain mixed in. It is mostly gone now around here, though I understand that folks out closer to the mountains got a whole lot more of the stuff. It was an absolutely perfect day to make up a batch of this punch.

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Now let me explain, it wasn’t like I was swanning about the house all day yesterday sipping big mugs of Scáiltín and occasionally pausing to snap a photo or two of the blessed concoction. Well, I might have taken a nip of two from the mugs….but it was strictly for research purposes. I certainly wouldn’t want to blog about something that I didn’t think tasted delicious. And in my defense, it was a snow day. Yes, my husband and I both work from home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t join in with the spirit of a snow day. And I definitely was not “swanning about” in the least. But this is about Scáiltín, not me. So let me tell you this silky smooth, spicy cuppa really does pack a punch and will  warm you head to toes. I can see why it was thought to be medicinal. Great for a nightcap or with some cookies in the afternoon or as a remedy for a damp, bone-chilling, slush shoveling day.

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Interestingly enough, whilst I was researching Scáiltín, I came across a recipe for New Orleans Milk Punch which is thought to have its origins from Irish Scáiltin, but has evolved appropriately to be imbibed in steamy Louisiana. This beverage is served cold, either over ice or in a “slushy” state. Well, I was very excited to see this. I mean it is a wee bit cold in the winter months in Virginia, we did have a slush storm yesterday, but it is muggy, hot and humid for the majority of the time. So, iced drinks are really popular. And everyone knows, Americans LOVE ice, and lots of it. Literally can’t get enough of the stuff. If we’re getting a cocktail, fill that glass up with ice. Our beer, we want it icy cold and in a chilled mug. We even ice down our tea (gasp, horror). I can assure you, if I lived in New Orleans, one of the muggiest places going, I would drink my Milk Punch in milkshake form!

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Now a New Orleans Milk Punch is a bit different from Scáiltín, and not only in temperature. Sure there is milk, but the alcohol added can differ. I found recipes which called for Bourbon, other whiskies or Brandy, though it seems that Brandy is preferred in the Big Easy. Powdered sugar is the sweetener rather than honey and vanilla extract was added to the mix. Although I didn’t see a recipe which called for cinnamon or ginger, nutmeg did make the cut. How exciting! Apparently, New Orleans Milk Punch is often enjoyed at brunch as a sort of “hair of the dog”. I can just see myself sipping it pool side, under a large shady umbrella I assure you. I just couldn’t resist giving you the recipes for both versions and that way you’ll be set with an appropriate beverage no matter how close to the equator you are when you’re celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. Sláinte! (Irish for “to your health”).

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Scáiltín

Recipe from: The Complete Irish Pub Cookbook

Yield: 2 mugs

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey (or to taste)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I really like cinnamon and used 1/4 tsp.)
  • 2 pats of irish butter (optional)
  • freshly grated nutmeg, to garnish

Directions:

Pour the milk and whiskey into a small saucepan and stir in the honey, ginger and cinnamon.

Heat over low heat, without letting the mixture boil, a whisking briskly to create a froth.

Pour into two warm mugs, top with a pat of butter and sprinkle with grated nutmeg.

Enjoy!

New Orleans Milk Punch

recipe from: Epicurious

yield: 4 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brandy, (or Bourbon, or other Whiskey )
  • 3 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 gratings fresh nutmeg
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • Crushed ice in 4 glasses

Directions:

Put the brandy (bourbon or other whiskey), milk, sugar, vanilla, nutmeg, and ice cubes into a blender and blend for 20 seconds.

Strain into glasses of crushed ice, garnish with extra nutmeg gratings and serve.

Enjoy!


Bourbon Bacon Jam

March 30, 2012

You heard me right….BACON JAM! Lord in Heaven above, Have Mercy! I’d seen various blogs about this mythic food. I heard there was a food truck somewhere on the other side of the country that was serving this stuff up on its burgers. I was seriously fantasizing about it, but I had yet to experience it firsthand and was dying to give it a whirl. I mean, really?!! Bacon. Jam. I finally decided that it was time to take action. The Lord helps those who help themselves, so I’ve heard. So I got busy with a recipe for this ambrosia that I found on Spoon Fork Bacon. (Fabulous blog, you should check it out!) With a name like that, I knew that they would know how to make a killer Bacon Jam. As an added bonus, their recipe made a Boozy Bacon Jam. Well I was very excited now. I hadn’t even dreamed that Bourbon would be on the all-star list of ingredients for this recipe. And be warned, quite a lot of ingredients go into this blessed concoction, but nevertheless it is still quite easy to prepare. There is of course, one pound of applewood smoked bacon, and bourbon – don’t forget the bourbon. (Knob Creek Kentucky Bourbon to be exact) Then there are the onions and the coffee, the ancho chili powder, smoky paprika, pure maple syrup, Sriracha Chili sauce, shallot, spices….Good Lands! And when you get all of these items combined just so, you let them sit a simmer for 1 1/2 hours, so that all that goodness can meld together. After one whirl in the good ole food processor, I swear the clouds parted and the light did shineth down. I had created it!  Bacon Jam! (insert maniacal laughter) I can tell you, I could hardly contain myself while it was bubbling away on the stove. But once it was finished and I got that first spicy, smoky, bacon-y taste I was doing a veritable bacon jig, which we really should have gotten film footage of, but I’ll just have to leave it up to your imagination. My husband started to laugh at me, but when a dollop of this magnificent creation landed square on his unsuspecting taste buds, his feet started to move on their own as well. Once you make your batch of this jam, you’ll know all the steps to the dance for sure! It’s instinctive. Involuntary. No instruction necessary. You’ll see….

What will I do with my Bourbon Bacon Jam now that I have it? Well, first of all I think I need to put it under guard, because the few folks that know it’s here are planning a heist to relieve me of my treasure. (By the way, a really big watch dog is in residence here…just saying in case you get any ideas…) So lets see, besides eating it right out of the jar…we’ve put it on our tender and tasty Cheddar Scallion Scones that I just posted about, we topped some deviled eggs with a dollop of that bacon-y goodness, we put it on burgers, we put it on egg breakfast biscuits. I tell you the possibilities are endless! Make up a batch for yourself and let your imagination run wild. You will not be disappointed!

Bourbon Bacon Jam

yield: Two 8 ounce jars

recipe from: Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb applewood smoked bacon
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground mustard
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¾ cup sweet bourbon or brandy
  • 2/3 cup strong brewed coffee
  • 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons tarragon vinegar (I didn’t have this, so just used 4 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar)
  • 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons Sriracha
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Fry bacon on medium-high heat for 6 to 8 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and set aside.

Drain all but 1 tablespoon bacon fat from the pot, add butter and melt.

Add onion, brown sugar and a pinch of salt and cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

Add shallot, garlic and spices and sauté for an additional 3 to 5 minutes. Season with pepper.

Return the bacon to the pot and stir until well combined.

Pour the bourbon/brandy into the bacon mixture and cook the liquid down for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 ½ hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the mixture from the heat and allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Skim off any fat/grease that has formed at the top and discard.

Pour the mixture into a food processor and process until desired consistency is achieved.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container, in the refrigerator, until ready to use. Will last for up to one month (as if any of that bacon jam will be left around for 1 month. Ha!)

Enjoy!


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