Tag Archives: booze

bourbon cider

DSC_3367
I wish I could come up with something more creative and alluring for a title, but to be honest, I’m exhausted.  The sprint to the end of the summer has left me worn out.  The yard work, the garden explosion, the canning and fermenting, the end-of-summer weekend trips and errands, not to mention work?  I’m spent.  This drink that I cobbled together from a couple of places was just what I needed to accompany the knit-leggings-and-solo-bonfire party I held for myself tonight.  It hit my sweet tooth and warmed me up- just what I need for the beginning of fall.

DSC_3374Bourbon and Cider
Serves 1

2 oz. bourbon
4 oz. apple cider
1/2 tsp lemon juice
3-5 drops angostura bitters
small pinch of allspice
slightly larger pinch of cinnamon
2-3 oz. ginger beer

Shake together bourbon, cider, lemon juice, bitters, allspice, and cinnamon.  Pour in a tall glass over ice.  Top with ginger beer; stir to combine.

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Beverage, Fall, Summer

Peach vanilla bourbon preserves (jam?)

This summer has seen a lot of firsts: first race run, first time learning how to ride (and then buying) a motorcycle, and first time making and canning jam.

I had dabbled with canning tomatoes, but had never ventured into jamming territory.  I had always heard how tricky and messing canning jam was, and I seriously think that those people are doing it wrong- it has been easy AND liberating.  Putting up some small-batch jam with whatever I find at the farmer’s market is now one of my favorites ways to start a weekend!

Although there’s a lotta flavor going on in these preserves, this is a pretty straightforward recipe and a good “starter” if you’re unfamiliar to making preserves and jams.

I’m not sure of the subtle nuances between jams and preserves, but I left mine a little looser than your typical jam.  However, I did take an immersion blender to the pot to smooth it out a bit, so it’s not quite a “preserve,” either.   Either way, it’s delicious on toast and  I’m thinking that it’s going to be a killer pastry filling and ice cream topping this winter!

Peach vanilla bourbon preserves
Adapted from Tartelette via Smells Like Home
Makes approximately 5-6 cups

3 pounds of ripe peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2-1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup water
1 vanilla bean
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/3 cup bourbon (or a bit more if you like!)

Place a small plate in the freezer. In a Dutch oven or preserving pan, combine peaches, sugar, and water.  Stir, cover pan, and set on burner set at low for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, split and scrape clean your vanilla bean. Add the vanilla bean seeds and entire pod to the pan. Increase heat to medium and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Once boiling, reduce heat and keep at a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat.  Use an immersion blender to “pulse,” and pulverize about half of the fruit.

Put pan back on medium and stir in lemon juice.  Return preserves to a simmer, stirring frequently now.  As the mixture thickens and coats your spoon, pour in the bourbon.  Bring it back up to a simmer and keep stirring for 3-4 minutes.  Once the preserves have thickened up again, use a spoon to put a small amount on the plate in the freezer and return it to the freezer for one minute. This is the freezer test- you can do this multiple times.  If the preserves aren’t as thick as you’d like, keep simmering and stirring.  When it’s as thick as you want, remove from heat.

Store in clean jars in the fridge or process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.

*Notes
You can add up to 1/2 cup of any kind of liqueur, according to Helene at Tartelette. If I recall, she also suggested Grand Marnier?
The original yield was 6 to 8 cups, but I got 5 cups (1 cup to each half-pint jar) plus a bit extra to dab on toast. I assume my yield was a bit lower because of the pureeing.

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Filed under Condiments, etc., Desserts, Summer

sprrrriiiing?

I’m not quite sure it’s spring here yet.  We’ve had days in the 60s, the tulips are ready to burst open, multiple frilly rhubarb leaves have unfurled, but now the weather people are predicting SNOW! (I will say that I’ll take snow over flooding any day and my thoughts are with everyone in the South who’ve got much worse weather than we do.)

But in my head (and my stomach), it’s definitely spring. I’m craving  my family’s traditionally “spring” foods, like new potatoes roasted with thyme and carrots cooked with a little butter and honey.

There are cats in open windows. Definitely a sign of spring.

We grilled a white chicken pizza with asparagus on Sunday- a perfect meal after a long weekend of patio- and firepit-building.

And, of course, we’ve been indulging in one of my favorite spring treats- roasted strawberries with boozy whipped cream. It’s a perfect combination, and of course the extra whipped cream is a natural accompaniment for your first-of-the-season cobblers and pies.

Roasted Strawberries

I didn’t get a picture of the roasted berries, but will try to remember to take one and upload later in the week.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Wash and hull 1 cup of strawberries.  Slice the large ones into quarters and the medium and small guys into halves.  Place on the parchment and sprinkle 1/4 cup white sugar over the top.  Toss gently to distribute the sugar and coat the berries evenly.  Roast on the bottom rack for 30 minutes; cool at room temperature for 10 minutes and transfer to a container to finish cooling in the fridge (or the freezer, if you’re as anxious as I am!)

Boozy whipped cream
And you thought the strawberries were a cinch?  This is truly the easiest thing in the world:

Set a small bowl and beaters of an electric mixer (or stand mixer) in the freezer for 5 minutes.  Assemble 1 cup of heavy whipping cream (avoid the ultra-pasturized if possible), 2 teaspoons white sugar, and 2 tablespoons of brandy, bourbon, or your favorite liqueur.  Begin whipping the cream in the cold bowl; after a minute, add the sugar and booze. Continue whipping until it’s set. Serve on anything and everything, including those strawberries.  And go outside to admire the flowers.

Also delicious served with angel food cake, pound cake, or short cakes!

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Filed under 30 min. or less, Condiments, etc., Desserts, Spring, Summer

[fantastic] cocoa brownies

Deb wasn’t kidding when she titled these, “the best cocoa brownies.”  For the last few years, I have been a tempered chocolate snob. Cakes, cookies, biscotti… all of them have come from a chocolate recipe.

Let me tell you, that attitude is out.the.window. Gone. Because these brownies are THAT good.

That easy, too- one bowl! 

I made very few changes:  I personally love a subtle molasses flavor in my chocolate treats, so included dark brown sugar. I also doubled the salt, and instead of vanilla I used coffee liqueur.  I figured that a small amount of delicate vanilla might get lost under the rich texture and taste, whereas coffee would play a strong supporting role.  I definitely suggest it if you’ve got it in your liquor cabinet (and you should- White Russians are one reason for the season). Otherwise a teaspoon of leftover coffee or made with instant coffee granules would work nicely.

Cocoa Brownies
adapted slightly from Smitten Kitchen, originally from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet

10 T. unsalted butter
3/4 c. white granulated sugar
1/2 c. dark brown sugar
3/4 c. + 2 T. unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/2 t. salt
1 t. coffee liqueur
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 c. all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.

Place the butter in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Add the sugars, cocoa, and salt.  Stir once the butter begins to melt. Continue stirring as the butter completely melts and the ingredients come together. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. [It may look gritty (photo belongs to Smitten Kitchen), but will it smooth out once the eggs and flour are added.]

Stir in the coffee liqueur with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.  Add the flour and stir until well combined, and then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon.  Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter; 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me 30 minutes. Let cool completely.  Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

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Filed under Desserts