I love peaches, and if you’ve been anywhere near a farmers’ market lately you know how bounteous they are right now. Since we had some friends over for dinner recently, I had the perfect opportunity to try making a bourbon peach dessert.
Bourbon Peach Cobbler
Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe
5-6 peaches, peeled and sliced
¼ cup bourbon
¾ cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling
1½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 sticks cold unsalted butter
¾ cup heavy cream
1 egg white
1 pint vanilla ice cream, for serving
Preheat the oven to 375°. Combine the peaches, bourbon, quarter cup sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a large bowl and toss to coat.
Sift the flour, the remaining half cup sugar, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Cut one and a half sticks of the butter into small pieces; add to the flour mixture and cut it in with a pastry blender until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Pour in the cream and mix just until the dough comes together. Don’t overwork; the dough should be slightly sticky but manageable.
Melt the remaining half stick butter in the microwave. Add it to the peach mixture in a medium saucepan and cook gently until heated through, about five minutes. Transfer the mixture to eight four-ounce ramekins. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls over the warm peaches. There can be gaps because the dough will puff up and spread as it bakes. Brush the top with the egg white and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake in the oven on a baking sheet (to catch any drips) until the cobblers are browned and the fruit is bubbling, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
This recipe was uniformly appreciated, even by Patrick, who does not like peaches. Even though the ingredient list is long and the recipe looks complicated, it is actually super easy. The hardest part is peeling the slippery peaches.
Continuing our streak of tasty things made in connection to the Kentucky Derby, we decided to finally make the mint julep ice cream we’ve had in mind for some time. This is a simple recipe that is a slight variation from the original bourbon ice cream we made a while back. We used Woodford Reserve again because we feel it has the smoothest flavor and best texture to make ice cream.
Mint Julep Ice Cream
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 oz. mint leaves
1 cup milk
¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
5 Tbsp. bourbon
In a saucepan, gently bruise mint leaves. Add milk and cream to mint, bring to a simmer, then remove from heat and let cool for half an hour or so. Whisk in remaining ingredients. Chill mixture in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pour mixture into ice cream maker for 30-40 minutes, or until it reaches your desired consistency.
Our ice cream was a little soft because we had some overspill with the bourbon. Lesson learned: measure alcohol precisely when trying to freeze something. We weren’t sure how much the mint would come through, but the result is a strong but not overpowering mint flavor that accompanies the mild bourbon flavor well (not unlike a mint julep). It’s also very likely this ice cream would make a delicious milkshake, which we support wholeheartedly. We support almost anything that provides an excuse to yell, “I DRINK IT UP!”
My friend Erica loves baking as much as I do, and when she recently visited from Seattle we knew we had to go all out on the first night she was here. We made this recipe up on the fly incorporating what we had on hand.
Derby Trifle with Bourbon Caramelized Banana
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp. sugar
⅛ tsp. peppermint extract
1 cup brownie crumb
2 Tbsp. bourbon
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. butter
½ cup chocolate pudding
Heath bar to garnish
Whip the cream together with the sugar and peppermint extract until stiff peaks form. Cut the banana into half-inch slices. Add butter to a sauté pan. When it has stopped foaming add the banana slices with the brown sugar and let it cook for about three minutes on each side before adding the bourbon. After adding the bourbon, let it cook for about two to three minutes more, taking care not to burn the bananas. Chop up three mini Heath bars.
Begin to layer the trifle beginning with the brownie crumble. Then add a thin layer of pudding, followed by a few slices of caramelized banana and then the mint whipped cream. Repeat another series of layers in the same order. Garnish with Heath bar pieces.
Important note: this serves three. When you’re making up a recipe you automatically tailor it for how many people are in the house, and that’s what we did here. Trifles are very forgiving, so it would be easy to modify this to suit any number of servings.
Other notes: I had brownie crumb on hand because one time I was trying to be health-conscious and make vegan gluten-free brownies but I used the wrong flour and they crumbled, so I just piled the whole thing into a Tupperware container and froze it until the magic moment when I could think of an appropriate use for it. Of course, you can just make regular brownies and crumble up any leftovers too. Make sure your brownies have chocolate chips in them though. The contrasting texture is crucial to preventing the trifle from becoming too mushy (this is what the Heath bar’s purpose is too).
You can use any kind of chocolate pudding you want. You can make it from scratch or mix up a box of instant pudding or serendipitously spot a tub of the most decadent Belgian chocolate pudding imaginable when picking up heavy cream at the grocery store. The latter is obviously the option I went for.
You should also be advised that this is extraordinarily rich and we all had trouble finishing our portions. Before that, though, comes that exquisite first bite when you realize you’ve made something worth sharing.
If you’re an Oregonian, there’s a good chance that Oregon Chai has a special place in your heart. It’s kind of an odd product, if you think about it, but if you’re like me you were too young to consider such things when you first tasted/developed a healthy addiction to it. Imagine my delight when I found Oregon Chai at my local Cambridge Trader Joe’s! I knew right away that I needed to find a way to combine it with bourbon—an easy task, actually, since the spice notes pair so well together.
Oregon Chai Bourbon Cocktail
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. honey syrup
3 oz. Oregon Chai
3 oz. milk (soy milk would be good too)
Stir all ingredients together and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Honey syrup is very simple to make. Combine equal parts honey and water over low heat on the stove, then let it cool. This beverage would also be delicious served hot. If you go that route, don’t worry about making honey syrup; just drizzle some honey straight in.
I was at first a little unsure about milk with bourbon. I thought it might be too reminiscent of Baileys Irish Cream, but it was not. The Oregon Chai embraces the bourbon and keeps the dairy from center stage. The hard part now is refraining from making a whole pitcher and reveling in its creamy, spicy-sweet goodness.
The last time we asked for cocktail name suggestions, we got some great responses, so I thought I would ask again this time. What should we call this thing?
Billy Lazzaro is our fun-loving friend who loves fun so much that he makes his living creating games. He lives in Cambridge, MA.
Cynar is an Italian bitter liqueur, think Campari but less sweet, made from a variety of spices and artichokes. Yeah, man. Freaking artichokes. Question: how bad ass is that? Answer: VERY! Open it up and take a deep long sniff and you’ll detect a subtle hint of the old carciofo. You can use Cynar for a variety of applications, but my go-to is the Little Italy.
I tend to like my Manhattans on the bitter side, and the Little Italy is exactly that—a tasty, bitter Manhattan. Traditionally this drink is made with rye, I believe, but bourbon works great as well. If you can’t find Cynar, you can use Campari instead, but it will be less awesome.
2 oz. bourbon
1 oz. Cynar
1 oz. sweet vermouth
Few dashes of angostura bitters
Garnish with a sour cherry or slice of orange if you want to zazz this baby up (optional).
Patrick and I are not vegan, nor do we have to follow a gluten-free diet because of allergies, but that doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate the health benefits of vegan and gluten-free food. I have been baking with such recipes for a couple of years now, and I recently decided to add bourbon to the mix. For those of you following along at home, some—but not all—bourbons are gluten-free. We know for sure that Maker’s Mark does not contain gluten, so that is what we used for this recipe.
This type of baking can seem prohibitive at first because there are a number of ingredients required that one may not normally keep on hand. Once you stock your pantry, however, actually putting a recipe together is quite easy. The first step for this recipe is to roast apples.
3 Tbsp. agave nectar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Juice of half a lemon
Take two organic apples (I used Gala), peeled and diced, and coat them with the lemon juice, agave nectar, and cinnamon. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake at 325° for 35 minutes. Cool for about 20 minutes before using.
Bourbon Apple Cinnamon Bread
1½ cups Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free all-purpose flour
1¼ cups evaporated cane juice
¼ cup arrowroot
2¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. xanthan gum
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil, plus more for the pan and for brushing
⅓ cup organic, unsweetened applesauce
2 Tbsp. bourbon
3 Tbsp. turbinado sugar
1¼ cups hot water
1 cup roasted apples (above)
Preheat the oven to 325°. Lightly grease a loaf pan with oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, one cup of the evaporated cane juice, arrowroot, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum, salt, and one tablespoon of the cinnamon. Add the oil, applesauce, bourbon, and one cup of the hot water to the dry ingredients. Stir until the batter is smooth, then fold in the roasted apples. Transfer one quarter cup of the batter to a small bowl, and add the remaining quarter cup of evaporated cane juice, one tablespoon cinnamon, and one quarter cup hot water. Stir until creamy.
Pour the apple batter into the prepared loaf pan. Carefully drizzle the batter from the small bowl down the center of the loaf. Use a teaspoon to swirl the topping into the loaf, moving the spoon up and down. Sprinkle the top with turbinado sugar. Bake on the center rack for 25 minutes, remove from the oven, and brush the top with a generous amount of oil. Return to the oven and bake for another 20-25 minutes, until crunchy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let the bread stand in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the bread onto a board. Turn it right side up and cut and serve while warm. Cover the cooled uncut loaf with plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to three days.
This bread is extremely satisfying on a snowy winter day. It is even better suited to breakfast. Simply toast, spread with bourbon butter (which can be made with Earth Balance to keep it vegan), and then enjoy the best day ever.
*This recipe was adapted from Erin McKenna’s first Babycakes cookbook.
The holidays present many opportunities to incorporate bourbon into food, like, for instance, making bourbon cream cheese frosting to top red velvet cupcakes.
Bourbon Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cold cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter, firm but not cold
⅛ tsp. salt
3 ¾ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 Tbsp. bourbon
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cream cheese, butter, and salt on medium-low speed until smooth and creamy, two to three minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the confectioners’ sugar and beat until incorporated. Add the bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark) and beat until just incorporated. Do not overmix. Add milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, if frosting does not have a spreadable consistency.
This recipe made way more frosting than I needed to frost the 17 cupcakes my cupcake recipe made. You can use this frosting for pretty much anything, but we thought it paired particularly well with red velvet, the recipe for which I am not sharing because it doesn’t use whiskey and you can just use your favorite red velvet recipe. Adding bourbon to the frosting helps to cut some of the rich sweetness of the cream cheese and sugar, and it added a bit of spice, which is always welcome in baked goods in the winter.
I had some cupcake decorations that turned out to be rather anatomically suggestive, but they proved a fun conversation topic for our dinner guests.
We are big fans of pulled meats. There are few culinary pleasures more satisfying than tossing some pork, beef, or chicken in a pot, leaving it for a few hours, and returning to find it transformed into a beautiful bunch of shredded deliciousness. Pulled meats can be eaten in any situation, even ramen! So when someone brought this honey-bourbon pulled chicken recipe to our attention, we knew we’d be making it as soon as possible.
Honey-Bourbon Pulled Chicken:
For this recipe, you’ll need either a crock pot or a dutch oven. (Even though we used our dutch oven this time, we can’t over stress the awesomeness of a crock pot. If you don’t have one, buy one now. You just throw stuff in there, leave it for most of the day, and it turns into delicious food while making your whole house smell wonderful. On to the recipe!)
1 cup ketchup
½ onion, minced
⅓ cup bourbon
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, diced
¼ tsp. ground ginger
cayenne pepper and salt to taste
2 lb. chicken breast
Mix all ingredients except chicken in your dutch oven. Once mixed, add chicken breast and submerge into the sauce. Cook at 250° for five hours or until chicken is fully cooked and shreds easily. Stir shredded chicken in sauce and cook for another 30 minutes. Serve on rolls, buns, or bread of your choice.
The result is a delicious and sweet bunch of shredded chicken. It didn’t taste much like bourbon, but it was still very tasty. If you really want the bourbon to stand out, I’d suggest adding more of it. Perhaps we’ll add more bourbon next time we make this. When we do, we’ll be sure to update you. This recipe should also work with pork, too.
Annie Cardi is a writer and dominator of young adult fiction who lives in Boston. She Tumbls at Pale Girl in the City.
Birthdays were awesome in elementary school. Math class was interrupted by trays of Betty Crocker cupcakes. You walked between rows of desks, benevolently passing out cupcakes to your sugar-addict classmates. Everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to you as you basked in the glow of being a year older and wiser.
Considering most companies don’t give employees the day off, grown-up birthdays can be a little less awesome. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have cupcakes. And now that we’re adults, we can add whiskey to our cupcakes.
Take that, 3rd graders!
This is one of my favorite cupcake recipes. Between the rich chocolate and the splash of whiskey, these cupcakes have a great depth of flavor. I like to add a cream cheese frosting so the whiskey isn’t overwhelmed by sweetness. Make these for your next birthday party and talk about how awesome it is to be a grown-up.
Chocolate Whiskey Cupcakes
(cupcakes adapted from Annie’s Eats) (frosting adapted from Pinch My Salt)
Yield: 24 cupcakes
For the cupcakes:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. espresso powder
1 cup boiling water
½ cup sour cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ cups sugar
2 large eggs
For the whiskey simple syrup:
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. whiskey*
For the frosting:
8 oz. cream cheese (1 package), softened
¼ cup unsalted butter (half a stick), softened
½ tsp. vanilla extract
1-1½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
3-4 Tbsp. whiskey*
*This doesn’t need to be the highest quality whiskey, since you’re mixing it with sugar. Use something you wouldn’t mind drinking, but not the whiskey you’re saving for when Ryan Gosling** stops by.
To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line two cupcake pans with paper liners (24 total). Combine the cocoa powder and espresso powder in a small bowl. Add the boiling water and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, whisk in the sour cream and vanilla extract.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Stir together with a fork to combine; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the bowl as needed.
With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients in three additions, alternately with the cocoa-sour cream mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Beat each addition just until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cupcake liners. Bake 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan 5-10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the simple syrup, combine the water and sugar in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the whiskey. Set aside and let cool until ready to use.
With an electric mixer, blend together cream cheese and butter until smooth. Turn mixer to low speed and blend in powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and whiskey. Turn mixer on high and beat until light and fluffy. Use immediately or refrigerate, covered, until ready to use. If refrigerated, the frosting will need to be brought to room temperature before using (after frosting softens up, beat with mixer until smooth).
To assemble the cupcakes, brush the cooled cupcakes with the whiskey syrup. I like to brush each cupcake twice. Pipe the frosting onto the cupcakes using a pastry bag. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
**Because, let’s face it, you want to impress the Gos.
One of my favorite things to do is bake, so when we found a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with bourbon, I jumped on it right away. I made these on the same night as the Mint Juleps for our friend who moved away.
Here’s the recipe as found on allrecipes.com:
Derby Day Chocolate Chip Cookies
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5 Tbsp. Kentucky bourbon
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, and salt with a fork. Set aside.
- Cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the bourbon. Stir in the flour mixture just until blended. Fold in pecans and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake in the preheated oven until the edges are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Cool on the cookie sheet for a minute, then remove to wire racks to cool completely.
To put it lightly, this is a solid recipe. We loved the addition of the bourbon (I used Eagle Rare), and, to my surprise, it was easily detectable. My experience with liquor in baked goods has been that its flavor becomes overwhelmed, but that was not the case with this recipe, which is simple and delicious.