Monday, November 12, 2012

Bourbon-filled Desserts for Thanksgiving

1. Sweet Potato Pecan (& Bourbon) Pie

Make some Maple Pecan (Bourbon!) Ice Cream to go on top if you're really in the zone. Get the recipe at Closet Cooking.
Before we proceed any further, please note that although some of these recipes refer to the bourbon in them as "optional," it is not. For best results, please do not hesitate to add 1 Tbsp. bourbon to whatever quantity is called for.
Servings: makes 6+ servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes Printable Recipe
  • 2 cups sweet potato, roasted, scooped and mashed
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 maple syrup (or golden syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
  • 1 pie crust
  • 1 1/2 cups pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or golden syrup)
  • 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
  1. Mix the sweet potatoes, eggs, sugars, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and bourbon in a large bowl and pour it into the pie crust.
  2. Place the pecans on top of the sweet potato filling.
  3. Mix the sugar, maple syrup, eggs, butter, vanilla and bourbon and pour it on top of the pecans.
  4. Bake in a preheated 375F oven until the pastry id golden brown and the pecan layer is set, about 40-60 minutes.

    2. Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

    Bourbon Pumpkin CheesecakeServes 12 to 14
    For crust
    3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (from five 4 3/4- by 2 1/4-inch crackers)
    1/2 cup pecans (1 3/4 ounce), finely chopped
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    For filling
    1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
    3 large eggs
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons heavy cream
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon cornstarch
    1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
    For topping
    2 cups sour cream (20 ounces)
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 tablespoon bourbon liqueur or bourbon (optional)
    Garnish: pecan halves
    Make crust: Invert bottom of a 9-inch springform pan (to create flat bottom, which will make it easier to remove cake from pan), then lock on side and butter pan.
    Stir together crumbs, pecans, sugars, and butter in a bowl until combined well. Press crumb mixture evenly onto bottom and 1/2 inch up side of pan, then chill crust, 1 hour.
    Make filling and bake cheesecake: Put oven rack in middle position and Preheat oven to 350°F.
    Whisk together pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, cream, vanilla, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl until combined.
    Stir together granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and salt in large bowl.
    Add cream cheese and beat with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium, then add pumpkin mixture and beat until smooth.
    Pour filling into crust, smoothing top, then put springform pan in a shallow baking pan (in case springform leaks). Bake until center is just set, 50 to 60 minutes. Transfer to rack and cool 5 minutes. (Leave oven on.)
    Make topping: Whisk together sour cream, sugar, and liqueur (if using) in a bowl, then spread on top of cheesecake and bake 5 additional minutes.
    Cool cheesecake completely in pan on rack, about 3 hours.
    Chill, covered, until cold, at least 4 hours. Remove side of pan and bring to room temperature before serving.
    Do ahead: Baked cheesecake can be chilled, covered, up to 2 days.

    3. Coconut Bourbon Balls

    Coconut Bourbon Balls Yields approximately 30 For the Bourbon Balls
    2 cups vanilla wafers or graham crackers crumbs (ground fine)
    2 cups chopped pecans (by hand or in food processor)
    1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
    4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup bourbon or whiskey
    6 tablespoons cane syrup or corn syrup
    For the Ganache
    2 cups sweetened coconut flakes
    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
    4 tablespoons heavy cream
    For the Bourbon Balls
    In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs, pecans, confectioners sugar, and cocoa powder. In another bowl, whisk together bourbon and syrup and then combine thoroughly with dry mixture (I find using my hands works best). Allow to sit for a couple of minutes.
    Using a small scoop (I prefer a spring-release ice cream scoop), spoon out rounds of the bourbon ball mixture, mashing flat against the side of the bowl to create a flat bottom. Release onto a sheet pan.
    For the Ganache
    In a food processor, process coconut flakes into small bits. Combine chocolate chips and heavy cream in a glass bowl and microwave one minute to one minute and twenty seconds. Stir until chocolate is melted and glossy.
    Dip bourbon balls in melted chocolate (you don't have to coat the flat bottom surface), reheating chocolate as necessary, and place on a cooling rack set on top of wax paper. Sprinkle coconut on top of balls, using fingers to cover the sides thoroughly. Re-use the leftover coconut that falls through the cooling rack wires, if necessary. Allow to set for at least a couple of hours, or overnight (they taste even better after the flavor has a chance to mellow). If you don't like coconut, feel free to just cover them in ganache and allow to set overnight.
    Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

    Spiced Bourbon Apple Pie

    Spiced bourbon apple pieIf you are only going to bake one thing this season it should probably be an apple pie. Why are you only baking one thing though!? Maybe you're allergic to ovens. Maybe you have a phobia of flour. I don't know. I don't want to judge here. But guys, can we just bake a pie today or what?Best apple pie recipeBourbon apple pieAnd while we're at it, let's put some bourbon in that pie, ok? If you've never baked with booze before don't fret. We're really just after the flavor: caramel, warm oak and vanilla. The actual alcohol content greatly decreases anytime you bake with liquor, as alcohol has a pretty low boiling point. Which is why you can make homemade vanilla extract with vodka. Science.Homemade apple pieFirst let's talk crust. You can buy one or make your own. For this pie I made my own. I love a flaky, unsweetened crust. Perfect backdrop for a sweet pie with ice cream. :)
    Perfect pie crust, makes one double crust pie (or two single crusts. Math.)
    Needed: 2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 15 tablespoons cold butter (almost 2 sticks, but not quite) and 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon cold water.
    In a food processor combine the flour and salt, pulse for a second or two. Cut in the butter and pulse until just crumbly. Now slowly pour in the water as the food processor is turned on low. (You can also do these steps by hand with a little more effort, I'm just lazy.) Once you've added all the water use your clean hands to work the dough into a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for an hour (or up to overnight). When you're ready to use your dough let it sit out on the counter for a few minutes before rolling out.Best apple pieSpiced Bourbon Apple Pie, filling for one pie.
    Needed: 3-4 sour apples, 1/2 cup milk, 1 tablespoon corn starch, 2 tablespoons bourbon, 2/3 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional).
    Peel and thinly slice the apples. As you can see from the photo I believe in very thinly sliced apples. The thinner your slices the more area for the spiced bourbon coating to stick to. I use a Mandoline and highly recommend them. It's one of my favorite kitchen tools. Set aside your apples and in a small bowl whisk together the milk, corn starch, bourbon, cinnamon and sugar. Pour over the apples and gently mix them up so that all slices get coated. Add in the pecans if using. Roll out your pie crust and lay in your prepared baking dish. Pour in the filling and lay on the top pie crust. Make sure to add a few slits to the top pie crust to allow steam to escape as baking. I crimped my edges using the side of a fork and I added a little label using Alphabet Cookie Cutters. Brush the top with an egg wash and bake at 375 F for an hour.Apple pieIf you don't have or don't want to use bourbon you can substitute 2 teaspoons vanilla extract instead. Bake a pie this week! Your house will smell amazing. xo. Emma

    Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies

    Camping in the fall is always the best.  Cool crisp nights, blazing, crackling fires, fleece jackets and hiking boots are just some of my favorite reasons to pack the camper and head to the mountains.  I also love to bake something special to share at the end of a wonderful day playing outside.  Blondies are a moist and sweet, buttery treat that will melt in your mouth and are easy to whip up in no time.  Cut into bite sized squares they also travel very well.  They traveled well to the Shenandoah Mountains, but I'm afraid they did not make it home again.  

    I was looking for something a little different so I added bourbon, toasted walnuts, milk chocolate chips and browned butter to this batch.  This was a super successful combination of flavors.  I was inspired by my Derby Day Pie and adapted a base recipe for Blondies originally published by Cooks Illustrated in July, 2005.  This is a grown up dessert as you get hints of the smooth mild bourbon along with the toasted nuts and milky chocolate.  

    Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies
    Browned Butter & Bourbon Blondies
    (slightly adapted from a recipe published July 2005 by Cooks Illustrated)
    1/2 cup walnuts
    3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, browned and cooled
    3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2 tablespoons bourbon
    1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  
    In a small pan on medium heat, melt the butter stirring occasionally.  Cook the butter until it begins to have a nutty smell and turns an amber color.  Do not overcook or it will burn easily. Remove the browned butter to a glass bowl or cup and set aside to cool.
    Spread the walnuts in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until they are golden brown.  Transfer the nuts to a cutting board and chop lightly.  Set aside.
    Cut a length of parchment paper to fit a 8x8 baking dish allowing the paper to come up to the top of the pan on both sides.  Cut another sheet to fit in the opposite direction also trimming at the top of the pan.  Spray the parchment paper lightly with cooking spray.  Set aside.
    Whisk 3/4 cup flour, baking powder and salt together in a small mixing bowl.  Set aside.
    In another medium mixing bowl combine the browned butter and brown sugar until blended.  Add the egg and mix well.  Blend in the bourbon and vanilla and mix just until incorporated.  Fold the dry ingredients into the butter mixture just until combined.  Do not over-mix.  
    Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour to the chocolate chips and toss until the chips are somewhat covered.  Add the chocolate chips (with flour) and the toasted walnuts to the batter.  Fold in gently.  Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.  
    Bake until the top is shiny, cracked and light golden brown, 22-24 minutes.  Do not over-bake.  Blondies should be chewy, not crunchy.  
    Cool the Blondies in the pan then lift out using the parchment paper.  Transfer to a cutting board and slice into bite sized squares.  Enjoy! I don’t even know.

    I just… poured bourbon on the apples. ON the apples. And baked them. And covered them in cinnamon ice cream.

    Oh and stuffed them with my favorite crispy crumble mixture. It’s like… apple crisp.
    Apple crisp baked inside an apple.
    Covered in bourbon.
    Covered in ice cream.

    I don’t know why I do these things.

    Bourbon not your thing? Pretty sure you could use rum here. Spiced rum? It is fall after all. Maybe some sort of other delicious liqueur or something? What about red wine?
    Now I have to make these again.

    Bourbon Baked Apples

    Yield: makes 6 apples
    Prep Time: 20 minutes
    Cook Time: 45-50 minutes
    Total Time: 1.5 hours


    6 large honeycrisp apples
    2/3 cup oats
    2/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
    1/4 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup softened unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup apple cider
    1/3 cup bourbon (or less, depending on how much you enjoy bourbon)
    cinnamon ice cream for serving (or pumpkin! or vanilla.)


    Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Core the apples - but not all the way - using an apple corer or a paring knife. You want to cut about 2/3 of the way down to remove the seeds if you don't have an apple corer. Carefully cut a circle around the stem and cut about an inch downward. From there, use the same knife or a spoon, remove the core and the seeds.
    In a bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon. Add softened butter and vanilla, and mix thoroughly with a fork and your hands until it becomes clumped together. If desired, you can also add nuts here! Stuff the mixture equally inside each apple. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon if desired.
    Place apples in a large baking dish. Pour apple cider and bourbon in the bottom of the pan, then bake for about 45 minutes. This will depend on the exact size of your apples (if using small/medium apples, start by baking for 30 minutes), but it is easy to keep an eye on them because a few times during the cooking process (every 10 minutes or so), you want to spoon the cider/bourbon mixture overtop of each apple. Once the skin looks all wrinkly and slightly darker in color, remove from the oven. Serve immediately with ice cream on top.

    mini whiskey oatmeal cream pies.

    You know those little snack cakes and individually-wrapped treats that every kid had in their brown-bagged lunch growing up?
    I wasn’t that kid.  I was the girl with a dinosaur-print thermos full of chicken noodle soup, a plastic bag full of enough carrots to feed a bunny family of 20, and a little can of tomato juice. Weirdest lunch ever, right?
    Growing up, my parents never kept any junk food in the house. No candy. No ice cream. No cupcakes. If I wanted a snack, I had to make the tough choice between dehydrated apple slices or vegetables. A few times, my afternoon snack was sauerkraut. Seriously. Sauerkraut. I can’t make this stuff up.
    I wonder if my sugar-free childhood had any influence on my decision to go to culinary school and study baking and pastry…

    I know my parents had good intentions, keeping the house free of junk food and unhealthy stuff. I totally get it, and I’m actually glad I grew up that way. I didn’t grow up craving foods packed full of artificial flavors, colors, chemicals and preservatives. If I want something sweet, I make it myself.
    I’ve never had a Twinkie, or a Snowball, or a Ding Dong, or a Good Time Snackie Cake. That last one’s a real thing, right?
    So when Ryan told me how much he loved those little oatmeal cream pies when he was a kid, I knew I had to try my hand at making them! Little itty bitty teeny tiny miniature oatmeal cream pies. They’re adorable! They’re delicious!
    …And did I mention they’re full of whiskey? Yup!

    Yes friends, these are certainly not the oatmeal cream pies you grew up with–they’re 24928 times better. Honest!
    According to my husband, these little babies are in his top three most favorite cookie-type confections I’ve ever baked. Ever! They’re kind of a big deal.
    Plenty of brown sugar keeps the oatmeal cookies moist and soft. They’re lightly spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, and good luck not eating all of them before you even get around to assembling the mini pies. They’re damn good cookies on their own. If I were feeling particularly naughty, I might even break up a bunch of them, toss ‘em in a bowl, pour over some milk and call that breakfast. Yes.

    And the marshmallow cream?! Guys. This stuff is so, so, so delicious. Technically it’s not really marshmallow cream, it’s really a sweet Swiss meringue, the base for my favorite type of buttercream. But I’ll be damned if this brown sugar whiskey-spiked meringue doesn’t taste, act and look exactly like marshmallow cream. Actually, I think it might even be more delicious. Shh. Don’t tell.

    If you’re craving a grown-up version of a childhood favorite, you simply must make these mini whiskey oatmeal cream pies! They’re perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, too! Whiskey and oatmeal, together at last!

    Mini Whiskey Oatmeal Cream Pies

    Yield: 24 miniature oatmeal cream pies
    The recipe for the marshmallow cream will yield more than you need to fill the cookies, so store it in an airtight glass jar at room temperature for up to two weeks--if it lasts that long!


    For the Oatmeal Cookies
    6 ounces whole wheat pastry flour
    0.25 ounces baking powder
    0.13 ounces baking soda
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    8 ounces light brown sugar, packed
    ½ teaspoon kosher salt
    2 large eggs
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste (substitute pure vanilla extract)
    ½ ounce whole milk or half & half
    ½ ounce Irish whiskey
    5 ounces quick-cooking rolled oats
    For the Brown Sugar Whiskey Marshmallow Cream
    4 ounces egg whites (about 4 eggs' worth)
    8 ounces light brown sugar, packed
    pinch of kosher salt
    2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
    2 teaspoons pure vanilla bean paste (substitute vanilla extract)


    For the Oatmeal Cookies
    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, with a rack in the center.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
    Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon into a bowl and set aside.
    In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment fitted on, combine the butter, brown sugar and salt. Cream together on medium speed for 8-10 minutes, or until very pale and fluffy.
    With the mixer off, scrape down the sides of the bowl.
    Turn the mixer on low and add the eggs, one at a time, waiting until the first is incorporated into the mixture before adding the second.
    Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the vanilla, milk and whiskey on low speed until just combined.
    Slowly add the sifted dry ingredients to the mixer bowl, and mix on low until just combined and the dough comes together.
    Turn the mixer off and stir in the oats by hand using a silicone spatula.
    Using a small cookie scoop (mine holds approximately one teaspoon of dough), portion the cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheet, leaving about two inches of room in between cookies.
    Bake at 375 degrees F for 5-8 minutes, or until the cookies are light brown and crisp at the edges.
    Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 3-5 minutes before transferring the cookies to a wire baking rack to cool completely.
    For the Brown Sugar Whiskey Marshmallow Cream
    Set a saucepan with about 2-3 inches of water over medium heat and allow to heat until steaming.
    Combine the egg whites, brown sugar and salt in either the metal bowl of your stand mixer, or another heat safe bowl.
    Place the bowl over the steaming pan of water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.
    Whisking often, gently heat this mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Feel the mixture with your fingers (you can wear a glove!) to check for doneness.
    When the mixture is no longer grainy, remove the bowl from the saucepan. Place the bowl on the stand mixer with the whisk attachment fitted on.
    Whip this mixture on medium-high speed for 8-12 minutes, or until the meringue is light, fluffy and voluminous, and the sides of the bowl are no longer hot.
    Turn the mixer off and add the whiskey and vanilla bean paste, and whisk on medium for 30 seconds, or until combined.
    Using a spatulate, transfer the marshmallow cream to a piping bag with a small round tip fitted on.
    Assembling the Oatmeal Cream Pies
    Place one cooled cookie face down on a piece of parchment paper, and pipe about 2 teaspoons' worth of marshmallow cream in the center.
    Place a second cookie on top, pressing down gently in the center to coax the marshmallow cream to the outer edges of the cookie sandwich.
    Repeat with the remaining cookies until all miniature oatmeal cream pies are assembled. Depending on how large you made your cookies, you should get approximately 24 pies.
    Store the oatmeal cream pies in an airtight container at room temperature for two days, or in the fridge for up to four.

    Recipe: Browned Butter Butterscotch Pie

    2010_10_17-ButterscotchPie1.jpgWith fall lingering in the air down South - and throughout the rest of the country - the chilly weather can only mean one thing: it's pie season down in Dixie.
    2010_10_17-ButterscotchPie2.jpgWhile the fruity pies of summer are perfectly acceptable, I must admit that I'm a winter pie kind of girl. Give me pumpkin, sweet potato, and pecan over berries any day. So when a colleague recently requested that I make "something with butterscotch," I didn't have to think too hard about it. Needless to say, I happily obliged.
    There's a bevy of butterscotch pie recipes floating around the food world. Trust me, I know. I've made (and eaten) my fair share of them. And while I love a cool butterscotch cream pie in the summer, I really crave a dark and rich sort of pie once October creeps in... a broody pie with the intense flavors of nutty browned butter and sugary sweet caramel. Yes, please.
    This old Southern favorite is a great way to celebrate the season. Add a splash of bourbon and you've got yourself a party. Whether you bring this butterscotch pie to a fall festival or serve it on your holiday table, it's guaranteed to wrap you up in warmth.
    Browned Butter Butterscotch Pieserves 8 to 10
    For the filling
    1 standard pie crust, blind-baked and cooled (Recipes: Sour Cream Pie Crust or Basic Pie Crust)
    1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
    1 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
    1/4 cup cornstarch
    3 tablespoons flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 (12 ounce) can evaporated milk
    1/2 cup milk (I used 2%)
    4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
    1 tablespoon bourbon whiskey
    For the whipped cream
    1 cup heavy whipping cream
    3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    For the filling
    In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Continue to cook until lightly browned, stirring occasionally, approximately 10 minutes. Add brown sugar to butter and cook until sugar is completely melted and a paste is formed.
    Combine evaporated milk and regular milk and pour into the butter/brown sugar mixture. Bring to a simmer and stir until it is smooth and the sugar is completely dissolved.
    In a separate bowl, combine cornstarch, flour, and salt. Pour 1/ 2 cup of the milk/butter/sugar mixture into the cornstarch mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour the smooth cornstarch mixture back into saucepan, stirring constantly. Cook for approximately one minute, until just thickened (cooking the cornstarch much longer can actually cause it to lose its thickening ability).
    Stream 1/2 cup hot milk/butter/sugar mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly (this is called tempering; it prevents the yolks from curdling in the heat). Pour this mix back into the saucepan. Cook for approximately 30 seconds to one minute, and then remove from heat. Stir in whiskey. Allow to cool until warm, about 10 to 15 minutes. Strain filling through a fine mesh sieve and then pour into cooked piecrust.
    Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding in order to prevent a skin from forming. Chill overnight, or until firm.
    For whipped cream
    In a medium-sized bowl, whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until foamy and starting to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until soft peaks are just formed.
    If serving whole pie, top with whipped cream and slice. If serving just a few pieces, slice and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.Behold: chocolate bourbon toffee cookies!
    It’s easy to get over the tragedy of a lost pie when you have rich and chewy cookies spiked with bourbon. Pie? Whatever.
    These are dangerous. I found this recipe for salted chocolate toffee cookie and went at it, adding just a bit of bourbon. I baked half the batch as suggested in the recipe with a sprinkle of salt on top, but then realized I had about 4 tablespoons of chopped hazelnuts left in the cupboard so baked the second round of cookies with nuts on top. Verdict? Perfection.
    Chewy Chocolate Bourbon Toffee Cookie
    Adapted from Sel Et Sucre
    Makes 3 Dozen Cookies
    2 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips
    6 T Unsalted Butter, sliced
    1 C All Purpose Flour
    ¾ tsp Baking Powder
    ¾ tsp Salt
    3 Large Eggs
    1 C Brown Sugar, packed
    1 tsp Vanilla Bourbon Extract
    2 T Bourbon
    1 ¼ C Toffee Pieces
    Coarse Sea Salt (optional)
    1/4 Chopped Hazelnuts
    Directions: Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F. In a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate chips. Set aside to cool slightly.
    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder,  and salt.
    In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and bourbon on high speed until light and fluffy, approx 5 min.
    On low speed, beat in the melted chocolate and butter. Fold flour mixture in by hand until just combined then stir in toffee bits.
    Drop dough onto parchment lined baking sheet in 2 T sized scoops. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired or press a few pieces of chopped nuts into the dough. Bake on a rack centered in the oven for 12 minutes or until the cookies have shiny, cracked surfaces and are firm to touch at the edges but still somewhat soft in the middle. Let cool five minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Imported Foods

Imported Foods
It might take you a bit longer to shop until you memorize all the products you usually buy.
As Beef producers we have implemented C.O.O.L. ( it is the acronym for “country of origin label”. It is on all products fresh, frozen or canned) So read your labels buy only domestic meat. Costco does label their lamb also, it comes from New Zealand or Australia, very little domestic.
Green Giant frozen vegetables are from China, as are most of Europe’s Best. Arctic Gardens are OK.

NEVER buy the grocery store garlic unless it is clearly marked from the USA or Canada. Most everything else is stuff grown in people poop (even worse than the chicken poop below)!. China is the largest producer of garlic in the world. The U.S. is next.

Buy only local honey; again, most honey is shipped in huge containers from China and re-packed in the US. You probably won’t find that on the label!!

Cold-FX is grown and packed in China and is full of fecal bacteria. Doesn't work anyway, big scam. If the country of origin is not clearly marked beware.

If you aren’t sure about produce, ask an employee.

Watch out for packages which state "prepared for", "packed by" or "imported by".

The country of origin should be clearly shown on the item. Buy as much as you can from local farmers markets in season and keep a wary eye open the rest of the year.

How is it possible to ship food from China cheaper than having it produced in the U.S or Canada?

For example: the "Our Family" brand of mandarin oranges says right on the can it’s from China. Just look at the label - The MORE we purchase from China, the cheaper it becomes for them to ship it all to the US in huge container ships!

For a few more cents (literally!) you can buy several other brands.

Gold brand or Dole comes from California.

Beware, Costco sells canned peaches and pears in a plastic container that come from China.

All "High Liner" and most other frozen fish products come from China or Indonesia. The package may say "pacific salmon" on the front, but look for the small print, usually on the back of the package near the bottom. Most of these products come from fish farms in the orient where there are no regulations on what is fed to these fish. (Recently The MontrealGazette had an article by the Canadian Government on how Chinese feed the fish: They suspend chicken wire crates over the fish ponds, and the fish feed on chicken poop. Then YOU get to eat the fish!) If you search the internet about what the Chinese feed their fish that they import all over the world, you'll be alarmed at the pictures and the articles. (It’snauseating reading!)

Never buy any type of fish or shellfish that comes from these countries: Vietnam, China, Philippines. Again, you can find a myriad of articles on this on the internet without having to dig very far!

Steinfeld’s Pickles are made in India – just as bad!!!

Another example is in canned mushrooms: No-Name brand comes from Indonesia.

Check those little fruit cups. They used to be made in Canada in the Niagara region until about 2 years ago. They are now packaged in China! Look at the label!

While the Chinese export inferior and even toxic products, dangerous toys and goods to be sold in North American markets, the media wrings its hands and criticizes the Obama Administration and the Harper Government for perceived errors. Yet 70% of North Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese should be suspended!! 
Well, duh. Why do you need the government to suspend trading privileges? Simply do it yourself!!! Buy only Canadian or US products!!
Read the labels of what you buy! If it says 'Made in China ' or 'PRC' (that now includes Hong Kong), choose another product, or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products and how YOU are furthering their invasion into our food supply as well as taking jobs away from US citizens by buying their products!

**** If 200 million North Americans refused to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our!! The downside? Some Canadian / American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign stockpiles of their inventory. But we, as Americans, HAVE to show them that we do NOT want Chinese products or they will keep buying from China. We are the end user and we must change this because they won’t.

If just one month of trading losses hit the Chinese, it would account for 8% of their North American exports. That's "less" coming in, not "more"! At least it's a start! Even slowing down the amount they get into this country helps.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

5 Spices with Incredible Healing Power

SpicesPhoto: Daniel Catt
If getting fancy with spices is your kind of kitchen jazz, or if you’re into home remedies, we’ve got great news for you. Spices have some wicked healing powers, and scientists are still unlocking the slew of benefits our spice cabinet can have for our health. We’re going to cover just five of these superpowers of the plant world.
5. Cinnamon
Cinnamon SticksPhoto: Steven Depolo
Gnawing on tree bark turns out to be a good thing, and not just for beavers. According to research, eating a mere 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly decreased the blood sugar in people who had type II diabetes. Not only that, this powerful bark decreases cholesterol, keeps your teeth and gums healthy, improves digestion and alleviates the congestion that comes from colds and allergies. It’s also anti-inflammatory and improves blood circulation. If you needed an excuse to eat apple pie, this could be it.
4. Turmeric
TurmericPhoto: Cherry Rhodes
Turmeric is perhaps a less well-known spice, unless you love Indian food and curry. This spice is bright orange and comes from the root of a plant in the ginger family. It is a powerful antioxidant (just as strong as vitamins C and E) and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. In fact, it can be drunk in the form of golden milk to reduce inflammation and joint pain, or put on a swollen area as a poultice. People with liver problems or hepatitis also drink turmeric or take turmeric capsules because this spice increases the production of bile in the liver and protects it from toxins.
3. Ginger
GingerPhoto: Heymrleej
One of the great things about ginger is that it improves your muscle tone – but not on your biceps; in your intestinal tract. Yep. Have problems with nausea, diarrhea, stomach aches and gas? Well, ginger is your man. It's so effective that it has been used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery and cancer treatments. Some preliminary studies also suggest that ginger may help prevent cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
2. Basil
BasilPhoto: Pawel Kabanski
This leafy herb is not only delicious on pizza or ground up in pesto, but also boosts the cardiovascular system. People who have colds or asthma drink basil tea to make breathing easier and to invigorate the lungs. Basil also has a calming effect on the nerves, relieves headaches, brings down fevers and promotes healing from insect bites and skin infections.
1. Oregano
OreganoPhoto: Tibbygirl
If you have bad breath, try swishing an infusion of oregano around in your mouth as a cure. This herb is great against swollen throats, coughing, insomnia and headaches. Not only that; this herb packs a powerful antioxidant punch. According to this source, oregano has “42 times more antioxidants than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and four times more than blueberries.”
SpicesPhoto: Nina_Haghighi
These are only a few of the many spices with powerful medicinal properties. Not only are they completely natural and cheap, they don’t have negative side-effects. Maybe next time you get sick, you’ll turn to the spice cabinet instead of the pepto bismol and cortisone shots.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

'Fermentation': When Food Goes Bad But Stays Good

Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria." Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. "Bacteria in our gut enable us to live," says author Sandor Katz. "We could not survive without bacteria."
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June 13, 2012
The list of fermented food in our lives is staggering: bread, coffee, pickles, beer, cheese, yogurt and soy sauce are all transformed at some point during their production process by microscopic organisms that extend their usefulness and enhance their flavors.
The process of fermenting our food isn't a new one: Evidence indicates that early civilizations were making wine and beer between 7,000 and 8,000 years ago — and bread even before that.
But was exactly is fermentation? And how does it work? Those were the questions that fascinated Sandor Katz for years. Katz calls himself a "fermentation revivalist" and has spent the past decade teaching workshops around the country on the ancient practice of fermenting food.
Katz collects many of his recipes and techniques in a new book, The Art of Fermentation, in which he describes fermentation as "the flavorful space between fresh and rotten."
"If you walk into a gourmet food store and start thinking about the nature of the foods that we elevate on the gourmet pedestal, almost all of them are the products of fermentation," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Fermentation creates strong flavors. But they're not always flavors that everybody can agree on."
The Art of Fermentation
The Art of Fermentation
An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World
Hardcover, 498 pages |
Take cheese, for instance. Cheese exists in a variety of flavors, including the extra-stinky varieties Katz says he fancies. "But once in a while I'll buy cheese and I've learned that some friends will smell the cheese and walk out of the room," he says. "They'll never think about putting that in their mouths. ... So around the world, you find these iconic foods created by fermentation that create strong, strong flavors that become strong markers of cultural identity and in many cases, people who have not been raised within the culture find these foods very challenging."
In addition to enhancing flavors, fermentation also allows food items to be preserved well past their shelf-life date, says Katz.
"It's not forever like canned foods that you can put into a pantry or storm cellar and forget about for 10 years and still eat it," he says. "These foods are alive, they're dynamic, but they're extremely effective strategies for preserving food through a few seasons, which is really the point."
Starting With Sauerkraut
For fermentation newbies, Katz recommends starting with sauerkraut because it's particularly easy to make. To begin, take a cabbage and any additional vegetables you want and chop it up. Put your chopped veggies in a large bowl and lightly salt them. (Katz notes that he never measures the salt because there's really no "magic number for how much salt to use.")
After salting the veggies, which helps get rid of excess water, Katz squeezes them for a few minutes to release their juices, so that they can be submerged under their own liquid. (Katz says he hardly ever adds water to his kraut, because the flavor is more concentrated if you use only the vegetable juice.) He then stuffs the veggies and the juices they've released into a jar.
Sandor Katz is the author of Wild Fermentation and lectures extensively on topics related to fermentation.
Enlarge Courtesy of the author Sandor Katz is the author of Wild Fermentation and lectures extensively on topics related to fermentation.
"You want to press really hard to force out any air bubbles," he notes. "And you want to make sure that the vegetables are pressed down under their juices. And then just seal the jar — but be aware that pressure will be produced, so you don't want to leave it for days and days."
Katz recommends checking the jar on a daily basis to release the pressure — and then after maybe 3-5 days, enjoying your new creation.
"The flavors transform very quickly," he says. "The bacteria proliferate, the texture changes, and what I recommend to people experimenting for the first time, is just to taste it at periodic intervals. And then you're getting a sense of whether you're liking it more and more as the flavor gets more acidic or whether it's acidic enough and you want to move it into your fermentation-slowing device, which is your refrigerator."
Once you've mastered the simple kraut, Katz says you can add spices and/or other items like apples or cranberries to your jar. "You can basically use any season you like," he says.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Recipes for Ice Pops

Kiwi Ice Pops

Kiwi ice pops appeal to kids and adults alike. This recipe is not only mouthwatering but no fuss, making it one of the coolest ways to extinguish summer's sizzle. 

Total Fat--
Saturated Fat--
Total Carbohydrate21.4g
Dietary Fiber--
kiwi ice popsCharles Maraia
Serves: 12 Edit
Yields: 1/4-cup ice pops
U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1 3/4 cup(s) water
  • 1 cup(s) sugar
  • 4  kiwis
  • 1/2 cup(s) (about 4 limes) fresh lime juice

  1. Make the syrup: Combine 1 cup of water with the sugar in a small saucepan and bring just to a boil. Set aside to cool.
  2. Make the ice pops: Using a paring knife, cut kiwis into quarters, peel, and remove the white core and seeds from each piece. Place the seeded kiwi pieces in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purée to a liquid -- about 1 minute. Combine the puréed kiwi, 3/4 cup syrup, lime juice, and remaining 3/4 cup water in a large bowl. Pour the mixture into molds and freeze until solid

    Plum Smoothie-Pop

    The mixture makes a great smoothie, too!

Total Fat1.1g
Saturated Fat--
Total Carbohydrate21.5g
Dietary Fiber1.1 g
Protein1.5 g
plum smoothie-popDeborah Ory
Serves: 12 Edit
Total Time: 4 hr
U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1/4 cup(s) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon(s) corn syrup
  • 1 pound(s) assorted plums, pitted and chopped
  • 8 teaspoon(s) fresh lime juice
  • 6 ounce(s) plain yogurt

  1. Bring the sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water to a boil in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and cool. Puree the plums, cooled syrup, and lime juice in two batches, using a blender, until smooth. Stir the plum puree and yogurt together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top, as the mixture will expand when it freezes. Follow popsicle mold manufacturer's instructions and freeze until solid -- about 4 hours.

Orange-Banana Smoothie Pops

Punch up citrus in a flash — the flavor is tripled — with the hardworking supermarket standby, orange juice concentrate.

Nutritional Information
(per serving)
Total Fat1g
Saturated Fat--
Total Carbohydrate15g
Dietary Fiber1g
orange banana smoothie popsiclesTina Rupp
Serves: 6 Edit
Total Time: 5 hr 50 min
Prep Time: 10 min
U.S. Metric Conversion chart
  • 1 container(s) (7-ounce) Greek yogurt
  • 2/3 cup(s) thawed orange juice concentrate
  • 2 large bananas
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon(s) fresh lime juice

  1. Puree one Greek yogurt, thawed orange juice concentrate, bananas, lime zest, and fresh lime juice in a blender.
  2. Pour into six 3-ounce molds. (We used mini baking tins with Popsicle sticks, but you can also substitute paper cups.) Freeze until smoothie pops are solid, about 4 hours.
  3. To release pops, dip molds into hot water until pops loosen and slide out. If using cups, peel away paper.

Fresh Fruit and Yogurt Ice Pops


  • 2 cups fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries and sliced bananas, mixed
  • 2 cups plain or vanilla yogurt
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 8 small paper cups
  • 8 popsicle sticks


  1. Place the mixed blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sliced bananas, yogurt, and sugar into a blender. Cover, and blend until fruit is chunky or smooth, as desired.
  2. Fill paper cups 3/4 full with fruit mixture. Cover the top of each cup with a strip of aluminum foil. Poke a popsicle stick through the center of the foil on each cup.
  3. Place the cups in the freezer for at least 5 hours. To serve, remove foil and peel off the paper cup.

Nutritional Information

open nutritional information

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 83 | Total Fat: 1.1g | Cholesterol: 4mg

Frozen Strawberry-Peach Pops



  • 1/2 cup(s) sugar
  • 6 ounce(s) strawberries, hulled
  • 6 ounce(s) peaches, peeled and pitted
  • 1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice

  1. Bring 1/2 cup of water and the sugar to a boil and let cool. Puree the strawberries, peaches, cooled syrup, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup water in a food processor. Fill five 4-ounce paper cups or popsicle molds with the strawberry-peach mixture.
  2. For paper cups, place on a tray, cover securely with plastic wrap, and pierce a popsicle stick through the plastic into each cup. For popsicle molds, follow manufacturer's instructions. Freeze until solid.

Fruit Pops


  • 3 cup(s) ripe fresh fruit chunks (watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, or pineapple)
  • 1/2 cup(s) superfine sugar
  • 3 tablespoon(s) light corn syrup
  • 1 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
  • 2 cup(s) vanilla yogurt

  1. In blender, puree fresh fruit with sugar, corn syrup, and lemon juice until very smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add vanilla yogurt and blend until smooth. Taste mixture and adjust sweetness, adding more sugar if needed.
  2. Pour mixture into 10 (1/2-cup) pop molds. Place tops on molds and insert wooden sticks. Freeze at least 4 hours before removing fruit pops from molds.