We’ve been teased with warm, sunny weather lately. It seems like this was the fourth or fifth weekend it’s looked like spring might be arriving. We’ve decided to throw caution to the wind and assume the sunshine is here to stay. To celebrate the arrival of spring (hopefully), we decided to make the whiskey smash sorbet from The Kitchn.
Whiskey Smash Sorbet
makes about 1 ½ quarts
4 cups water
1½ cups sugar
1-2 Tbsp. freshly grated lemon zest
4 oz. whiskey, divided
½ cup fresh mint, finely chopped
2 cups fresh lemon juice, cold (from about ten lemons)
Bring the water, sugar, lemon zest, and half the whiskey to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Turn the stove to low, and allow the syrup to simmer five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Remove the syrup from heat, add the mint, and stir. Let the mixture rest until it cools to room temperature. Then put it in the refrigerator and allow it to cool for 4 hours, or overnight.
Strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the solids. Press down firmly on the solids to get all the juices out.
Add the lemon juice and the remaining whiskey, stir, and process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
This sorbet is like drinking a refreshing whiskey smash, exactly like you’d expect. It’s a wonderful balance of tart and refreshing from the lemon and mint, with a slight boozy kick. It’s perfect for the warm spring and summer days we’ll be enjoying (we hope) very soon.
Annie Cardi is a writer who lives in Boston. Her first novel, Queen of the Air, is expected to be released in Spring 2014. Find her on Twitter at @AnnieCardi and on Tumblr at Pale Girl In the City.
As much as I love New England, a little part of me feels like a Southern girl. How can I resist? They’ve got Faulkner, bluegrass, the Kentucky Derby, barbeque, and great accents. Even though I might not be able to pass as a Southern Belle, I can still utilize two great Southern traditions—bourbon and pecans.
Recently we had friends over (including Rachel and Patrick!) for a night of tasty barbeque and good conversation. Of course I had to try these Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars for the occasion. They’re similar to a pecan pie, but the dough doesn’t require extra resting time (as is often the case with pies), and can be cut into convenient bars for easy sharing.
You can really taste the bourbon in this recipe, so don’t be afraid to use a slightly higher quality bourbon than you might otherwise in baking.
Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars (adapted from Sugar Plum)
4 oz. Cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp. Unsalted butter, softened
½ cup Confectioners’ sugar
¼ tsp. Salt
1½ cups All-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. Unsalted butter
2 cups Finely chopped pecans*
3 Large eggs
¾ cup Packed brown sugar
½ cup Corn syrup
2 Tbsp. bourbon**
2 tsp. Vanilla extract
¼ tsp. Salt
Scant cup Semisweet chocolate chunks
Heat oven to 350° F. Line a 13x9-inch baking dish with foil; coat foil with cooking spray***.
To make the crust, in a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese and butter until well-combined and creamy. Beat in confectioners’ sugar and salt until combined. Beat in flour until just combined.
Pat dough into bottom of baking dish to form a crust. Make sure the dough is evenly distributed and covers the entire bottom of the dish. Bake 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown around edges.
While the crust is baking, start on the filling. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; cook about 2-3 minutes, whisking frequently, until butter browns and starts to foam. Stir in pecans and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove pan from heat.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs until combined. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla, and salt. Mix until well combined.
Melt chocolate in a double-boiler or in 30-second bursts in the microwave. Whisk melted chocolate into the egg mixture. Add pecans, and stir until combined.
Pour filling onto crust. Bake 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and set. Cool completely on a wire rack before lifting out foil from dish and slicing into bars. Makes about two dozen bars.
*You can toast the pecans beforehand, which I bet would be fantastic, but I didn’t bother, especially since you end up sautéing them on the stovetop.
**I have a generous hand when it comes to bourbon. Don’t worry if a little extra spills in.
***Please remember the cooking spray. I forgot and some of the bars on the edge were a little hard to get out of the pan. Still tasted good, but they didn’t look quite as bar-y as the others.
Our love of homemade baked doughnuts has been well documented, so when we saw this recipe from Chasing Delicious, we were excited to try this slightly different take on the traditional doughnut. This recipe is like a pound cake baked into doughnut shapes.
Lemon Oat Bourbon Cake Doughnuts
3 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. bourbon
½ tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. butter, soft at room temp.
8 oz. sugar
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
5 oz. all-purpose flour
3 oz. oat flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F.
2. Mix the eggs, egg yolks, bourbon, and vanilla in a small bowl until everything is broken up. Take care not to beat any air into the mixture.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter until broken up and soft, about 2 minutes on medium.
4. With the mixer running, slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (nearly white in color), about 4-5 minutes.
5. Add the lemon zest and mix in well.
6. With the mixer running (medium-low), very slowly pour the egg mixture into the butter and sugar mixture. This step should take you about five minutes.
7. Sift the flours, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Slowly fold the flours into the egg mixture, ¼ at a time. This will form a stiff batter.
8. Place the batter in a large piping bag. Cut the end of the bag so the width matches the width of the rings on the doughnut pan.
9. Carefully pipe the batter into the doughnut pans, careful not to fill each form too high (the batter should only come up about ½-¾ to the top).
10. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden on top and the dough springs back when pressed lightly.
11. Let cool slightly before glazing and topping.
This is one of those rare recipes that we didn’t alter at all. We followed these directions to the T, and recommend you do the same to achieve the crumbly, light texture these doughnuts are intended to have. The bourbon taste was a little lost due to the strong lemon flavor, but make no mistake: these doughnuts taste really good.
We love Sazeracs. If you were a guest at our house, there’s a 98% chance we’d make you a Sazerac. Also, we love cookies, because we are humans. These Sazerac cookies from Tasting Table are pretty much perfect for us.
1¾ cups All-purpose flour
2 Tbsp. Corn starch
¼ tsp. Kosher salt
1½ sticks Unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup Confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp. Rye
½ tsp. Absinthe
½ tsp. Peychaud’s bitters
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300°.
Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a mixing bowl then set aside.
In a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until the mixture becomes light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add the rye, absinthe, bitters, and vanilla extract and mix. Add the flour and mix until the dough is a bit fluffy.
Roll the dough into tablespoon-size balls. Set each cookie about one inch apart on a parchment-lined baking ban. Flatten each cookie slightly, to the shape you desire (the cookies don’t change shape much while baking). Bake for 15 minutes or until the cookies are a light gold color. Remove from oven and let cool.
These cookies are tasty. They’re like shortbread cookies with a little extra kick. We topped ours with a light dusting of nutmeg-allspice sugar. We of course highly recommend serving these cookies with a Sazerac.
If you haven’t noticed, we like to put bourbon in our ice cream (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C). Even though it’s January in New England, which means temperatures range from single digits to mid-thirties Fahrenheit, this ice cream is so yummy the cold couldn’t stop us from eating it. Our recipe is adapted from this maple syrup ice cream at Anh’s Food Blog.
Maple Bourbon Ice Cream
1 cup milk(we used 2%)
1 cup pure maple syrup
⅛ tsp. salt
2 cups heavy cream
2 oz. bourbon
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a simmer, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Mix in maple syrup, bourbon, and salt, and stir until the syrup mixes. Stir in the cream. Let mixture cool in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, make the ice cream with your ice cream maker. Garnish with a tiny pinch of espresso sugar.
This is a very rich dessert, mostly because I actually messed it up. I added one cup of maple syrup instead of half a cup, as the original recipe suggests. Luckily, it’s still extremely tasty. It’s not surprising, because bourbon and maple flavors go together well. We recommend using half a cup of syrup, but either way, it will be delicious. The most important part is that you use real maple syrup. Also, bourbon is important because it’s bourbon.
We love candy almost as much as we love bourbon, so when we saw this recipe at Mercury News to make candy with our favorite spirit, we knew it was only a matter of time before we made some. The timing is perfect, as a bundle of these makes a wonderful small holiday gift.
Black Pepper and Bourbon Caramel Chews:
(makes about 50 pieces)
2 cups sugar
2 cups heavy cream
6 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. bourbon
¼ tsp. sea salt
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tsp. black pepper
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and coat with cooking spray.
In a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, combine sugar, cream, honey, bourbon, and salt. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pot. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, until it reaches 245 degrees. Quickly stir in butter and pepper.
Pour mixture into baking pan. Let cool completely until it is set to a semi-firm consistency, about an hour. Cut into 50 rectangular pieces and wrap in parchment paper, cellophane, or other candy wrappers, twisting ends to seal.
These caramels are a wonderful combination of sweet and spicy. The pepper, honey, and bourbon all play off each other very well. Our batch actually made about 75 caramels. Grab a handful, toss them in a gift bag or bundle them in some wrapping paper, and they make a small gift for any occasion.
By now you’ve seen our Christmas Gift Guide, which included Wondermade Bourbon Marshmallows, and perhaps you’ve wondered what exactly you’re going to do with bourbon marshmallows. (Of course, you can put them in hot chocolate, make bourbon marshmallow rice krispies treats or amazing s’mores, or just eat the fluffy bourbon sugarpillows.) Here’s another option for how you can use your marshmallows. We found this recipe on Group Recipes and cut it in half.
Banana (Bourbon) Marshmallow Cake:
1¼ cups sugar
1 stick of butter
2 egg whites
1½ cups flour
3 Tbsp. buttermilk
1 cup mashed or pureed bananas (I used 3 small bananas)
Preheat oven to 350° and grease an 8x8 baking pan. Mix all ingredients except marshmallows together in order. Line the baking pan with marshmallows (since the bourbon marshmallows are large, slice them into ¼-inch strips). Pour the batter over the marshmallows, press gently down to make sure the batter settles around the marshmallows, and smooth the top. Bake for one hour.
This is a surprisingly fluffy and smooth cake. The marshmallows create both a little bit of a crust and a frosting. When the sugar melts, some of the marshmallows stay on the bottom and others rise up to the top of the cake and float there. Since the marshmallows don’t have the strongest bourbon flavor, there isn’t much whiskey flavor here. You could probably add a little bit of bourbon into the cake batter if you want, or you could just pour a glass of bourbon to accompany your cake.
When it comes to baking, I am capable of executing the most basic of tasks. Rachel handles all of the next-level baking in our house. There’s just a chemistry in baking that I don’t quite understand, but I can follow simple directions. I’m like Jesse Pinkman, while Rachel is the Walter White of delicious baked goods. The good news is these cookie bars are super easy to make and are also yummy.
Maple Hazelnut Bourbon Cookie Bars
6 Tbsp. butter softened
½ cup packed brown sugar, divided
2 eggs, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup hazelnuts, chopped
¼ cup maple syrup*
¼ cup bourbon
¼ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 375°F and butter a baking dish with a butter wrapper.
In one bowl, combine butter and one quarter cup brown sugar. Separate one egg, then add the egg white into the butter mixture, saving the yolk. Stir in the flour until a dough forms. Press dough onto bottom of the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.
While dough is baking, chop the hazelnuts. In another bowl, whisk the yolk, egg, remaining brown sugar, syrup, bourbon, and salt. Stir in the chopped nuts, then pour over the pie crust, spreading evenly. Bake for another 15 minutes or until filling sets and the crust is golden brown.
The original recipe from BarbryAllen calls for a half cup of maple syrup, but we substituted that for half bourbon and half maple syrup. We also used BLiS Bourbon Barrel Maple Syrup, which helped the bourbon hold up against the sugar and nuts. We substituted hazelnuts for pecans.
These bars are simple, quick, and delicious. The only change we would make if we make these again is that we would remove the skins and roast the hazelnuts before mixing them into the topping. That’s Rachel’s idea, because she’s Heisenberg.
We’re back and we’re safe! Fortunately, Boston avoided the worst parts of Hurricane Sandy. To fight off cabin fever while we holed up indoors, we decided to make a seasonally appropriate ice cream from The Kitchen Sink.
Pumpkin Ice Cream with Bourbon
Adapted from The Craft of Baking
Yield: About 1 quart
- 5 large egg yolks
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out, bean/seeds reserved
- 1 teaspoon freshly-grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup bourbon
In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow.
In a large saucepan, whisk together the milk, cream, brown sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, ginger, ground cinnamon, and cinnamon stick. Bring the mixture to a full boil, and then, as soon as it begins to rise up the sides of the pan, remove the pan from the heat.
Pour about 1 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture in a slow and steady stream and whisk to combine. Return the egg yolk mixture to the remaining milk mixture. Whisk in the nutmeg and salt. Cook over low heat, constantly whisking, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Pour the thickened mixture through a mesh strainer into a bowl, discarding the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and bourbon. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
Churn the custard in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s directions.
Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, and freeze until firm (about 2 hours).
Unfortunately, we had to substitute vanilla extract for vanilla beans. Once we realized our vanilla beans were gone, we ran around to a bunch of local grocery stores, but apparently everyone who stocked up on hurricane emergency supplies also hoarded all of the vanilla beans.
The texture of the ice cream pictured is much more solid than it should be. We had turned our freezer to the absolute coldest setting just in case we lost power, which froze our ice cream rock solid. The taste, however, was delicious. It basically tastes like an ice cream version of pumpkin pie with a bourbon kick. This ice cream would be delicious served with a few dark chocolate flakes and perhaps some chopped roasted nuts.
We will probably never tire of putting apples and bourbon together, both in desserts and cocktails. Now that it’s apple season in New England, we’ll probably be putting apple things in our bourbon things for the next month or so. Normally, I leave the pie making to Rachel, because she’s an expert at baking, but these bourbon apple fried pies from Ezra Pound Cake are fairly simple to make. There are a number of steps along the way, but nothing too complicated.
First, start by making the dough:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour (I used regular flour and ran it through a sifter)
½ cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp. sea salt
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1 egg yolk
Place the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine.
Add the butter, and pulse until the pieces of butter are the size of small peas.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and yolk.
Pour the eggs over the flour mixture, and pulse until the mixture forms large clumps.
If the dough is too wet and gooey, add a little bit more flour. We ended up adding almost a quarter cup more flour to the dough at this stage.
Scoop the dough out of the processor onto a floured surface. Knead a few times, just until the dough is smooth.
Form the dough into a disk, and wrap it in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
While the dough is refrigerating, make the apple filling mixture.
Bourbon Apple Pie Filling
1 Tbsp. butter
½ cup packed light brown sugar
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
½ cup bourbon
6 tart apples, peeled and diced into one-inch chunks
1 recipe pastry dough
To Prep the Bourbon-Apple Mixture: In a skillet over medium heat, combine the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla. Boil for about five minutes, until very thick and caramelized.
Remove from the heat, and carefully stir in the bourbon. Place the pan back over medium heat, and cook, stirring, for another five minutes. (If the apple mixture got gravelly when you added the bourbon, keep stirring it over the heat with a wooden spoon until it loosens and combines.)
Add the apples, and stir gently to coat the apples with the liquid. Cook for six minutes more. Remove from the heat, and let cool to room temperature. (Refrigerate after cooling if not using within an hour or two.)
To Assemble the Pies: Beat the egg and a half cup cold water together. Set aside. Using a fine mesh sieve, strain the apple mixture, dividing the liquid and solids into two separate bowls.
On a floured surface, roll out half the dough to a thickness of 1/8 inch. With a 4-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and transfer them to a clean surface. (Gather the scraps and roll them out for more circles.)
Brush the circles with the egg wash.
Spoon two apple chunks and a little sauce onto the bottom half of the circles.
Fold the top of each circle down to cover the filling, making half-moon shapes. Seal the edges with your fingers, and then press down on the edges with a fork.
Transfer the pies to a rimmed baking sheet lined with Silpat, parchment, or wax paper. Place the sheet in the freezer for four to five hours, until the pies are frozen. (Once frozen, you can cook the pies or store them frozen in a resealable plastic bag for up to a month.)
To Fry the Pies: Fill a cast-iron skillet about halfway with oil, and place it over medium heat (or until a deep-fry thermometer measures 350° F).
Take the pies out of the freezer, and fry a few at a time, turning them once, for about five minutes or until golden brown. (Return the remaining frozen pies to the freezer during frying.)
Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on a rack or paper towels. Repeat until all pies are cooked. Serve them warm with scoops of ice cream on the side, or just sprinkle them with cinnamon-sugar or confectioners’ sugar while they’re cooling.
These are delicious little pockets of pie. The only problem with them is that because they are small and delicious, it’s very easy to completely lose self control and eat up a bunch at a time.