We have been enjoying a string of warm days, inspiring us to take our bourbon experiments to the freezer for some popsicles. We used a recipe from finecooking.com.
Chocolate Bourbon Pops
½ cup Granulated Sugar
3½ oz. Dark chocolate (70-72%), chopped
2 Tbsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
⅛ tsp. Salt
2 Tbsp. Bourbon
Combine all but the last ingredient in a saucepan and add two cups water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Transfer to a pitcher or measuring cup with a spout to cool for half an hour. Stir in the bourbon. Divide the mixture among the popsicle molds and freeze for at least three hours.
These pops are intensely chocolatey with a hint of bourbon to add some fun. It’s almost like eating a frozen brownie, which, if you ask us, is a high mark to achieve.
We used an ice pop mold from IKEA. It was inexpensive and it works really well.
You know you have to try a recipe that caused someone to use up all her spoons tasting it. The procedure here is more complicated than a standard ice cream recipe, but it’s worth it. We’re copying the recipe verbatim below because the directions are spot on.
Burnt Caramel Bourbon Ice Cream with Toffee
1½ cups whole milk
1½ Tbsp. cornstarch
½ cup of your favorite bourbon
1¼ cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
4 Tbsp. mascarpone cheese, softened
¼ tsp. salt
⅔ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup milk chocolate toffee pieces (like Heath chips or chopped Heath bar)
Measure out the milk. Take 2 tablespoons of the milk and combine it with the cornstarch to create a slurry, whisking constantly. Set aside. Add the bourbon to the milk.
Measure out the heavy cream and add the corn syrup to it. Add the mascarpone to a large bowl and whisk in the salt. Set aside.
To make the burnt caramel, I used Jeni’s dry burning technique. You have to keep an eye on the caramel the ENTIRE time! Heat a large (Jeni calls for 4-qt.) saucepan over medium heat and add sugar; make sure it is in one layer cover the whole bottom of the pot. Literally watch the sugar until it begins to melt and the outsides turn caramely and melty. Once there is just a small amount of white sugar remaining in the center, use a heat proof spatula and scrape the melted sugar from the sides into the center. Continue to do so until all of the sugar is melted, and stir well. Watch sugar as it begins to bubble and once the edges are bubbly and releasing smoke and the sugar turns a dark amber color, remove from heat. The only way to truly judge it right before it BURN burns is to carefully stand over top and smell/watch. The minute you remove it from the heat, add a few tablespoons of the cream/corn syrup mixture (be careful—it will spit!) and whisk constantly to combine. Slowly add the remaining cream very slowly, whisking constantly.
Place the saucepan back over medium heat and add the milk/bourbon mix. Bring the mixture to a rolling boil (for me, this is over medium heat, and it takes a few minutes to achieve. Do NOT remove your eyes from the milk as it can easily bubble up and over, so have a spatula on hand and turn the heat down if necessary, increasing again slowly) and once boiling, boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry, whisking to combine. Place back over heat and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring with a spatula until slightly thickened. Gently pour mixture into the large bowl with the mascarpone and whisk to combine.
Fill a large bowl with ice and ice water, placing an open gallon-sized ziplock bag in the water, bottom down. Pour the mixture carefully into the bag, then press the air out and seal. Chill for 30-45 minutes. Once chilled, set up your ice cream maker according to its directions and pour the ice cream in. Churn according to directions. For my Kitchenaid, I churned for 20 minutes. Five minutes before finishing, add in toffee pieces. Once churned, spread in a freezer-safe container and place a piece of plastic wrap on top, pressing against the ice cream. Freeze for 4-6 hours before serving. Note: this ice cream is soft!
We didn’t use up all our spoons tasting it, but we did have a scoop for lunch. This ice cream is that good. The texture achieved by the heat, cornstarch, and cheese is so smooth and decadent. The Heath bar pieces add a lovely textural contrast. Most important, the bourbon really shines and is complemented by the caramel.
We made a few substitutions and the ice cream turned out fine. First, we used 2% instead of whole milk. Second, we used agave nectar instead of corn syrup. (This is the most questionable substitution because the corn syrup is intended to bind the water molecules so the ice cream freezes better, and agave nectar doesn’t have the same glucose level. We only made this substitution because we had already had a long day filled with work and a pet medical emergency and we weren’t about to make another errand for ourselves by running out to buy corn syrup.) The third change was using a metal mixing bowl instead of a Ziploc bag to hold the ice cream mixture in the ice bath.
Last week we received an exciting invitation from Alma Chocolate in Portland to taste their boozy bon bons. Obviously, we wasted no time heading over to their shop, where we learned all about Alma’s history and its decadent products. Not only do they sell chocolate but also hot chocolate, ice cream, caramel sauce, and toffee. Plus, they host a regular dinner series featuring local chefs. This is our kind of place, but we were there specifically for the bon bons, and we got right down to business by sampling the bourbon bon bon made with Maker’s Mark. This is a bitter, complex dark chocolate shell covering a soft, smooth center flavored generously with bourbon. It is a home run and the perfect lead-in to Alma’s cocktail-inspired bon bons.
In what they call “the best game of ping pong ever,” Alma’s founder, Sarah Hart, worked with mixologist Kyle Linden Webster (opening bartender at St. Jack, and now behind the newly opened Expatriate with wife Naomi Pomeroy of Beast) to trade chocolate tasting notes and cocktail recipes back and forth until they developed a line of bon bons that actually taste like some of our favorite drinks.
In our carefully wrapped to-go packages, we found bon bons containing prunes soaked in Madeira and House Spirits rum, filled with lime anise ganache, and dipped in dark chocolate. This candy was really intense. As one might expect, the prunes soak up the alcohol like sponges, but it was nicely balanced by the citrus spiciness of the ganache. Our favorite bon bon was the Pegu Club, which is a dry gin ganache with a honey-lime caramel, dipped in dark chocolate, and finished with Angostura-soaked coconut. The flavors in this bon bon are so layered and complex. Each nibble brought a new experience, and we can’t wait for our next trip to Alma Chocolate.
Even though this post was sponsored by Alma Chocolate, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free products don’t automatically taste better.
We recently received a package from Thomas Henry, a culinary company based in Germany that makes sodas, tonics, and assorted gelées. One of the most intriguing items in this package was a jar of Horse’s Neck gelée. Since we don’t speak or read German, we couldn’t find very much information about this product (though their website provides an English version for their other products). What we do know is that Horse’s Neck is cocktail of bourbon and ginger ale, and that the Thomas Henry gelée is made with Maker’s Mark. That’s pretty much the only words we could read in the product information. Unsure of what to do with this product, we opened it up to sample it. Sure enough, it tastes remarkably like a perfectly mixed bourbon and ginger ale cocktail.
Pleased with the flavor, we did what any self-respecting bourbon lover would do: we put it on waffles. In case you weren’t aware, waffles that taste like bourbon are even more delicious than normal waffles. We highly recommend trying this gelée if you can get your hands on some. (It seems that all their products can be ordered via the worldwide interwebs.) Thomas Henry also makes gin & tonic and earl grey & vodka gelées, in case you want a whole spectrum of breakfast cocktail concoctions.
OK, now for a silly question: is gelée any different from jelly? We noticed at least one of the gelées is slightly more liquid than we’re used to seeing with jellies. Other than that, we didn’t see a difference. Is a gelée used differently from a jelly? Please advise!
Also, feel free to throw out any more ideas for how we might use this Horse’s Neck gelée.
Even though this weekend’s breakfast was on Thomas Henry’s dime, we will always review products honestly. Contrary to popular belief, free stuff doesn’t automatically taste better.
We burned out on cupcakes for a while, but when we received an email from a reader with this recipe, we were instantly back on the cupcake wagon. This recipe is originally from Modern Domestic, but we haven’t been able to find the source directly. If anyone has the source, please share it in the comments.
Bourbon Street Cupcakes
½ cup Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
1 large egg + 2 Large egg yolks
1½ tsp. Vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. Bourbon
1½ cups Cake flour, sifted
1 cup Sugar
1½ tsp. Baking powder
½ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Nutmeg
¼ tsp. Cinnamon
1 stick Unsalted butter, softened
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, egg, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and bourbon until blended. Set aside.
3. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon until blended. Add the butter and half of the sour cream mixture and beat on low until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise speed to medium and beat for one and a half minutes. Add the rest of the sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
4. Scoop batter into the cups with an ice cream scoop, filling two-thirds of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating halfway through, until cupcakes are light golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from pan and placing on a rack to cool completely. Frost with salted bourbon caramel buttercream. Sprinkle espresso sugar on top if desired.
These cupcakes are glorious. They are light and fluffy with little pockets of air throughout the cake so they’re springy. We used plain nonfat Greek yogurt in place of sour cream; it adds moisture and a very slight tang. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla enhance the bourbon flavor without adding any booziness, while the salted bourbon caramel buttercream adds decadence. We recommend having a light hand with the frosting, as it can get overwhelming if there is too much.
We cut the recipe shown above in half (so it made six instead of 12), so that’s why the ingredients in the top photo don’t match the recipe quantities.
We are very excited and grateful to be nominated once again for Best Cocktail Blog in Saveur's 2013 Best Food Blog Awards. Voting is open from now until Friday, April 19. Of course we’d greatly appreciate your vote for us, but we also recommend checking out all the blogs. There are so many wonderful websites to read in all 12 categories. Finally, thank you for reading our words.
Sometimes you receive dinner invitations accompanied by a suggested bourbon-related item you can contribute to the festivities. These are the times when you remember how awesome your friends are. We recently brought this pudding over to a casual dinner party and everyone loved it.
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ¾ cup (packed) light brown sugar
- 2½ cups heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp. bourbon
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- Crème fraîche and crushed gingersnap cookies (for serving; optional)
- Eight 6-ounce ramekins or bowls
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until butter begins to brown and smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until sugar is starting to dissolve, about 2 minutes. Add cream, milk, bourbon, and salt; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Gradually add hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Wipe out saucepan. Strain custard through a fine-mesh sieve back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until custard bubbles occasionally and starts to thicken, 5-6 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat and transfer mixture to a blender. Blend briefly on low speed until smooth. Place ramekins or bowls on a rimmed baking sheet. Divide custard evenly among ramekins and chill until set, at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD: Puddings can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.
Top each pudding with crème fraîche and crushed gingersnaps, if desired.
I followed this recipe almost exactly, and it turned out great. I substituted arrowroot for corn starch because I didn’t have enough corn starch on hand. The substitution didn’t seem to make any difference to the flavor or consistency. I also doubled the amount of bourbon for obvious reasons. (This change is already incorporated into the recipe above.)
One of our friends commented that this tastes like a Werther’s Original, and we agreed. The crème fraîche adds a hint of sourness and thicker creaminess to the pudding. The gingersnaps spice it up while also adding a bit of crunchy texture.
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 are not New England natives, and we don’t love everything about living in the area (e.g. snow storms in March), but one regional treat we can really get behind is the whoopie pie. Whoopie pies are made by sandwiching frosting in between two soft (usually chocolate) cookies. Our personal opinion is that this is a dessert crying out for some bourbon, so we adapted a recipe from the gorgeous blog Bakers Royale.
Bourbon Whoopie Pies with Salted Bourbon Caramel Buttercream
12 oz. chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. butter
⅔ cup sugar
1 tsp. bourbon
¼ cup all-purpose flour, sifted
½ tsp. baking powder, sifted
Salted Bourbon Caramel Buttercream Filling
1 cup butter
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
¼ cup salted bourbon caramel
To make cookies:
Place 7 ounces of the chocolate and the butter in a saucepan over low heat and gently stir until melted and smooth. Set aside.
Place the eggs, sugar, and bourbon in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat for 15 minutes or until pale and creamy. Add in flour, baking powder, melted chocolate mixture, remaining 5 ounces of chocolate and mix to combine. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Spoon one tablespoonful of the mixture onto parchment-lined bake sheet. Bake for about 8–10 minutes or until puffed and cracked. Allow to cool completely on trays.
To make salted bourbon caramel buttercream filling:
Place butter in a bowl and beat until creamed. Add in confectioner’s sugar beat until combined. Add in caramel and beat until combined.
Spread a teaspoon and a half of caramel buttercream on underside of one brownie cookie and place a second brownie cookie bottom side down on top of the frosting.
These cookies are decadent and amazing. The bourbon adds a touch of spice to the flavor profile that is otherwise mostly sugar and butter (not that this is a bad thing). We would have made our own caramel, but we happened to have some salted bourbon caramel leftover from our bourbon Knoshbox, which proved to be the perfect addition to the buttercream. It seemed appropriate to use Nor’Easter bourbon for this New England-themed dessert.
One important lesson learned from this experiment is never to bake these nearly flourless cookies on a Silpat mat. They will stick horribly to the Silpat, but slide easily off of parchment paper. Silpat: bad. Parchment: good. It is also important to chill the dough prior to baking because these cookies spread a lot.
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.