“Spirited” Recipes – Baking with Liquor

Liquor Blog

Most cooks know that the secret to a tasty meat sauce is a cup of red table wine; but, did you know that alcohol can also enhance the taste and texture of your baked goods, too? Get creative with cake batter or kick it up a notch with tipsy toppings. You can even add a blast of flavor by soaking your fruit ingredients in a cold vodka or sweet liqueur.

Tips for Spiked Sweets

Now, baking with spirits doesn’t mean you can just go and pour a bottle of whipped cream vodka into your brownie batter and expect a miracle. Alcohol affects texture, moisture and flavor. It’s mixology at a whole new level. Here are seven handy tips and tricks to keep in mind when baking with liquor.

  1. Vodka makes a great flake. Add a couple tablespoons of cold vodka to your pie crust recipe for a dough that’s easier to roll out. The vodka keeps the dough from developing too much gluten, leaving you with a light, flaky crust.
  2. Alcohol alters flavor. Bourbon packs smoky and honey flavors, easy for the palate to notice right away. Vodka is subtler, better used as a wet ingredient than for taste.
  3. Bourbon makes vanilla bloom. Bourbon is the key to a smooth, oak flavored homemade vanilla extract.
  4. Better bottle means better baking. Avoid the cheap stuff and go for the gold. The better quality alcohol, the better impact it will have on your baked goods.
  5. Cream curdling cooking? No thanks. Alcohol can curdle cream, so it’s immensely important that you use a carrier when adding booze to creamy baked goods. Soaking raisins in rum, cherries in vodka and apples in brandy will result in all flavor and no curdle.
  6. Put the rum in the coconut and whip it all up. Add dark and smoky spiced rum along with savory coconut to heavy cream as you whip up soft, white peaks.
  7. Test before serving the kiddos. Worried about alcoholic baked goods around the kids? These recipes have a high burn-off ratio, but it’s always better to double check before serving up a slice to anyone under 21. Typically, after an hour or so in the oven, more than 80 percent of the alcohol has evaporated.

Baking with alcohol can be as much fun as drinking it! Try any one of these dishes out on your friends, and you’re sure to come home with an empty cake tray and a plateful of recipe requests.

Mexican Chocolate Bundt Cake with Tequila Almond Liqueur Ganache

Bundts are time-honored crowd pleasers, and this one will have your friends and family begging for the recipe.

Irish Pub Brownies

These brownies call for a cup of stout beer and are frosted with a buttercream icing. They a great for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

Chocolate Raspberry Cake – flourless and gluten-free

Heading to a potluck party and not sure of any dietary restrictions? You can be a hit with this sweet and savory flourless cake, packed with a subtle rum punch.

How to Infuse Maple Syrup

8 Ways to Contribute on Earth Day

BMF-SyrupDisplay

Few things are as satisfying as made-from-scratch breakfasts on weekend mornings. A sizzling griddle, the smell of coffee enveloping the kitchen, shamelessly wearing pajamas until noon – what’s not to love? Whether your go-to breakfast is pancakes, waffles, or some sweet, magical hybrid (Handle the Heat combines waffles and doughnuts!), the common ground is passing the maple syrup around the table.

We know it and love it as a sweet and pourable pancake topper, but have you considered getting out the maple syrup bottle past 10 am? The syrup is a surprisingly versatile ingredient, lending itself well to sweet pastries (like these smoked bacon biscuits!), as well as savory main dishes.

We recently caught up with Tim Burton, the mastermind behind the maple syrup production hub, Burton’s Maplewood Farm. The company has given traditional maple syrup a twist that transcends breakfast, encouraging customers to think beyond the waffle. Burton’s method? Aging maple syrup for twelve months in liquor barrels that formerly held whiskey, bourbon, rum and brandy. The company will even partner with bourbon-producing giant Pappy Van Winkle this fall to develop a high-end, unique barrel-aged syrup that whiskey aficionados can’t wait to taste!

We’re taking a hint from Burton’s and trying our hand at homemade maple syrup infusions. You can try it, too! As Burton advises, pick out your favorite herbs, spices, or flavors (think cooked pieces of bacon or chopped rosemary). Put them in a small saucepan, adding however much maple syrup you’d like to infuse. More spice equals more intense flavor. Cook the mixture on medium heat until the desired intensity is achieved. It’s as simple as that!

Try some of these flavor infusions to get started:

  • Bacon – The smoky flavor will enhance the maple, making it an excellent choice for breakfast dishes, BBQ sauces or even atop roasted Brussels sprouts!
  • Dill – Burton recommends finely chopping dill and heating it with maple syrup to glaze both sides of salmon filets before cooking.
  • Citrus – Add orange rind and cinnamon sticks for syrup that’s divine drizzled over cinnamon rolls or peaches for a simple dessert.

The options are endless! So get in the kitchen and start experimenting with your favorite herbs and spices. If you’re intrigued, but not as confident developing your own combinations yet, then stick to these tried and true maple recipes from Clabber Girl.

Maple Bourbon Pecan Tart

The nuttiness of the pecans, paired with brown sugar, bourbon and sweetness of the maple makes this a winning fall entertaining dessert.

Sweet Potato and Sausage Pancakes

Sweet potato, sausage and syrup IN the pancakes? Hearty enough for breakfast at dinnertime!