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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Peppermint Kahlua Chocolate Cookies

A cool minty, chocolaty, softy, pepperminty-crunchy cookie just in time for your last-minute holiday baking rush!  

I purchased a big bottle of Peppermint Mocha Kahlua a few years ago and have been able to put is to good use in a few recipes at Bake It with Booze.  We've made cakesandwich cookies, and whoopie pies with this festive and seasonally appropriate Peppermint Mocha Kahlua.  

Kahlua has also found its way into a few other goodies here at Bake It With Booze.  It's an easy way to add coffee to chocolate baked goods, thus bringing out the chocolate flavor without overpowering the recipe with coffee flavor.   

I always have cookies in the freezer in case I have a random sweet "need," or course, or for when I want to send a friend or my dad off with a few treats.  I don't know about you, but I rarely make cookies just for myself, which I did with these lovelies.  I share all the time, but sometimes it's just nice to have a batch all to myself. 

These cookies have just the right amount of chocolate with a nice cool hit of peppermint, are so easy to make and freeze wonderfully.  

And, who doesn't like a little extra peppermint with their chocolate? 

Happy Holidays and all the best to you in the New Year!  

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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Champagne Celebration Cupcakes {with Vanilla Champagne Filling}

Need a pretty and festive cupcake to add to your next celebration?  These cupcakes are sure to please when your peeps like their cupcakes 'just right': not too sweet and just the right amount of champagne flavor to prove you love them!  

And, yes folks, I'm calling them, Champagne, not Sparkling Wine.  Yes, I know.  I'm a champagne snob, too, if the truth be told.  When I'm drinking the stuff, it's méthode champenoise all the way, baby!  Baking, well, I'm not that picky.  

When I first started blogging at BIWB, I made a few attempts at champagne cupcakes.  I've been trying out different recipes in the hopes of finding one that has great textures and great flavor.  This time, I think I've found it!  

I started with some basics that I knew would give me a light cupcake that would not overpower the subtle champagne.  I decided, also, not to splurge on an expensive bubbly or make a champagne reduction for the buttercream.  The former doesn't really add much more flavor, while the latter tends to overpower the buttercream with the given champagne's underlying fruit flavors. 

Rounding out the subtle champagne flavors in the cupcakes is a super-easy filling made with instant pudding and champagne.  Just a little adds so much flavor and really adds a nice finish. 

I took these to work while at a 2 day training.  Folks really loved these and were full of compliments.  I so appreciated that kind of feedback!  Nice to know I'm not baking garbage.  :)

Also, I've entered these cupcakes in this month's SaveMart Ultimate Bake-Off: Bake a Sweet Way to Celebrate!  I hope you have a chance to register and vote for me.  Voting is November 16 - 30th, with one vote/person/day.  I'd so appreciate the support and your vote!    

If I win, that means just that much more Bake It With Booze!

P.S. If you remember, I entered in July with my Campfire Cocktail S'mores Bars.  Believe it or not, I WON!  That was a HUGE shock, trust me, especially after all that voting hub-bub.  I'm very excited to enter this time, as well.  Fingers crossed!

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Spiced Rum Pumpkin Poppers

I made these awhile ago. Actually, I think I made them in September, the very moment the temperature dropped below 90, giving me the courage to fire up my oven. The novelty of the fall season and the brisk 80 degree weather inspired me to bake something with pumpkin, as you do in the fall. I don't really have a good reason for why it's taken me so long to post these, but I feel like my timing is actually impeccable. It seems like a huge chunk of our population needs a reminder: it's still fall! 

It's the first week of November, and we're (still!) in the middle of my favorite season. Even though we're in California, the weather is decidedly crisp, and someone wisely had the foresight to plant lots of Chinese Pistache, Liquid Ambers, and Maple trees so my neighborhood is (still!) awash in brilliant color. The days are getting shorter, but I'm just not in a hurry to rush right into the Christmas season. Holiday decorations are already popping up everywhere, the State Capitol's tree was delivered today, and I'll admit that I got a peppermint mocha, in a cute red cup, from Starbucks today. Technically, red is also a fall color, so I told myself I was celebrating FALL. I love Christmas, but fall is SO very lovely - can't we just enjoy it awhile longer?

Will these convince you?
Spiced rum pumpkin poppers. Sit down & stay awhile.

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Saturday, November 2, 2013

Coconut Custard Pie with Malibu Rum

Need an easy, not-too-sweet but WOW pie for your Thanksgiving desserts table?  This coconut custard pie with Malibu Rum will fit nicely among the standard holiday favorites.  Super easy to make, lots and lots of coconut, light on the custard part, and delicately favored with lemon and coconut-flavored rum.  Fabulous, too, as you can make this pie ahead of time to reduce the inevitable Thanksgiving Day stress.  

I grew up with coconut custard pie.  I think when I was very young, my mom probably made it from scratch.  As we all grew up and time was less available to bake, she likely used the Jell-o brand custard mix with coconut.  And, very likely a frozen pie crust was involved.  

Needless-to-say, I'm not a fan of frozen pie crusts...I might opt for the Jell-o custard mix, in a pinch.  However, with as much baking as I do, making a pie crust from scratch is a whole lot easier and a whole lot less expensive.  Plus, the more I practice the better my crusts have become.  This filling requires no cooking on the stove, so what's not to like?! 

If you like coconut, you'll LOVE this pie!  And, as you may have experienced in your own life as well, people are either Coconut Lovers or Coconut Haters.  

I feel a kindred spirit with the former and a great deal of sadness for the latter.   

I 'get it'...It's a texture thing, right?

This pie is chocked full of coconut and not drowning in custard.  The Malibu Rum is subtle and adds a nice depth to the filling.  All-in-all, a great combination!

A fabulous and easy-to-make addition to your festive Thanksgiving desserts table...Or, to any table for that matter:  Coconut Custard Pie with Malibu Rum.

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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Peach Blueberry Pie with Bourbon

Today, I'm sharing my favorite pie, with a boozy new twist!  Sweet peaches laced with plump and juicy blueberries, surrounded by an old-fashioned filling rounded out with Jim Beam Kentucky Bourbon...A traditional summer pie made more modern thanks to Mr. Beam!

I love this pie.  Love with a capital L.  

I have made this pie annually for at least 10 years.  And, in case you haven't figured this out: I have a weakness for pie.  Pie in any way, shape or form.  And, yes, there was ICE CREAM involved this time, too...  

And, yes, that ice cream was served with my favorite kind of pie: Breakfast Pie.  You've met our breakfast pies many, many times.  Why expect anything different? :)

You will LOVE this pie.

Seriously good.  Seriously decadent.  Seriously swoon-worthy.  All, in one easy pie!

Please don't be fooled, my friends.  Yes, this is a summer pie.  IMO, probably best made with fresh fruit.  But, I wouldn't shy away from making this using frozen fruit.  Nothing wrong with a little bit of summer to round out your fall pie experiences.  Go ahead.  It's all good!

I know I won't be shy...*WINK*

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Friday, October 4, 2013

Celebrate Placer GROWN Week with Bake It With Booze (and a GIVEAWAY)!

Happy Friday! And Happy Fall! What a week it's been. This is Jacqueline, by the way. Remember me? It's been a terribly long time since I've posted here. And, I'm not gonna lie to ya - I'm typing this up with my second glass of wine next to me, so things could get interesting. No recipe today (though I made pumpkin doughnut holes for you and I promise to get them up soon!), but I do have some exciting things to share with you. And did I mention, a giveaway??

I'll skip over the adventures in hazardous waste regulation, because who wants to read about that on a Friday night? Not I - that's why I'm on Blogger with you guys and not reading (more) reports on environmental justice and toxics in consumer products. Let me tell you about the highlight of my week: on Tuesday, I took the day off work, kidnapped my dear friend Kristin, and ventured into the beautiful rolling hills of Placer County (which, I am blessed to say, is basically my back yard!). It was an adventure! At one point, I took a wrong turn and ended up popping my tiny little SUV into 4WD and basically off-roading through blackberry brambles and over boulders. Just a little bit.

I got to spend the afternoon at Sinclair Family Farm, which produces naturally raised beef, lamb, chicken, pork, cage free eggs, and even honey. I enjoyed a delicious, homemade, locally-sourced lunch with several other local foodie bloggers, and Placer GROWN (the kind sponsor of our GIVEAWAY) really showed us a good time!

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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Irish Chai Latte Cupcakes {with Tullamore D.E.W.}

OMG, I can't believe it's been 2 solid months since our last post...Where has this time gone?  

Well, to be honest, A LOT has happened to me since that last post.  

The highlights...

  • I entered the California State Fair and won 1st place ribbons for 3 baked goods!
  • I entered a gluten-free baking contest at the Fair sponsored by King Arthur Flour and WON 3rd place!
  • I entered a monthly recipe contest through SaveMart and WON! 
  • I celebrate my mid-century birthday today!
Pretty darn good...

Alas, there were some very low points...

  • I had to put my babygirl, Natasha, to sleep a month ago.  She was a beautiful cat and such a wonderful companion these last 15 years. 
  • I had knee surgery to repair a tear the week after she was gone.  I'm on the mend thanks to the support of my dad and my friends.  
So, life really does have its ups and downs.

And, through it all, I have had wonderful friends who brought me food, carted me around, took me to lunch, and let me cry.  I baked quite a bit, actually...Mostly before surgery.  I just never posted anything.  Sometimes the mind is too full to blog.  I hope you'll all understand.

And, what more happy occasion today than this to share our favorite Irish Whiskey with you, Tullamore D.E.W.!  I've had these chai latte cupcakes on my BIWB bucket list for quite some time.

I found a whiskey chai latte cocktail so knew the flavor combinations would be spot-on.  These did not disappoint!  Super moist and full of chai tea latte flavors.  I have tweaked the frosting a tad as I found the chai latte mix didn't dissolve into the buttercream.  No worries, solution found -- just dissolve it in the liquids.  Easy!

Thanks of all you for stopping by the blog during our hiatus...We SO appreciate your support!

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Sunday, July 28, 2013

Japanese Slipper Cupcakes

This month's Baking with Spirit Challenge over at Cake of the Week is Midori.  Well, um...Let me see.  Midori.  Never tried it and not in the BIWB liquor cabinet.  What to do?

First, immediately go to BevMo, get a bottle and taste it.  Check.

Second, search the Midori web site for cocktail and recipe ideas.  Check.

Third, pick a cocktail that seems fun and feminine.  Japanese Slipper.  Check.  {Please note: Midori has no baking recipes.  That had me a bit scared.}

Fourth, search the internet for baking recipes using the Japanese Slipper as inspiration.  Check.

So, believe it or not, there is only ONE recipe on the web that I could find for a Japanese Slipper Cupcake.  The Lone Baker.  Nice name, killer photo.

Once I had the idea and a good graphic, I set to work creating a solid recipe that I thought would bring out the 3 flavors of this cocktail: Midori, orange (Triple Sec) and lemon.  I knew that baking with Midori might be tough, so I decided to just use it in the frosting.  That left the cupcake to be the showcase for the orange and lemon flavors, with the addition of Triple Sec of course.  

Found my cupcake recipe "base" on Paula Deen's website.  I know...Think what you like.  But, you have to admit, she does have some very good recipes.  I needed something to bring out the citrus flavors and hold up with the Triple Sec.  Check.

Scored on her recipe for an orange creamsicle cupcake that infuses the citrus zest into the sugar.  Great technique and something I will bring to all my citrus baked goods.  

And, I will tell you, this Midori Seven Minute Frosting has changed my life.  

I had no idea this frosting was so easy and so delicious.  We never had this when I was a kid because we didn't have a stand mixer and there was no way my mom was going to stand with a hand mixer for 7 minutes.  Lower in fat, too, than buttercream frosting.  A good thing!

Thank god for my Kitchen Aid mixer, Bella!  And, now I also have no fear of my future with Swiss Meringue Buttercream.  

These are a shocking light green color and I love the pop of orange in the liners and sprinkles on top.  Super moist and so full of citrus flavors.  A very nice cupcake version of the Japanese Slipper Cocktail.  Super festive, too!!

And, please check out all the other Midori-inspired baked creations this month at Cake of the Week.


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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bambi's Apricot Pie with Amaretto

This pie is really a tribute to my grandmother, whom we called Bambi.  Bambi, you say?  Story goes that my oldest brother, Chris, couldn't pronounce "grandma," so somehow 'Bambi' stuck.  It was always cool to have a grandmother with this very unique name.  

Bambi was legend just like this pie has proved to be.  

My uncle used to talk about "Mama's cot pie."  He mentioned once that he thought that Bambi cooked the apricots before placing them in the crust.  I've seen a few old-fashioned pie recipes that call for cooking the apricots in a cornstarch-thickened sugar mixture.  Kinda like the same filling used in lemon meringue pie.  

With that bit of baking 'hint' I knew I could use my strawberry rhubarb pie as a basis for this Apricot Pie with Amaretto.  So easy.

I wasn't sure which type of booze to add to the filling...Initially, I had thought about brandy.  But, apricots and almonds just seem to go so well together.  And, this time it's a hit!  

I think it's fitting, too, that these apricots are from an orchard adjacent to Bambi's property in Esparto, California.  Manas Ranch is located in Esparto, a very small town where my parents were born and raised.  I have many, many fond memories of spending time with Bambi in Esparto.  We'd stop by this orchard, right next to Bambi's almond orchard, pick some cots and drive around Capay Valley eating cots and chucking the pits out the car window.  

Probably the best parts of spending time with Bambi were listening to all the family stories and adventures she had, starting first with her experiences at the speakeasies in Sacramento as well as her teaching me to drive when I was 14.  Pretty cool when you can drive at 14, pass the local sheriff and not get pulled over.

That's what you do in the country.

I know you'll love this fresh and easy pie.  The amaretto really does add a nice depth to the filling.  I also used amaretto in the crust this time with great results.  

I hope you have a chance to make this pie.  For me, enjoying a sweet and silky piece of this memorable pie is truly like coming home.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Campfire Cocktail S'mores Bars

I know, you're thinking...S'mores...Again?!  Ah, but I don't think these are your little sister's S'mores.  These rich and gooey and luscious and oh, so boozy, S'more are definitely Big Girl S'mores. 

Kinda like the difference between flower panties and a black-lacy thong.  Right?

I've been wanting to experiment with a boozy version of a traditional Hershey's S'more for quite some time.  I've seen cupcakes and bars, of course.  There are tons of them out there in foodie blogger land.  Adding booze can be tricky and this bar is a boozy experiment success (or so my taste testers have told me this past week).  

Love when that happens...

And, my friends, I found my inspiration for this recipe from the strangest of places: watching Sandra Lee's show (I know...I was very, very bored one Friday night) about bars and lounges (why SL was picked for this, I have no idea).  On one trip, she visited a very cool bar, Boulevard 3 in Los Angeles, which serves a Campfire Martini

Oh, yeah.  You KNOW I tried that puppy that very evening.  I had everything cuz you already know we have the most amazing liquor cabinets at BIWB.  Easy, too.  Equal parts whiskey (Tullamore D.E.W., of course), Baileys, Kahlua and half-n-half (my version).  Shaken over ice and poured oh-so-smoothly in a chocolate swirled martini glass.  It was served with a marshmallow coated in graham cracker crumbs.  I didn't have those, but that sure didn't stop me.

One of the BEST after dinner dessert drinks on this planet...Trust me!

So, today I bring you my version of the Campfire Cocktail S'mores Bar {with Tullamore D.E.W.}.  Yeah, you know it's good.  You know you want this, not just in the summer, but ALL-YEAR-LONG!  

You don't have to wait for your next barbecue to make these, either.

And, who says you can't have your S'mores in one neat, portable bar?

Soft graham cracker-laced bar surrounding a gooey layer of melted marshmallows 
over deep, dark Hershey's chocolate bars.  


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Whiskey Ginger Mini Cheesecakes {with Tullamore D.E.W.}

Stress.  Good stress and not-so-good stress.  You know the kind.  

I've been kinda over booked of late.  Some of the best kind of overbooked.  Baking, dinner with friends, spring cleaning, gardening, time with Dad, reunions with college friends, and an amazing dinner/evening with new blogger friends.  Good stuff like that...Truthfully, a few "bad things" have also happened.  Really scary things, but all seem to have settled.  So, now there is time to do a bit more baking and blogging for you once again.

And, have you noticed a few things new on our blog?  We had a few tweaks done this month by a very cool blogger and designer, Emily, over at Sweet Bella Roos.  She made us look all pretty and more up-to-date on our social media links.  We've also added a few Favorite Brands, Tullamore and Licor 43.  Both companies have been so generous to us in providing product and encouragement.  We wanted to thank them for their support.  

So, on to this killer cheesecake and other optimal stress relievers: baking and booze.

I developed this recipe looking around the internet to find the right combination of flavors.  I've had a few whiskey ginger mixed drinks lately, most recently at the Pour House.  I love the combination and thought a traditional cheesecake would be nice.  I also found ginger preserves in my cupboard, which I have seen Nigella use from time-to-time, which sounded nice to include.  Love, love, love when I find hidden treasures in my cupboards!

And, something very British Isles was starting to happen...English preserves meets Irish Whiskey.  How bad could it be?

I like my cheesecakes firm but not dry and this one is perfect.  Nice subtle ginger, sweet crust, creamy filling, topped with just-slightly sweet whipped cream and the best damn whiskey caramel sauce on this planet.

Oops, did I go a bit overboard.  Sorry...

I knew I wanted to "save" this recipe to make for a few bloggers friends.  We had decided to gather for a "pot-luck" a few months ago.  Seemed right for an early summer evening.  A blogger potluck...Yeah, you know these ladies can cook!   Fab appetizers and desserts from Tate's Kitchen, A Girl and Her Fork, and Guave Rose.   And, of course Jacqueline was there, and my good friend, Karla.  

Great evening, great food and conversation, and by-far the BEST leftovers in my life.  

I'd forgotten just how much I have missed cheesecake.  It's simpler to make than you think.  Just takes a wee bit of time and patience. 

And, you know the whiskey doesn't hurt either.  

I am sharing this over at Cake of the Week's Baking with Spirit Challenge for this month: Whisky (or Whiskey to an Irishman).  Hop on over for great ideas for baking with spirits, A.K.A., booze!

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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Jalapeno Popper Pastry Pinwheels

Just in case you have some last minute party plans pop up unexpectedly, you'll want to keep this recipe handy. I came up with this at the very last minute possible, when I needed to bring an appetizer to a BBQ. These disappeared FAST. This is a very quick & easy recipe, and the finished product is sure to please. Plus, you get to be the one that shows up at the party with "Jalapeno Popper Pastry Pinwheels". That sounds way more exciting than "I brought the green bean casserole", in my humble opinion.

Jalapeno Popper Pastry Pinwheels...with tequila!

Plus, it has tequila - and I find that always to be a selling point. The tequila adds just enough moisture so that the cream cheese yields and everything mixes together well, but due to the alcohol content, this extra moisture will evaporate pretty quickly in the oven. It will leave behind some tequila flavor, but it won't make your filling so runny that it melts and dribbles out of your beautiful little pastry rolls, and all over your oven. The salt provides all the seasoning you need (simple is good, in this case). If you're concerned about these being too spicey, you could use green chiles instead of jalapenos, or half-and-half.

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Strawberry Daiquiri Cake

Ah, Spring...A time for renewal and new beginnings.  I have always loved Fall, but Spring holds a very close second for me.  I love how my backyard metamorphoses beginning, oh, around the first of February.  My flowers and trees seem to bloom in sync with one another, providing me some new bloom with the each passing month.  This month, it's my red bud tree, tulips and roses.  

Ah, Spring...

Spring also means the beginning of strawberry season in Northern California.  Starting very soon, the local farmer's markets will have the first crops of strawberries.  We're very lucky in the Sacramento area to have a great selection of farmer's markets and local strawberry stands.  Nothing seems to say Spring to me like a great dessert made with strawberries.

And, although this cake uses frozen strawberries for the puree base (you could use fresh, of course), the flavor is spot-on and nicely sweet.  I opted for using the rose frosting pattern for this cake, as I've done for my pistachio and orange almond cakes.  Actually, it's a very easy pattern with great show appeal.  Nicely ties into the roses blooming in my back yard, too.  I love that...

I hope you're enjoying your Spring, wherever that may be...Even in those cooler climates where flowers are just coming up.  

And, just think, you can wear all your white shoes now! *wink* 

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Whiskey Fig Cupcakes

Truly inspired by a fab artisan cocktail creation by Jason Poole at the Pour House in Sacramento.  If you've been reading BIWB for a while, you may remember our first trip to Pour House.  That's when we sampled for the very first time, Tullamore D.E.W. with Tim Herlihy the brand's ambassador.  

We were so impressed with the offerings that we returned a few months later for Girls' Night.  Our second visit included sampling the bar and dinner menus as well as a few more classic cocktail creations.  Jason describes their approach as "quick craft" where top quality ingredients are used to create unique and fully flavored cocktails. 

My first cocktail of choice: the Whiskey Fig.  Duh.  One sip: I was "in".  
Photograph courtesy of Sacramento Magazine.
Next I tried a drink with ginger and whiskey...Sold yet again.  I would have sampled more, but it was a school night.  Wait, no, I had work the next day...That's right...Work.  

I knew that once I had the time I would be creating a BIWB treat to showcase Jason's creation of whiskey and fig preserves.  Lucky for me, I had a good amount of Tullamore on hand as well as some fig preserves from my coworker.  Score!

These cupcakes are moist.  No, really, they are moist.  They have a great spiced fig flavor with warm caramel from the Tullamore.  On top, a nice sweet finish with the honey whiskey fig buttercream.  And, as the true baker that I've become, I marveled at the rise of these lovelies.  Please check out the pics showing how much these babies topped the pan...Truly a thing to behold.

They say that whiskey is enjoyed by more and more women today.  I can attest to that as a fact...I'm not just baking with this stuff.  No ma'am.  I'm also enjoying a cocktail (or two)!  

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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Irish Brownie Bites

Every guy I've ever met who had Irish in his blood loves chocolate.  He loves all chocolate in its many varieties:cookie, cakes, mousse, pie, brownies, blondies, bars...The list is endless.   This Irish version of a simple brownie bite is sure to please every Irish Man in your life.  Trust me...I know these things.  

I used the cocktail recipe, Lucky Irishman, as the inspiration for these little bits of heaven.  It's a cocktail made with Baileys and Irish whiskey (duh...).  So, in true cocktail fashion, these are a 50/50 mix of those two alcohols in both the brownie and the frosting.  A winning Irish combination, as you've seen here with Jacqueline's Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (with stout and chocolate) and my Luck o' the Irish Cupcakes.  

There is one sneaky secret here: I used canned frosting.  Yes, I know...How could I do such a thing?  Well, I had this canned frosting, not knowing what to do with it.  I wanted something easy to make, with booze.  And, I knew I could zuzz it up to taste better...And, I DID!  

Last little addition: half a Lindor dark truffle.  I know...You thought the booze and brownie were enough.  Again, I needed to do something with these truffles.  I don't eat dark chocolate, but love to bake with it. 

So, truffle meets brownie meets canned frosting meets Lucky Irishman.  So gooooood...

St. Patrick would be proud!

I am sharing this recipe over at Cake of the Week as part of this month's Baking with Spirit Challenge: Irish Cream.   Yeah...

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Friday, February 22, 2013

Manhattan Cupcakes {with Tullamore D.E.W.}

Rich and moist, these Tullamore D.E.W. whiskey-infused cupcakes are topped with buttercream that tastes just like a Manhattan cocktail...A great after dinner treat on these cold, late winter nights.  Whether or not you're a lover of the cocktail, I can guarantee you will love these very "grown up" cupcakes!

The Manhattan cocktail was first introduced in (where else?) Manhattan.  Legend has the cocktail created around 1870, so it really is one of the very first cocktails, and a true American tradition.  It was a cocktail that used the whiskey of its time, Rye (Canadian Whiskey), which is a blended whiskey with a large portion of corn spirits.  

The "classic" Manhattan cocktail is a simple 2:1 ratio of whiskey to Italian vermouth, with a few dashes of Angostura bitters.  These cupcakes are based on that classic ratio of whiskey to vermouth.  Bitters were added as well.   Why fiddle with a good thing...Right?  

I used Tullamore D.E.W. in my cupcakes because it has become my whiskey of choice in all thing baked or "cocktailed."   You will find Tullamore D.E.W. smooth and full of flavor -- a great addition to boozy baked things, with a finish of warm caramel.  I'm not much of a straight up kind of cocktail girl, but I'm learning to enjoy a Manhattan every now and then.  An easy cocktail to order, and very grown up, too! 

Give these cupcakes a try...They are an easy slide into the classic Manhattan cocktail.  And, you just might have found a new and uniquely American cocktail to enjoy at your next happy hour!

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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Heart Sandwich Cookies

Happy Valentine's Day!   These little cookies are chocked full of deep chocolate flavor with just the right amount of fresh raspberry filling to melt your heart...And, the hearts of those you love.  


Super easy dough.  Super easy filling.  You can make your own raspberry puree like I did when I made these cupcakes.  Or, you can just use raspberry jam.  You can do this!  

I found this recipe in this month's issue of Martha Stewart Living.  Not a magazine I really enjoy but am receiving because Martha canned my favorite food magazine, Everyday Food.  That was the BEST food magazine ever created...Simple recipes...Recipes that worked every single time.  

Alas...I am so grieving the loss of my Everyday Food mag...Almost bereft, even.

And, yes, chocolate heart sandwich cookies do help...

These cutie little cookies were a big hit at work this week.  And, hey, who doesn't like heart cookies with sprinkles?

Enjoy a few of these with those you love...Or, with those you'd really, really like to love...

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Kahlua Lava Cakes

Valentine's Day is approaching and these mini lava cakes are simple and decadent...Sure to melt your honey's heart and set the right mood for the night!  *Wink*

I've wanted to make lava cakes for a while, something simple and small.  I think decadent and super rich chocolate has its place.  I wanted to create something small, luscious and just the right amount of chocolate to compliment the subtle Kahlua flavor.  Rockin' it next to some vanilla bean ice cream was also a must.  

And, I'll be honest, I'm not a huge chocolate fan...Not even a great dark chocolate fan.  Except with coconut, of course.  I know...what happened to me at birth?  Aren't all girls supposed to be in love with chocolate?  

I also wanted to use heart shaped sprinkles and VDay seems to be the only holiday that I can use heart sprinkles.  I got my sprinkles at Target...And, in true Target fashion these sprinkles were a deal...Let me show you why...

See?! Why on earth would they combine blue teal hearts with red, pink and white hearts I ask you?  Good thing I had some time on my hands (home sick with bronchitis), plus I'm truly anal retentive when it comes to sprinkles.  Yeah, you know me so well by now...  :)

I can guarantee that these little lovelies are super easy, super full-proof and super delish.  I'm not a chocolate fan, right?  Well, these have just the right amount of "chocolaty-ness" for both the chocolate and the less-than-over-the-top chocolate lovers in your life.  

A nice glass of champagne should seal this deal.  *Wink*

I'm sharing this in the coffee liqueur challenge over at Baking With Spirit!  

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream

Frosting for the Cause

January 2013 Update
Frosting for the Cause website has been removed due to funding,
 so I'm posting this on BIWB.
We appreciate all the support since its inception in 2011. 
Keep up the fight! 

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November 2011
I'm baking in honor of my friend and all my friends' mothers who have fought their own personal battles with breast cancer and other forms of cancer.  And, especially, I am dedicating this baking post to one woman who holds a very special place in my heart, Mrs. Evelyn Finch. 

Mrs. Finch came into my life when I was a very young teenager and she is the mother of two very dear friends from my teenage and college years, Carol and Betsy.  I knew almost from the first meeting that Mrs. Finch welcomed me as another daughter, and the years and years of caring and support by both Mr. and Mrs. Finch have always made me feel safe and loved.  And, even when I wasn't able to see them often.  It can be an uneasy world sometimes, but knowing that they always loved me even when they didn't have to love me has made me a much better person in this life.  Without them, I have no idea how I would have survived some very difficult years.  They were always there, always welcoming, fully supporting me, and never judging me. 

Mr. and Mrs. Finch
So, on to Mrs. Finch's story.   She's battled two bouts of breast cancer with lumpectomies on both breasts and also was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  She's am amazing survivor on many levels.  Always kind-hearted and generous.  A bit of a temper when pushed too hard, but that's the fighter in her.  I'm amazed when she describes her diagnoses and treatments...Almost like they are just something in life you "make do" with and move beyond.  She's had some other health challenges in her life, and seems pretty pragmatic.  I'm a wimp when it comes to medical issues, so she's teaching me to stay steady and work hard to get better. 

I recently visited the Finches whom had moved to Ohio last year.  I hadn't seen them for too long, entirely my fault.  And, what an amazing visit and time with them.!!  I cooked for them and did a few errands, but it was so great to just see them and be in their presence.  Grounding and solid. 

She's often asked me to call her, Evelyn, but I just can't.  She'll always Mrs. Finch to me and I will always love her for keeping me a part of her family.

So, I've made Pink Champagne Cupcakes with Strawberry Buttercream, adapted from a recipe in Intoxicated Cupcakes.  I have shared with Mrs. Finch and her family many a champagne cake created by Nugget Market in Davis, California.  I'm sharing my baked goodies with a local breast cancer group, Bosom Buddies, and they have asked that I speak about Frosting for the Cause.  My other donation will be to the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment which funds cancer research at the U.C. Davis Medical Center.
Mrs. Evelyn Finch
January 2013: I'm also sharing this link over at Cake of the Week's Baking with Spirit!

Recipe follows...
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Kentucky Bourbon Cake {and a Giveaway}

Some things in life are just simple.  Simple is sometimes the best way to go...I sometimes forget about simple...This cake is a very simple butter cake with bourbon.  And, no doubt...this time at BIWB, simple is best!  

Super easy, super rich, and super boozy.   All my favorite things! 

My friend, Susan (over at My Mother's Apron Strings), makes amazing and comforting Bundt  cakes of all sorts: lemon, apple fritter, pumpkin caramel, banana, vanilla...I've had my eye in making a boozy version of her vanilla Bundt cake for quite some time.  I knew I wanted a solid vanilla butter cake and my booze of choice would, of course, be bourbon.

I love the smell and taste of bourbon baked in a vanilla cake.  I especially love when the bourbon is used in the soaking sauce AND in the glaze.  This cake does both and does not disappoint.  

I used my new cookbook, Vintage Cakes by Julie Richardson.  She has some great recipes and lots of nostalgia about each cake.  This cake is inspired by, what else, her Kentucky Bourbon Cake.  I made mine with dates; you don't have to, neither does Julie.  It's all good!

And, because we love you and we love our Bundt cakes, we are giving away a Nordic Ware Fleur di Lis Bundt Pan!  We also must thank our friends at Sur La Table for helping us with this giveaway.  
To enter, please leave us a comment and tell us which cake you would make from Vintage Cakes.  Our giveaway is open to any one who lives on the planet, of course.  You have until 9pm PST, February 10, 2013 to enter.   Please also tell us how to contact you.  

Ready, set, go!   

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