Category: whiskey

Irish soda muffins with Jameson soaked raisins, take two!

Irish soda muffins with Jameson-soaked raisins.

Faith & begorrah! Again with the “recipe redux”? Yes. Except, not really.

Irish soda muffins with Jameson soaked raisins. This idea was one I had years ago and it was too good not to do over. However I decided to do it a different way. Last time, it was a different recipe & golden raisins (soaked in Jameson Irish whiskey) on top. This time it’s regular dark raisins mixed into the batter.

Irish soda muffins made with Jameson-soaked raisins!

Green cupcake liners make everything look so appropriate this time of year. It doesn’t even have to be St. Patrick’s Day related. Just put it in a green cupcake liner, and you’re done.

And for me, St. Patrick’s Day meals can be tricky.

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Homemade Irish cream, ’cause why not?

Homemade Irish cream liqueur!

There’s been a lot of baking going on around here lately. I think I’ve put more milage on my new oven in the last 2 months than Jay’s put on his 2 year old car. So I wanted to do something easy that didn’t require doing a load in the dishwasher. And I decided to try this homemade Irish cream. Yes, Irish cream. A staple of the after-dinner drink, collaborator in the infamous “Irish car bomb” shot, and all-around delicious beverage.

Irish cream is a cream liqueur based on Irish whiskeycream, and other ingredients such as coffee, which can be served on its own or used in mixed drinks or as part of a shot or a whole shot. Irish cream is very popular in the United KingdomCanada, and the United States.

It is usually served on the rocks as a moderately strong beverage on its own, but is often mixed stronger by adding more whiskey or sometimes bourbon, which complements the Irish Whiskey used in production. Coffee liqueur such as Kahlúa and many caramel liqueurs are also used. Baileys is a common addition to White Russians, due to its creamy flavour.

Some recipes for Irish cream liqueur have been published, which use various combinations of Irish whiskey, cream, coffee (sometimes, and usually optional), sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. Many have significantly less alcohol by volume than the commercial brands.

- Wikipedia

At first, I was skeptical. Obviously, we all know that Bailey’s Irish cream (or Carolan’s, or Molly’s, etc, etc) is made with cream & whiskey. But I couldn’t really believe it was that simple to just make it at home. If it was true, why wouldn’t people do it more often?

I think the answer lies with the people who buy instant pudding mix & gray-colored supermarket pickles.

Don’t get me wrong: there’s always a bottle or two of Irish cream in my house. I will probably always buy it. But at least now I know I can make it myself! I’ll never, ever run out. Plus it just makes a great gift!

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Whiskey cake, whiskey cake, I love a whiskey cake.

Whiskey is big in my house.

First of all, I’m part Irish. Jameson has been on my liquor shelf, in the liquor cabinet or on the bar in my grandparent’s basement ever since I can remember. Second of all, my fiancé is quite the bourbon connoisseur. If they make it, he either has it currently or has had it in the past. So pretty much every available surface in my dining room is covered in bottles of various whiskeys & bourbons & ryes.

It’s not a bad problem to have.

Whiskey bundt cake!

‘Cause then when I want to make something like this, I have a lot to choose from. Of course some are off-limits for baking. But the rest are fair game.

For this cake I used a bourbon, actually; Russell’s Reserve 10-year. It specifically says it has vanilla & caramel notes, which I thought was perfect for a cake. Okay I’m lying. Jay said it was perfect for a cake. Whatever.

Whiskey bundt cake.

You should use whatever whiskey or bourbon you like. Be it Jameson, Jack Daniel’s, Colonel Taylor, Russell’s Reserve or Buffalo Trace.

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Double chocolate bourbon cupcakes!

A new year, and a new recipe! And for cupcakes, no less! I haven’t made cupcakes in forever. I know. I’m an asshole, what can I say? I’ve been neglecting the very thing that got my blog any attention when it was a newbie. It’s downright horrifying of me. I’m ashamed & embarrassed. But I’m back in the game!

It’s pretty cold out, so it’s baking time. It’s been baking time since October,  late September even… so who am I kidding? But it’s serious baking time now.  A high of 11° F? I think that means it’s time to bake. And cook. Hell, I’ll use any excuse to have the oven on when it’s this cold. Plus… I got a new oven… now I’m REALLY using any excuse! Yup- on December 26th, Santa Claus brought me a late Christmas present: a new gas stove, refrigerator & dishwasher. I have no backsplash yet, and my new counters are far in the future, but I can finally cook & keep butter cold. It’s pretty sweet. So yeah, I’ve been busy breaking in my new range & getting used to it. It’s beauuuuutiful!

And really, for me, what better way to break that baby in than with cupcakes?

Chocolate bourbon cupcakes with vanilla frosting & a chocolate bourbon ganache.

Everybody loves cupcakes. Except Duff Goldman. I mean, right? How can you hate a mini-individually-sized-cake? What could possibly be SO BAD about having a small cake, all to yourself? Oh. I get it. Anything “trendy” is awful. Mmm hmm. So I guess you don’t use an iPhone, a mason jar or eat kale either, correct? ANYWAY….

These are cupcakes WITH BOOZE. Oh, yes. So there’s even more to love.

Chocolate bourbon cupcakes! With chocolate bourbon ganache!

I think anyone who hates cupcakes is nuts, personally. But I digress…

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A pie for the ages: bourbon sweet potato pumpkin pie!

I’m publishing this pie today, because I wanted to give you time to make it for Thanksgiving. I purposely didn’t post it too early, and I specifically waited until this date. I wanted to give you enough time to really absorb what you’re seeing. Then get up, go out to the store & get the ingredients you need to make this, then come home & plan to do so on/by Thursday. I felt it had to be done this way. So I’m giving you a few days, and I expect you all to make it. You must. Seriously.

It’s THAT good.

Don’t believe me?

Bourbon sweet potato pumpkin pie, anyone?

It’s the pie to end all pies.

It’s a pie for the ages!

Bourbon. Sweet potato. Pumpkin. With toasted meringue. Toasted bourbon meringue, that is.

Sweet potato pumpkin pie with bourbon! And more bourbon in the meringue.

Say word.

A motherflippin’ bourbon sweet potato pumpkin pie with toasted bourbon meringue! 

When I told Jay of my plans to make it, his jaw dropped open. And he doesn’t even really like pumpkin anything! I knew I was on to something. Although, in hindsight, it might have just been the mention of bourbon. Either way, I combined a few different recipes for a few different pies & came up with this: the holy grail of autumn piedom.

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Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream.

‎”Ice-cream is exquisite. What a pity it isn’t illegal.” —Voltaire‎

Kings County Distillery chocolate flavored whiskey.

One can only imagine what Voltaire would say about this ice cream in particular: a double whammy of both chocolate and chocolate-flavored whiskey from the Kings County Distillery, made for my favorite guy’s 32nd birthday. Yup, that’s right. Jay turns the big 3-2 today! Just so you know- he’s older than I am (by a whopping 2 months & 7 days, but let’s not get into that). See the thing is, usually I ask him what he wants me to bake for him for his birthday (as I do with everyone), then I bake it and give it to him on the actual day. But this year, Jay’s been on tour for over a week and he’s got a show tonight too. So tomorrow is his only day off and then Saturday it’s back to work. I decided to make something that would keep well and only get better with age (like Jay!).

What better than whiskey ice cream?

Chocolate whiskey ice cream. Made with two types of chocolate and chocolate "flavored" whiskey from Kings Co. Distillery.

I mean, the man’s been on tour for a week drinking probably nothing but bourbon & whiskey. Why not just keep the streak going?

Not to mention the fact that I believe it’s officially ice cream time. Memorial Day is next week, and the weather was a partly cloudy yet humid 75° F when I made this batch. To me, that means it’s the start of ice cream season. The whiskey I used for this is, like I said, from Kings County Distillery in Brooklyn, NY. It has actual bits of dark chocolate floating around in it. It’s pretty strong, in my opinion it’s not a terrific “sipping whiskey,” more so one that’s best suited for mixing or baking. However it also has a strong chocolate aftertaste that makes this ice cream super special. But a regular whiskey or bourbon works just fine, too. And I can just imagine using that cherry bourbon chocolate sauce on this… lawdamercy. But the topping I used was pretty spectacular (keep reading for that).

This should probably be called ‘triple chocolate whiskey’ ice cream since there’s two types of chocolate PLUS chocolate whiskey. Call it whatever you want. Either way, it’s amazing.

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream made with two kinds of chocolate PLUS chocolate 'flavored' whiskey from Kings Co. Distillery.

Triple chocolate ice cream: the creamiest ice cream you'll ever make. Or eat. Made with Kings Co. Distillery's chocolate whiskey.I love the way the light reflected & made a halo around the bowls. Even Mother Nature loves this ice cream!

CHOCOLATE CHOCOLATE WHISKEY ICE CREAM

Recipe can be doubled

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup Kings County Distillery chocolate flavored whiskey
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces chopped dark chocolate

Directions:

  1. Whisk together egg yolks, whiskey and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan, whisk together cream, vanilla, chocolate and 1/4 cup of sugar. Simmer over low heat until the chocolate is melted. Temper egg yolk mixture by slowly adding hot cream mixture to the egg yolk mixture, with a ladle, a little at a time. Once egg yolk mixture is thoroughly warmed add to the saucepan with the warm cream mixture. Stir until thickened and remove from the heat.
  3. Strain mixture into a bowl over ice. Place the bowl into the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Spin in an ice cream maker for 25 minutes… it probably won’t get much firmer, but this helps “churn” it. Add to a freezer-safe container & freeze for 12-24 hours so it gets firm.

Peanut butter whipped cream!

For an extra special treat, for my peanut butter lover… I made some peanut butter whipped cream to top it with. I know. I know. Don’t even say anything. There’s nothing you CAN say, it’s ridiculous. If you use a creamy peanut butter, yours will look smoother. Mine was crunchy.

Oh. I almost forgot: there are chocolate sprinkles too. Can’t have a birthday without sprinkles.

PEANUT BUTTER WHIPPED CREAM (from Yes, I Want Cake)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter (chunky peanut butter works also, I used it)
  • 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the heavy cream until it’s almost but not quite “stiff.”
  2. Add the peanut butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat for another minute & serve.

Triple chocolate WHISKEY ice cream. Two types of chocolate and chocolate whiskey come together to make the creamiest, smoothest, most chocolatey ice cream ever. Oh, and there's peanut butter whipped cream to go with it.

Yeah. Not much to say about that. Well, other than WHOA. This is literally the softest, most creamy ice cream I ever made. It’s super decadent, fudgy & delicious. But it also has a little whiskey bite. Not much, mind you, just enough. However… it melts fast! So be careful. Only take it out right when you’re gonna serve it. It does NOT have to sit out & soften. In my experience, it’s ready to go right out of the freezer. Of course, if you freeze it for weeks, it might get a bit harder, but it still isn’t going to take long to “defrost” enough to serve. I also wouldn’t serve it in cones, it’s far too creamy.

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream. Dark chocolate & semisweet chocolate combine with chocolate whiskey to make a smooth, creamy, rich ice cream that you'll LOVE. Add some peanut butter whipped cream & chocolate sprinkles to complete the experience.

On that note I’ll end this by saying…

Happy birthday Jay! And many more…

Chocolate chocolate whiskey ice cream with peanut butter whipped cream!

Psst.. .the tiki mug giveaway is still going strong. You’ve got until May 27th at 11:59 p.m. to enter. So go!

Sources & credits: Arcoroc French made smoky-clear glass bowls; vintage, Le Creuset mini coccottes in “Twilight” (white shown).

Maple-whiskey pickles; version 2.0.

The Pickle Sisters, c. 1920′s, image courtesy of Retronaut

A safe assumption here would be that you’re a new reader who doesn’t remember the previous version of these I created. That would be not only the safest assumption, but the most logical, seeing as how I’m sure the majority of people who are googling “whiskey maple pickles” or some variation of that haven’t been reading my blog (although THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN). Because let’s face it, if they were, they’d have known about the previous incarnation of this recipe & they wouldn’t need to be Googling it. But I am not naive nor conceited enough to think everyone in the world knows about/reads my blog.

So here’s a little recap: last year I made pickles. In those pickles, there was not only the usual suspects: dill, pickling spices, salt, vinegar, etc… but also maple syrup & bourbon.

Seriously.

They were pretty awesome, and I don’t even like pickles (!). I do, however, make them for other people’s enjoyment. And Jay loves him some pickles.

Maple Whiskey pickles made with Cabin Fever whiskey!

If you’re too lazy to click a link, then here’s a little more in-depth copy + paste for ya from the original post:

… Maple-bourbon pickles. Inspired by the Brooklyn Brine Company’s Whiskey Sour pickles, which I first saw in Williams-Sonoma. I decided to make a jar or two of these for Jay. I’m not cheap, far from it, but paying $12.95 for 24 oz. of pickles seemed a bit… over-indulgent. Especially when I figured I could make them myself. At first he wasn’t sure how he’d feel about them, but then he had one of their pickles when he played a show at the St. Vitus Bar & raved about it, so I thought “Why not make one teensy jar of them & see?” It seemed unique enough. How bad could it be? It’s pickles + whiskey. That’s a pretty rock star pickle.

In case you’re wondering, [a Pickleback] is an actual thing you can order in some bars. That name for it originated at The Bushwick Country Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2007. It’s a shot of whiskey (from what I’ve read, it’s usually Jameson, but at The Bushwick Country Club they use Old Crow) with a pickle juice, or brine, chaser (they use McClure’s [pickles]). The brine neutralizes the burn of the alcohol & the taste of the whiskey. Once I learned that, through a NYT article from almost 2 years ago, I thought the whiskey pickle idea was even more interesting.

I had high hopes back then that my versions of these two insanely genius pickles would be pretty awesome, if not perfectly awesome. And Jay confirmed that they were, noting that his favorite of the two (between the plain bourbon pickles & the maple-bourbon) was indeed the batch with maple syrup.

Jay is a big pickle guy, but he said those were probably his favorites of all the ones I made (until he had the hop pickles- but that’s another story). Anyway, he had a bunch of pickles open in the fridge and then Superstorm Sandy hit & knocked out the power FOR YEARS & YEARS. Or a few weeks. Whatever. And then after weeks of sitting in a refrigerator that wasn’t on, all those pickle jars had to be thrown away, whether they were almost empty or practically full. It was very sad to see all that work tossed in the garbage- especially since I only had a few unopened jars of pickles left and none of them were the bourbon pickles. *insert long sigh*

Maple whiskey pickle prep

But alas… the story continues. You see, a friend of Jay’s owns a bar in Brooklyn called The Monro Pub. And through him Jay discovered this whiskey called Cabin Fever, which is essentially Grade B dark maple syrup blended with 80 proof whiskey.

For real. This is a thing.

Cabin Fever maple whiskey pickles

And upon hearing of such a wondrous thing, and then tasting such a wondrous thing, I decided that the only thing left to do would be to remake those maple-whiskey pickles using this delectable & convenient whiskey product. Not to mention the fact that now I have a better camera, so I can take nicer pictures of these lovely little pickles.

I know, it’s not really pickling season yet. But like I said last week about those strawberry jam cakes… sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

MARILLA’S SUPER AWESOME MAPLE-WHISKEY PICKLES WITH CABIN FEVER WHISKEY

Makes about 2 pints, recipe can be doubled or tripled

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 small pickling cucumbers (about 1- 1 1/2 pounds), or regular cucumbers if you’re going to slice them into chips… I usually use Kirby’s myself (just don’t use the large waxed ones! Persian cucumbers are okay, not perfect but they’ll work)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons Cabin Fever maple whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon pickling salt
  • 2 heads fresh dill, or 2 sprigs of fresh dill PLUS 1/2 heaping teaspoon dill seeds, divided
  • 1 teaspoon pickling spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seed
  • a dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of hot pepper flakes or one half of a small Serrano chili pepper, finely diced
  • dash of chili powder- OPTIONAL
  • 2 small cloves garlic
  • a few slices of onions (“rings”)- OPTIONAL

Directions:

  1. Cut a thin slice from the ends of each cucumber. This prevents a “mushy” pickle, as the ends of cucumbers contain an enzyme that makes them mushy. Then slice cucumbers as you like- slices, spears or sandwich-size; or leave them whole. Place jars in canner to sterilize them and place lids in hot water to soften seal.
  2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove hot jars from canner. Pour 3 tablespoons Cabin Fever maple whiskey in each jar. Place 1 head fresh dill or 1 heaping teaspoon dill seeds, onion (if using), 1/4 teaspoon pickling spice, the mustard seed, black pepper, onions, hot pepper flakes and 1 minced clove of garlic into each jar; pack in cucumbers tightly.
  3. Pour boiling vinegar/water mixture over cucumbers to within ½ inch of rim (head space). Place lids & bands. Process 10 minutes for pint jars and 15 minutes for quart jars.
  4. Allow jars to sit for at least one week before opening for optimal flavor, but no one will kill you if you crack one open early.

Maple whiskey pickle jar... ready for cucumbers & brine!

Cabin Fever is definitely the whiskey to use for this. It makes it easier, kills two birds with one stone, whatever cliche you want to use. It takes the guesswork out of finding both a good quality maple syrup & a good whiskey (especially if you’re whiskey-stupid like I am). I usually depend on Jay to tell me what’s whiskey, what’s bourbon, what’s rye & what just plain sucks. But then there’s always the problem of making sure you’ve got a nice maple syrup that isn’t just 90% high-fructose corn syrup colored brown. This way, I know I can use this and it’ll work out just fine and not taste like gasoline pickles.

If you’re interested in the original recipe (using bourbon & maple syrup), then follow your nose here. Included in that post is also a recipe for plain bourbon pickles, and whiskey can definitely be substituted as you see fit.

Speaking of whiskey- I found a new favorite blog: Pork & Whisk(e)y.

Maple whiskey pickles!

Note: please follow all the appropriate canning procedures when creating your pickles. I will not be held responsible for your botulism related medical issues and/or death. Make sure you know what you’re doing before attempting to jar any shelf-stable food products. Alternately, make them according to the recipe and as soon as the jars are cooled, place them in the refrigerator.

Pickles made with Cabin Fever maple whiskey! on Punk Domestics

“Bartender, I’ll have a pickleback.”

**ATTENTION! ATTENTION! In April 2013, I did a redo of the maple-bourbon pickles in this post, version 2.0 if you will, made with Cabin Fever maple blended whiskey. This wonderful recipe can be found here: maple-whiskey pickles, version 2.0, so check it out!**

I haven’t made pickles since September. Probably because cucumbers are no longer “in season”; meaning I can still get them, but they’re far from the best quality. They’re somewhat wonky-looking for the most part. But of course, I can pick a pickle pretty good, so I decided instead of waiting for cucumber season I just went for it & picked the best damn cucumbers I could out of the offerings at the store. Why? Because I wanted to make some of these.

Bourbon pickles & maple-bourbon pickles. Inspired by the Brooklyn Brine Company’s Whiskey Sour pickles, which I first saw in Williams-Sonoma. I decided to make a jar or two of these for Jay. I’m not cheap, far from it, but paying $12.95 for 24 oz. of pickles seemed a bit… over-indulgent. Especially when I figured I could make them myself. At first he wasn’t sure how he’d feel about them, but then he had one of their pickles when he played a show at the St. Vitus Bar & raved about it, so I thought “Why not make one teensy jar of them & see?” It seemed unique enough. How bad could it be? It’s pickles + whiskey. That’s a pretty rock star pickle.

That is not actually Brooklyn, it’s San Antonio. Whatever.

I mean, dude up there just got back from the Netherlands where he performed with Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Napalm Death & a ton of other famous metal bands. Crazy, right?

So yeah. I had to make him something special, & this is something special. Like I said, its one rock star pickle. Not to mention the fact that it includes whiskey makes it appropriate for St. Patty’s Day too. I mean, pickles are green, whiskey reminds me of being Irish (Irish whiskey, Irish coffee, hello?) and that’s enough for me. In case you’re wondering, a Pickleback is an actual thing you can order in some bars. That name for it originated at The Bushwick Country Club in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2007. It’s a shot of whiskey (from what I’ve read, it’s usually Jameson, but at The Bushwick Country Club they use Old Crow) with a pickle juice, or brine, chaser (they use McClure’s). The brine neutralizes the burn of the alcohol & the taste of the whiskey. Once I learned that, through a NYT article from almost 2 years ago, I thought the whiskey pickle idea was even more interesting. See, I’m not a whiskey girl. All I know about it is that if I’m forced to drink it in any capacity & I’m given a choice… I’ll take Jameson over Jack any damn day of the week. But other than that forget it. I’m lost. Whiskey, Rye, Bourbon, it’s all Greek to me. So I asked Jay what to use in these & he gave me a bottle of Blanton’s to use. It’s not a super high-end bourbon, yet it’s not the cheapest, so the flavor is decent. You don’t want to use cheap stuff for this, it might sounds obvious but really… the flavor is going to dictate the pickles so please don’t use gasoline-tasting whiskey just to save money. Use one that actually can be enjoyed on it’s own.

New York & pickles are synonymous it seems, especially to New Yorkers. So therefore Brooklyn has quite a history with pickles. I love Brooklyn. I spend some of my spare time looking at gorgeous pre-war apartments (that I’ll probably never actually move into) with exposed brick in Brooklyn (along with many other places like the Upper & Lower East Side, etc). I think Brooklyn is amazing (for the most part, there are a lot of shitty things about it too). I love the Brooklyn Bowl, I love the Brooklyn Brewery & I love Radegast Hall. I’ve never been to the St. Vitus Bar but from what I heard it’s sweet, I have been to Duff’s though (not impressed- seeing that “metal” chick from Fuse dancing on tables in a corset isn’t my idea of fun). And now there’s Brooklyn Brine Co. And the thing I like about Brooklyn Brine Co. is that they’re making interesting things like this & lavender asparagus, chipotle carrots & fennel beets. Not to mention their maple bourbon bread & butter pickles. Yeah, I know. Needless to say those were on Jay’s list too, so I had to make them as well (keep reading for that). So yes, I dig what they’re doing over there. But I’m confident enough that I can do it too; and not have to buy theirs.

MARILLA’S “PICKLEBACK” WHISKEY-BRINE PICKLES

Makes about 4 pints

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 small pickling cucumbers (about 3 pounds), or regular cucumbers if you’re going to slice them into chips… I usually use Kirby’s myself (just don’t use the large waxed ones!)
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups water
  • ½ cup whiskey
  • 2 tablespoons sea salt
  • 4 heads fresh dill or 4 heaping teaspoons dill seeds
  • 2 teaspoons pickling spice
  • ½ teaspoon mustard seed
  • a dash of freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon hot pepper flakes or one Serrano chili pepper, finely diced
  • dash of chili powder (optional)
  • 4 small cloves garlic

Directions:

  1. Cut a thin slice from the ends of each cucumber. This prevents a “mushy” pickle, as the ends of cucumbers contain an enzyme that makes them mushy. Then slice cucumbers as you like- slices, spears or sandwich-size; or leave them whole. Place jars in canner to sterilize them and place lids in hot water to soften seal.
  2. Meanwhile, combine vinegar, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove hot jars from canner. Pour ⅛ cup whiskey or bourbon in each jar. Place 1 head fresh dill or 1 heaping teaspoon dill seeds, ½ teaspoon pickling spice, the mustard seed, black pepper, hot pepper flakes and 1 smashed clove of garlic into each jar; pack in cucumbers tightly.
  3. Pour boiling vinegar/water mixture over cucumbers to within ½ inch of rim (head space). Place lids & bands. Process 10 minutes for pint jars and 15 minutes for quart jars.
  4. Allow jars to sit for at least one week before opening for optimal flavor, but no one will kill you if you crack one open early.

The color changes after the processing in the water bath. Ever notice that about pickles? That they’re usually a darker army-green in the jar, whereas Kosher dills stay brighter? That all has to do with fermenting vs. processing, and the vinegar brine vs. a salty water brine. End of today’s lesson.

Because of the apple cider vinegar & whiskey, they should be a bit on the sweeter side, but not too sweet. The white vinegar, garlic, peppers & salt would make up for it. I made this recipe up based on the ingredients the Brooklyn Brine Co. lists as being in their Whiskey Sour pickles, so I am in no way saying it’s the same exact flavor or pickle- especially since I didn’t use the same type of peppers or the same brand of whiskey (they use Finger Lakes Distilling McKenzie Rye Whiskey). This is just my version of it. That said, they do sell a pickling kit, however I do not think it’s for their Whiskey pickles, unless they include a recipe for it in the recipe packet.

As far as the maple bourbon pickles, I just used the same recipe as above, but I added caramelized onions, ⅛ cup good quality maple syrup (added with the whiskey) and omitted the hot pepper. I also cut the cukes into “chips” with a crinkled cutter instead of making spears. I also couldn’t find decent Kirby’s so I used small “snacking” cucumbers, which are longer & thinner than Kirby’s, hence the tiny little chips I got. I also added some caramelized onions to the regular bourbon pickles, because I made more than I needed for just one jar.

As soon as these babies are opened & Jay gives me his expert opinion, I’ll come back & edit this with the reviews & results.

EDIT 3/15/12: Okay the results are in! Consensus is that they’re both “fucking awesome.” Jay favors the maple-bourbon but said they’re both equally amazing. The regular bourbon batch could’ve used a slightly bigger hit of heat, so keep that in mind. I’d go for doubling the amount of pepper flakes in the recipe above; if you’re using actual Serrano you might be fine, especially if you leave in the seeds. In the spirit of knowledge, I tried both & it’s amazing how true it is that the vinegary pickle brine & the bourbon interact in such a way that you end up without the intensity of the alcohol & without the super tang of the brine. Good luck & happy pickling!

Blanton's bourbon & (maple-bourbon) pickles. on Punk Domestics

Fi, fie, fo, fum, I smell soda cake & Jameson.

Sometimes when I make Irish soda cake, I feel like I’m in the story Jack in the Beanstalk & I’m Jack, but everyone around me are the giants. It’s so amazing, and it smells so good, that people just go nuts for it. I think if I fell on the floor & was unconscious, they’d step over me to grab a piece. I’m serious. And I don’t really blame them. Don’t believe me? Check this out. Chrisie told me she loves my Irish soda cake and she even took to Facebook & elaborated on how much:

I guess that means she really likes it. See what she said about the tea-soaked raisins? It gave me an idea. Now me personally? I’m not into raisins. I did like the California Raisins, though. But anyway, I thought of her tea-soaked raisins which made me think of rum-raisin, and then my brain went straight to Jameson Irish whiskey. And then it went to Jameson-soaked raisins. I wasn’t going to put them in the cake, but on top. And I decided, like Chrisie, to make the cake into little muffins or cupcakes. Then I’d top them with a vanilla-Jameson glaze & some Irish whiskey-soaked golden raisins.

Shut the front door, right?

And yes, I left some plain with just a nice, sugary crust on top.

IRISH SODA MUFFINCAKES WITH JAMESON-SOAKED RAISINS & JAMESON GLAZE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps. melted shortening (or butter)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Make wet dough: mix salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and sugar. Beat eggs lightly and add melted shortening and buttermilk.
  2. Mix all together until combined. If too watery, add a bit more flour. If too thick, add a bit more buttermilk.
  3. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. Fill each liner with two-three tablespoons of batter.
  4. Before putting in the oven, sprinkle sugar on top (if not using the raisins & glaze).
  5. Bake at 375 degrees° F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

JAMESON-SOAKED RAISINS

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 3-4 tablespoons Jameson Irish Whiskey (enough to cover the raisins)

Directions:

  1. Place raisins in a small bowl and pour whiskey over them.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a cool, dry place for about a half hour, 45 minutes.
  3. When ready to use, remove raisins using a small strainer to remove excess whiskey. Use the whiskey in a drink or even in the glaze (below).

JAMESON WHISKEY GLAZE

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Jameson Irish whiskey (or whatever brand you prefer), you can use whatever is left after the raisins have soaked too
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. For glaze, pour sugar & Jameson into a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil rapidly for 1 full minute. Remove from heat, whisk in butter & vanilla. Let set to thicken slightly for a few minutes. Place raisins on top of the muffins. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over cooled muffincakes, making sure to cover the raisins.

Forreals, yo.

I prefer to use golden raisins on these because let’s face it- regular raisins can look like mouse crap. Sorry if that ruined your appetite, haha. And of course, the colors of the golden raisins go better with the color of the cakes and the green liners anyway. Those fancy “ruffled” liners are by Wilton. I baked the muffincakes in regular white liners, then put them in the fancier ones after they’d cooled.

So basically, feedback on these has been “holy balls” & “wow” & statements along those lines. I didn’t have any, ’cause like I said, I don’t like raisins. But.. if you want to be on a super Jameson kick, then pair these with some Irish coffee. Or Irish coffee my way, which is coffee with milk & sugar & Jameson, then topped with whipped cream.

Prohibition cupcakes.

Remember last week when I said nowadays I take my whiskey in the form of marmalade… or cupcakes? Heh. Did you know then what was coming with this post? Anyway, I decided before the Halloween treats get into full swing, I’d do a little something different. Those of you who are Facebook fans of CR saw a preview of these the other day, but sadly the way Facebook compresses photos, even when they say they’re “hi-res” leaves a lot to be desired. Hopefully these photos look a bit better… if not, at least there’s some semi-interesting storytelling coming your way.

One of my absolute most beloved shows on television is Boardwalk Empire. Thank you, HBO, for having some of the best shows on television, ALWAYS. It just so happens that not only am I a big Steve Buscemi fan (Valley Stream represent! Okay so I’m not from Valley Stream, but I’m close enough), but that time in history, particularly in American history, is one of my favorites. I always say I was born 81 years too late; I should’ve been born in 1900 and been a suffragette & a flapper in the roaring ’20′s. Yes, it’s highly romanticized, and in reality it wasn’t a very easy time to be alive, but still. I’m an old soul & I think I was definitely meant to be around then… or perhaps I was, in another life. In that same vein, a new documentary by Ken Burns premiered on Sunday, called Prohibition, and it too is fantastic.

My great-grandfather Tom Rooney was a rum-runner during Prohibition, starting when my grandmother & her brother were babies (my grandmother was born in 1918, her brother 1919). As Prohibition wore on, it got a bit more dangerous & by the mid-to-late 1920′s he had quite a few children & it wasn’t much worth the risk any more. On the other side, as a child my grandfather used to go & get/bring home the disguised beer in an aluminum can (called “rushing the duck”) in exchange for some bakery buns (you can see where I get my priorities from) or a quarter from his uncle. Not to mention the fact that my aforementioned great-grandfather owned a bar. We’re a big liquor lovin’ family. On those sides alone, we’re Irish, German, Prussian, Austrian, etc… so what else do you expect? Not to give in to a stereotype or anything but I mean, last week I posted lemon-orange whiskey marmalade. This week it’s whiskey cupcakes. Forget about the many reasons why, it’s clear I might as well have a Tommy gun under my arm, a cigarette hanging from my mouth & a stolen case full of Pimm’s next to my bathtub full of homemade gin.

Obviously, the inspiration from these cupcakes came from both HBO’s Boardwalk Empire as well as the Ken Burns’ documentary Prohibition, not to mention some old photos of my grandparents, and first & foremost Jay. The photos of my grandparents, while from 1937, aren’t from the exact same era, but they’re so ‘Bonnie & Clyde‘ looking that they just reminded me of Prohibition… & guns & liquor, too, haha. Not that there’s any of that in the pictures!

How awesome are those photos? I love them. I have two photos of both my great-grandmothers that actually are from 1919/1920, one can be found at this post, but somehow the feel of the above pictures seem to capture the essence & style I was looking for better.

As far as Jay’s part in all this, he was really the main catalyst. A while back, he was out with his friends at a bar & tasted something new: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey. He immediately thought of me baking with it, and bought some. How cute is he? Very. So I was thinking of what I’d make with it, perhaps a rum cake, except without the rum but with the JD… and maybe a honey glaze? Then I tasted it. Okay, well, I’m not a whiskey connoisseur nor am I a fan of Jack Daniel’s. I much prefer the sweeter, smoother taste of Jameson (and preferably in coffee if anything), so this new blend of Jack with honey liqueur was not really that different to me than regular Jack. Sure, I got the honey smell, however I tasted good ol’ Jack more than the honey. But I could tell that when added to some sugar, it’d be really delicious. So I decided to just go with cupcakes! I didn’t get the idea for the theme until the season 2 premiere of Boardwalk Empire, and of course the first night of Prohibition. What a better way to enjoy these TV shows than with some cupcakes filled with whiskey!?

And boy, did I ever make cupcakes. I made honey whiskey cupcakes with some delicious Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey whiskey in both the cake & the frosting, topping them off with sugar pearls, gold chunky crystal sugar & teeny little liquor bottles (courtesy of Primp My Cupcake at Etsy) on them… frosted with a jumbo closed star tip from The Cupcake Social, black liners are from Wilton. Keepin’ it classy!

Aren’t they the cat’s pajamas?

JACK DANIEL’S HONEY WHISKEY PROHIBITION CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey whiskey liqueur
  • 3 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup honey
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt; set aside. In a small bowl, mix yogurt/sour cream, vanilla, whiskey; set aside.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream butter until fluffy. Add honey and sugar; mix well. Add eggs, one at a time.
  4. Add half of the reserved dry ingredients to the butter mixture; mix on low until just combined. With mixer running on low, slowly add the whiskey mixture.
  5. Add remaining dry ingredients until just combined.
  6. Fill cupcake liners ⅔ full and bake 18-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

JACK DANIEL’S TENNESSEE HONEY (ITALIAN MERINGUE) BUTTERCREAM

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup sugar plus 4 tablespoons
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • ⅓ cup water
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • ¼-½ teaspoon Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey whiskey liqueur

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and ⅓ cup water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238° degrees on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
  2. Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.
  3. With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in honey, then the whiskey. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth. Don’t be alarmed if the frosting gets “slippery” in the bowl; that’s from the alcohol. It’ll pipe just fine.

What a perfect way to sneak your alcohol- put it in a cupcake! As I was making these I came up with another amazing idea: make a whiskey custard, then fill honey cupcakes with it, and top them off with a whiskey/honey buttercream. I bet a whiskey custard would knock ‘em dead. And they’d also be great for New Year’s cupcakes. Although I have to make a confession: I didn’t make the above buttercream. I just made a confectioner’s sugar buttercream and added some whiskey & honey (similar to this recipe). Only because it was late, I had eaten a big meal, I was tired, and the thought of the boiling sugar & the whipping of egg whites into meringue made me want to crawl into bed. Either way, they’re amazeballs. Whiskey makes a great frosting!

Another confession? I’d much prefer this frosting on a plain vanilla cake as opposed to the modified honey-cake I used. It was good, don’t get me wrong. However I must say it felt a bit like overkill… I think it’d be better with just a cupcake made with pure vanilla topped with the whiskey-based frosting. I’m a bit boring like that.

Like anything else, creating them/decorating them is only half the presentation. You have to dress the part. So I wore my brand new wingtip brogues. Nucky Thompson ain’t got nothin’ on me!

The consensus was that these cupcakes (and the shoes) were super cute & super good. Try ‘em. Preferably while listening to Sophie Tucker.

Whiskey is an extremely fall/winter-ish addition to any baked good or food (or drink). It’s warming by it’s very nature. So this recipe will work excellently all winter, substituting bourbon or scotch or any kind of good quality whiskey for the Jack Daniel’s I used; I’d just remove the honey, especially in the cupcakes (& in turn up the sugar content) unless you’re really looking for that particular flavor. Honey can be kinda obvious in some recipes, it’s not always subtle, so just keep that in mind.

Happy No-More-Prohibition (even though it was actually repealed on December 5th, 1933, you can still celebrate now)!

“Nothing so needs reforming as other people’s habits. Fanatics will never learn that, though it be written in letters of gold across the sky. It is the prohibition that makes anything precious.” Mark Twain