Black Velvet

March 13, 2021

Here is a great cocktail for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities…or really anytime for that matter – The Black Velvet. This lovely libation is made with a combination of Stout beer and Champagne or sparkling wine. If you pour it very carefully you can create this lovely layered appearance by floating one beverage on top of the other.

I could never find any reference as to whether the stout should go into the glass first or the champagne. I chose the Guinness to go in first because I figured stout beer was heavier than champagne, so it would be easier to float the champagne on top. It took me several tries to pull this off and so sadly, not to be wasteful, I had to drink up all the “mistakes”. The Husband, on the other hand, poured it perfectly on his first go!

This combination of bubbles and brew not only looks good but also tastes great!

Black Velvet

Ingredients:

  • Guinness Stout – chilled (you can of course use the stout of your choosing)
  • Champagne – chilled ( any Prosecco or Cava will do)

Directions:

Gather your ingredients and the cocktail glass you wish to use. I have seen Black Velvets done in champagne flutes, pint glasses, wine glasses – you name it.

You can pour either the stout in first or the champagne first, your choice. Either way, you are going to use equal amounts of both beverage. So fill the glass halfway.

Now for the tricky part. SLOWLY pour the second beverage into the glass. It helps to pour it over the back of a spoon which both slows the pour and disperses the top liquid. You should end up with a lovely layered cocktail.

Sláinte!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Velvet Cocktails:

Guinness Pour Spoon – Now you don’t need a special spoon to pour layered cocktails, but this spoon is supposed to make the whole process go a bit easier. If you are interested in the gorgeous hand crafted spoon seen in my pictures above, it is made by my friends at Crafty Celts. You can order just this spoon or a whole silverware set as well as historically inspired bronze and silver jewelry. You might recognize some of their jewelry as it was featured in the Vikings television show.

La Rochere Champagne Flutes – You don’t need these glasses to make a Black Velvet either, but if you are interested in them, here they are!


Mimosa Butter Sweetheart Cookies

February 12, 2021

So are ya’ll thinking about Valentine’s Day yet? I was way ahead of the game this year, that is for me anyway! May I present my Valentine’s Day treats – Mimosa Butter Sweetheart Cookies! What we got here is a crisp and light butter cookie which has been jazzed up with the addition of some champagne, orange juice and the perfect dollop of decadent chocolate raspberry jam. These little devils are addictive! And if you make them, it forces you to open a bottle of champagne and once it is open…you absolutely have to finish it. Hurray! Mimosas all around!

The Husband, who conveniently also happens to be my Valentine, generally doesn’t like any chocolatey super sweet sugar bombs that seem to be all the rage for this holiday.  Which is totally unlike me. That is exactly what I would want. Truth be told…in a the shape of a cupcake if all were going my way. Just saying…He, on the other hand, prefers fruit forward desserts such as this lovely Cashew Crusted Blackberry & Lime Tart:

Or these Luscious Lemon Squares,

And then there was that Poached Pear Tart with Lemony Cream.

One year, I was even clever enough to combine what he loves, a good Gin & Tonic, and what I love, cupcakes by making  Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes:

This year’s offering, Mimosa Butter Sweetheart Cookies, was pretty sly on my part as well. I really like cookies and was able to not only add some of his favorite jam into the mix with these, but was also able to get some champagne on deck.

The Husband and I do love our champagne! Though truth be told, when we first started dating, he told me he didn’t like champagne. I tell you, it stopped me in my tracks! I was pondering whether or not it was a deal breaker. Turns out, he had only ever had cheap champagne. When he got a taste of the good stuff, he realized his mistake. Whew! What a relief!

So Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Crack open a bottle of champagne (the good stuff) and whip up a batch of these delightful little Valentine’s Day nibbles. Rich and buttery, crisp and citrus-y with just the right amount of chocolate raspberry zing, they go great with a cup of tea or a glass of the bubbly! You won’t be sorry!

Mimosa Butter Sweetheart Cookies

  • Servings: approximately 3 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Taste of Home: Mimosa Butter Cookies + inspiration from their Sweetheart Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1-1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup champagne
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 – 4 Tablespoons of Jam ( I used homemade Chocolate Raspberry Jam)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°. In a large bowl, cream butter, confectioner’s sugar, orange zest and salt until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes.

Mix juice and champagne together.

Add flour to creamed mixture alternately with juice mixture, beating until just combined after each addition.

Transfer cookie dough to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe 2-in. circles, 2 in. apart onto parchment-lined baking sheet.

Using the rounded end of a spoon or spatula, make small indentations in the center of each cookie.

Fill with about 1/8 teaspoon of your favorite jam.

Bake until edges are just starting to brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool on pan 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Mimosa Butter Sweetheart Cookies:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Ateco Disposable Decorating Bags

Prepworks Pocket Zester


Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Swiss Buttercream Frosting for our 3 year Anniversary!

April 26, 2012

Three years ago today Jay and I got hitched at Cloghan Castle in Kilcreest, County Galway, Republic of Ireland! Happiest day of my life thus far.

Apparently the traditional anniversary gift for three years of marriage is leather. Really….leather? I’m not sure what an appropriate leather gift would be. The first things that come to mind when I think of love and leather are somewhat naughty and definitely not items to be discussed here, much less presents we would be happy to receive from our parents. Oh my! Moving right along…So what are we doing to mark our three-year anniversary? Well, I’d love to say I’m writing this post from a luxury spa in Ireland.

Or perhaps from a gorgeous balcony overlooking the beaches of the Amalfi Coast in Italy.

But nope, I’m writing from good ole Virginia. We’ve had a lot of stuff going on just recently and as a consequence, were not able to schedule a fabulous vacation to coincide with our anniversary date. But I’m happy to say my wonderful husband has promised to whisk me off on several romantic getaways later this year, a couple of visits to a cozy mountain cabin in West Virginia, a jaunt in Nashville and back to Ireland and possibly even Wales. Yippee! I am so ready! But besides daydreaming about all of our future travel today, I decided to make us some Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Swiss Buttercream Frosting.

As those of you who know us are aware, Jay and I love Champagne, especially Veuve Clicquot. I’m telling you, that widow knows what she is doing on the champagne making front! I can assure you that we certainly will be drinking a bottle (or two….who knows once you get going…) to celebrate today.

And cupcakes go along brilliantly with champagne. I think so anyway. But then again, I LOVE cupcakes, so I think they go along brilliantly with everything. Or devoured all on their lonesome. We actually had a tower of cupcakes as our wedding cake.

They were adorable. Sunflowers, ladybugs and bees. And they not only looked cute, were really yummy.So with that fond memory firmly in place, I got to baking!

I had to cobble this recipe together somewhat. I took the cake part of these cupcakes from one source and the frosting part from another. Recently Jay and I discovered that we really like the Swiss Meringue Buttercream frosting, much more than the regular simple buttercream.

The results? I must say, these Champagne Frosted Champagne Cupcakes rock! So festive, they are just perfect for our celebration today. The cake was very moist and the frosting sweet, but not tooth-achingly sweet. I did sprinkle a bit of vanilla sugar ever so lightly over the tops of these little gems. They were completely scrumptious!

And on that note, I’ve gotta get going. The Veuve is a calling! Cheers!

Champagne Cupcakes with Champagne Swiss Buttercream Frosting

recipe from: cupcakes: Sprinkle Bakes, Frosting: Brave Tart

yield: 17 cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1/2 cup butter softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup champagne

For the Frosting:

  • 5 oz. egg whites
  • 5 oz. sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • the scrapings from 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 2″ chunks, room temperature
  • Champagne to taste- I used 3 Tablespoons

Directions:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and mix. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt, set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup champagne and 1/2 cup sour cream (mixture will fizz and bubble). Add flour and champagne mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Batter will be thick.

Fill cupcake papers with 1/4 cup level measures of batter.

Bake for 17-22 minutes.

Set aside.

For the Frosting:

Combine the egg whites, sugar salt and vanilla bean together in a clean bowl. Set the bowl over a pan of water and turn the heat on medium-low.

Whisk frequently to prevent an egg white omelet forming on the sides, but continual mixing isn’t necessary. Aim to get the mixture to at least 145°F for food safety reasons, but reaching 150°F would make for a nice margin of error. If your egg whites are at room temperature, this won’t take very long, maybe just a few minutes.

When the mixture is sufficiently hot, remove from the heat and whip on medium-high speed until the mixture has doubled in volume and turned snowy white. Continue whipping until the meringue is cool. Use your hands to feel the bowl itself, rather than simply testing the temperature of the meringue. You want it to feel perfectly cool to the touch with no trace of warmth.

Change to the paddle attachment and turn the mixer down to medium-low and begin adding the butter, one chunk at a time. If you didn’t let your meringue cool enough, this is when you’ll really regret it. By the time you’ve added all the butter, you may need to scrape down the bowl to fully incorporate any butter or meringue that’s stuck to the sides.

Finally add your champagne. Just keep adding 1/4 teaspoon at a time until it suits your tastes.

The buttercream freezes beautifully. I had about 1 cup’s worth left over.

Enjoy!


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