Hidden Baby and some more s’mores
Food tastes better when you share. True story.
I was lucky enough to share my Sunday morning with Courtney and Kelsey over at HiddenBaby.com downing a couple drunk s’mores (breakfast of champions, I know, but it’s okay, my lunch included birthday tequila shots with my college housemates).
I met Kelsey at my first 100+ person catering gig at a gallery – she was showing some of her amazing artwork and I was probably looking like I was going to throw up on my shoes from anxiety but somehow she still wanted to talk to me about working on making delicious things together.
And yeah, we were sitting around a coffee table and not a campfire, but these definitely tasted sweeter with a few good stories poured on top.
If food is love, (and I believe it is), and if cookies are made with butter plus love, (exhibit A), then this recipe of heavy cream bourbon soaked butterscotch buttery goodness is like that smokin’ hot bearded guy saying “hey baby, let’s head down to the Rockaways on my motorcycle and get tacos”.
Stop judging me. I live in Brooklyn.
I made this recipe for the Art=Mixx event this evening, because if I wanted to meet a a metaphorical date at an art auction, this dessert would be it: a square of plaid shirt wearing, free wheeling, entrepreneurial, un-ironic trucker hat wearing*, urban woodsman. With candied bacon garnish.
*can also be a beanie or jaunty cap
Bourbon Butterscotch Bread Pudding with Candied Bacon Garnish
For the butterscotch sauce
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 light corn syrup
- 1/2 teas salt
- 3 Tbs unsalted butter
- 1 Tbs bourbon
- 1 teas vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
For the Bread Pudding
- 1 lb bread, rustic white or challah, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teas ground nutmeg
- 2 teas vanilla extract
- 3 Tbs bourbon
- 4 cups heavy cream
- Candied Bacon (optional)
In a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, salt and butter. Whisk until mixture comes to a boil. Boil until mixture is syrupy or about 3-4 minutes. Remove fro heat. Slowly whisk in cream. Add bourbon and vanilla and mix until smooth. Can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Rewarm before serving.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″x13″ glass baking dish. Set aside. Melt butter and toss with bread cubes and place bread in an even layer in baking dish. In a medium bowl beat together eggs and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add spices, vanilla and bourbon. Beat in cream. Pour cream mixture over bread crumbs. Drizzle in half of the butterscotch sauce. Cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to overnight. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from over and let cool. Serve with a drizzle of remaining butterscotch sauce. Garnish with candied bacon. Delightful hot or cold.
I’m making candied bacon. Why? Because I can. And because I can’t think of anything better to use as a swizzle stick in a bourbonbacontini.
And because this is a prime example of the fact that there are no bad decisions. Just decisions, and we roll with the results of our choices, like how I might feel if I really make and drink a bourbonbacontini. Otherwise we get paralyzed by the good vs bad and do nothing until we lash out and eat all the bacon. Raw. Which is decision with terrible results.
- 1 pack of bacon (real bacon, non of this turkey nonsense)
- brown sugar (approx 1/2 cup)
- 1 teas cinnamon (optional, but encouraged)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. (Do a really good job with this. You do not want to ruin your cookie sheets with charred bacon goo.) In a small bowl, mix cinnamon if using and brown sugar. Coat bacon strips and lay out on cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until carmalized and crispy. Remove from foil. Eat.
Once, in another lifetime, I spent one night lying on the floor with 31 other similarly minded people. It was one of those times when crying, hugging, and declarations of never ending love are normal modes of expression. The rest of the world doesn’t function like that: unbridled expression of comaraderie, brotherhood, family. Only small children lie in a puddle of bodies, taking comfort in the closeness of the many, just breathing next to them. It was the end of three months of theater school, and the intensity of the experience left us all, I think, trying to cling to the magic just a little bit longer. One set of arms is not long enough to hug 31 other people. Instead, we lay on a floor in a haphazard pile. I have a photograph of this, taken from a balcony above, and looking at it recently, I am shocked at the stories it tells in a multicolor blur of scarves and leg warmers and collegiate hoodies and ancient sweatpants, through a filter of fuzz from 35mm color fast film taken flashless in low lighting. Somehow, it does not smack of poor photography, only of joy, and love, and family.
At the time, we were eating bourbon balls, brought straight from Kentucky by someone’s parent. My friend turned 30 this weekend. I promised to bring cupcakes to the bar we were to surprise him at. I had one of those weeks where I just wanted to stretch my arms around my New York family and take comfort in their nearness. But, my arms aren’t long enough. And only theater nerds think it is normal to lie on the floor in a puddle of people. So I made some bourbon ball cupcakes, my typical food-as-feelings way of saying you are my joy, you are my love, and you are my family.
Bourbon Ball Cupcakes
Makes 1 dozen
For the cupcakes:
- 1 1/4 cups plus 2 Tbs all-purpose flour, sifted
- 1 1/2 teas baking powder
- 1/8 teas salt
- 1/2 teas ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teas ground nutmeg
- 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 cup pecans, chopped medium-fine
For the filling:
- 2 oz semi sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 oz bourbon
- 1 teas vanilla extract
For the frosting:
- 12 Tbs (1 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 6 cups confections sugar
- 2 Tbs vanilla extract
- 1/4 c bourbon
- 1 Tbs heavy cream
- chocolate sprinkles (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12 cup standard size cupcake tin with paper liners.
In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium high until fluffy about 3 minutes. Add sugar and mix for about 5 minutes more. Mix in eggs and vanilla. With the mixer on low, alternate add flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in pecans. Divide batter evenly among the cupcake tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool completely before coring out centers or frosting.
Meanwhile, heat the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat and add chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Refrigerate for about 20-30 minutes until mixture is cool and slightly firm. Beat with an electric hand mixer until fluffy and color lightens.
In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric hand mixer until fluffy. Beat in 1 cup confectioners sugar. Add vanilla and bourbon. Mix. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time. When combined, beat in cream. If the frosting seems a little soft, add more sugar as desired.
When cupcakes are cool, core them using a cupcake corer (an apple corer works okay too). Using a frosting bag with a plain tip fill centers with chocolate filling. Frost with butter cream. Decorate with chocolate sprinkles (optional).
Its been a long week. (I know, it’s Monday.) I’m tired. I have a grumpy. So even though it is still only October, its officially holiday baking time! Okay, technically, nothing holiday-y about it, but I tend to associate figs with winter and snow and holidays and Christmas Club. My momma was telling me about figs stuffed with chocolate she saw at a farmer’s market, but they were too expensive to pique her curiosity enough to actually buy one, but her description got me thinking and I made a batch of chocolate stuffed figs last Christmas, but I gave them all away before I ever tried one. Sadness!
This time I made them and ate them all myself. Truths.
Also, if you coat them in orange colored chocolate, they look like pumpkins! So its the right holiday after all.
Chocolate Stuffed Bourbon Figs
Makes 1 dozen
- 1 cup bourbon (cheap stuff will do)
- 12 dried turkish/brown/calamyrna figs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz ark chocolate
- 4 oz white chocolate
Soak figs in 1 cup bourbon, for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
Remove figs from bourbon and place on a paper towel to dry. Reserve bourbon.
Heat one cup heavy cream until just boiling and pour over 4 oz dark chocolate. Stir until chocolate melts and is smooth. Add 2 oz reserve bourbon. Drink remainder. (Or save covered in the fridge for your next bourbon related endeavor.)
Let chocolate cool to room temperature. Beat with hand mixer for a few minutes until chocolate lightens in color. If ganache is still liquidy, chill in refrigerator for a few minutes until it hardens just a little more. Plump figs with fingers and fill with chocolate mixture. I use a long, narrow frosting tip to inject it into the bottom of the fig. Chill.
Meanwhile, melt white chocolate over a double boiler. Coat figs in white chocolate and place on a piece of wax paper to dry or in mini cupcake or candy papers.
Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.
The MTA got shut down at noon yesterday and the only thing open in my neighborhood seemed to be bars, and while I’m not one to hate on a good day drink, it just didn’t seem quite appropriate. Plus I had just watched Final Destination and had visions of windows shattering with well aimed glass shards and wanted to remain on alert. So what’s a girl to do? Clearly, the answer is can things.
Last reserves of peach picking and some Old Crow (keepin’ it classy) meant a rainy Saturday of golden bourbony goodness. And the moral of the story is, as you can see from the pictures, you can cram a whole lot more fruit into each jar.
makes 6 pints or 3 quarts
- 40-50 peaches depending on size
- For the Syrup:
- 2 cups bourbon (can be the cheap stuff)
- 2 cups water
- 4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground clove
Whisk together all ingredients in a pot. Brng to a boil and reduce heat. let simmer until mixture reduces by 1/4 to 1/3.
Meanwhile, wash jars with hot water and soap, (I used quart jars, but you can use pints as well), and lids, making sure to use new rings and lids. Boil lids and jars to sterilize for 10 minutes, carefully removing from the hot water and placing on a clean dish towel.
Halve peaches, removing pits and skin. Pack into jars.
Pour in syrup, filling jars to base of neck (about 1/2 inch from the top). Finger tighten lids. Place a clean dish towel of silicon mat in the bottom of a large pot. Place jars upright in pot and fill with water until jars are abpout 2/3rd submerged. Cover and bring to a boil, let boil for 45 minutes. Carefully remove jars, syrup should be boiling inside jars. Using potholders, tighten lids all the way. Let cool. Enjoy.
Since jars are sterilized and processed, you should be able to store these for 6 months unrefrigerated, but I’m paranoid, had a fridge like a frat boy, and cabinet space is at a premium, so I always keep mine in the fridge.
Boozy baking is everywhere!
My momma had a birthday on Saturday and there was an absurd amount of baking to commemorate her awesomeness. The recipes that did not come from my very talented mother came from marthastewart.com. This is a delicious ginger pecan cake with bourbon whipped cream. Boozy!