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Posts Tagged ‘alcohol in food’

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I always keep bananas in our freezer.  It is B’s absolutely favorite thing.  I can tell since every time he opens the freezer, they fall out (our freezer is terrible, blame it on the fact we’re renters), and he yells something in joy.  I’m not going to say what he yells, seeing that this is polite company.

Regardless of B’s feelings towards the freezer bananas, I decided to make a banana bread to bring along for our trip to the Poconos.  I’ve previously made bananas foster cupcakes and I came across this recipe on Pintrest, which lead me to want to try this  recipe.  I made a few adjustments since I prefer a bit more banana flavor.  I also went with the fat-free greek yogurt instead of the fat-free regular yogurt because I’m a big fan of greek yogurt and its been awhile since I’ve used it.

Bananas Foster Bread
Serves 16, 5 Weight Watchers PP per serving

5-6 mashed ripe bananas
1 cup packed brown sugar, divided
5 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons dark rum
1/3 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt (I used Fage)
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups ounces all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with cooking spray. Set aside. (I ended up using 2 – 4.5 x 8.5 pans)
  2. Combine bananas, 1/2 cup brown sugar, butter, and rum in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat; cool.
  3. Place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs. Beat with a stand or hand mixer at medium speed.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice.
  5. Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat just until blended.
  6. Pour batter into your prepared loaf pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

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On New Years Eve, I was looking for something sweet and delicious and alcoholic.  If there’s one thing that’s pretty standard for our house is that there’s a plethora of bourbon and scotch but not so much for the “sweet” alcoholic beverage concoctions.  I came across this recipe and decided to change it up based on what we had in our place.

Jen’s Dirty Grasshopper
1 serving, (100% not Weight Watchers Friendly, I think it’s around 12 PP)

1.5 oz Smirnoff vodka (or any equivalent type)
1 oz creme de menthe
1 oz Kahlua coffee liqueur
fill with non-fat milk

Pour vodka, creme de menthe, and kahlua in a glass over ice. Add milk to fill. Garnish with whatever you’d like, and serve.

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So I love me some eggnog.   Unfortunately, I think it has to be up there with everything on the “this is why you’re fat” website.  So I searched for a “better” alternative.  Unfortunately, everything in the store that has the “light” label on it was also not really acceptable.  When nothing in the store satisfies, make it yourself, I always say.  I found this recipe on the Food Network’s website.  It originally called for vanilla bean, which I could not (and didn’t really have the patience to) find.  I thought it came out pretty good, B thought it was a little orange-y tasting for his tastes and as a replication of the out of carton version of eggnog.  When I make in the future (that is, tonight to enjoy with some bourbon) I’m going to use less orange peel.  Enjoy!

Low-Fat Eggnog (Adapted from Food Network)
6 servings (1/2 cup), 3 Weight Watchers Points Plus per serving

2 cups nonfat milk
2 large strips orange zest
1 large strip of lemon zest
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Bourbon (optional)
Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Directions

Combine 1 1/2 cups milk and the citrus zest in a medium saucepan. Add the vanilla extract to the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium bowl until light yellow.

Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour back into the pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion until the eggnog begins to thicken, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the remaining 1/2 cup milk to stop the cooking. Transfer the eggnog to a large bowl and place over a larger bowl of ice to cool, then chill until ready to serve.

Remove the orange and lemon zest and and strain into pitcher and/or glasses. Spike the eggnog with bourbon (or white rum if preferred), if desired, and garnish with nutmeg.

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So like I had mentioned in my previous blog, I’ve been under the weather for the past few weeks.  One of the things that has been plaguing me was a persistent case of hives.  By this week it had spread to dangerous levels and I ended up in the hospital for a few days.  So to continue with my “bad blogger” phenomenon I haven’t cooked a new or interesting meal in a long time (side note, B did make fake bacon wrapped scallops the night before I was admitted and they were flippin’ fantastic).

Since I usually work from home and B works 8-10 hours in the lab, our dog Margot was very kindly looked after by our neighbors.  As a thank you we wanted to make them something that fit our dog and theirs (Nola) since they had non-stop playtime for almost 48 hrs (with the exception of the few hours B was not with me and was at home).  In honor of the two dogs and to thank our neighbors, we decided to make Margot-rita and Nola Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes.  The decorative aspect of these..is.uh..well…lacking.  I do not attest to being anywhere close to a decorator and this proves it.  I didn’t calculate the points values since they were a gift but I’m sure they’re not Weight Watchers friendly.

(Pardon our filthy stove in this picture, there was a lot of baking done)

Margot-rita Cupcakes (adapted from Recipe Girl and Annie’s Eats)
(makes about 10 cupcakes)

Cupcakes
3 oz liquid Margarita mix
1 oz tequila
1/4 oz Triple Sec
1/2 box white cake mix (I used Pillsbury Extra Moist)
1 1/2 large egg whites
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp lime zest

Icing
1 sticks unsalted butter (1/2 cup), at room temperature
2 to 3 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2-4 tsp tequila (this is approximate because we did this to taste)
1/8 tsp coarse sea salt
1 tsp grated lime zest
green food coloring, if desired
small lime slices for garnish, if desired

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a cupcake tin with liners.

Whisk together margarita mix, tequila and Triple Sec in a small bowl. The combination should measure a bit more than 1/2 cup.  In a large bowl, blend cake mix, egg whites, vegetable oil, lime zest and the margarita mix. Blend on low for about 30 seconds and then increase speed to medium and blend for two additional minutes. Batter will be slightly lumpy.  Spoon the batter into cupcake liners (about ¾ full). Bake for 20-25 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes in the pans, then remove them to a rack to cool completely.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled, prepare the icing. Place butter in a large bowl and beat with electric mixer until butter is fluffy. Add powdered sugar, salt, lime juce, tequila, and lime zest. Mix until thick and creamy. Add more powdered sugar until the frosting is of a good spreading (or piping) consistency. (You can mix in a tiny amount of green food coloring or gel paste if you’d like the frosting to have a green tint but I was looking for a buttery color). Ice cupcakes in whatever manner you prefer either by spreading or piping the frosting. Use small lime slices and a sprinkle of coarse sea salt as garnish.

For the specific decoration of these cupcakes, I piped on the frosting and then tried to build up a snout.  Unfortunately the buttercream ended up getting a little warm in my hands and melted a bit so the snout doesn’t look as good as the cola ones (see below how I did that one).  The night before I made up some dark brown and pink royal icing and piped that into eyes, noses, and tongues.  To get the texture on the tongue and noses I let the royal icing dry to a certain extent then used a toothpick.  For the tongue I just drew a simple line.  When I was applying, I cut the tongues to the appropriate length.  For the noses, I used a toothpick and just made little holes and played with it a little to give it some texture.  For the eyes and noses, the piping attachment I used made them look a little like chocolate morsels since I had to pull up.  I also used the toothpicks to even that out so they looked flatter.  The royal icing recipe I used came from Annie’s Eats.

The ears for Margot were made out of tuile cookies.  I did not make them right so we kind of winged it.  She has ridiculous ears so we were ok with it.  Maybe one day I’ll figure out how to roll a cookie and in the future I can make a cupcake that has terrier like dog ears.

Nola Chocolate Cherry Cola Cupcakes (Adapted from Annie’s Eats, Food Network, and Cooks.com )

Cupcakes

1½ cups all-purpose flour
3 tbsp. cocoa powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
¾ cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg
½ cup buttermilk
approx 2 cups Coca-Cola
¼ tsp. maraschino cherry juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Maraschino cherries, stemless

Glaze

3-5 tsp cherry cola (I used about 5 tsp and it ended up being too gooey.  I’d stick with around 3 1/2 tsp.)
3/4 cup powdered sugar

Icing
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla

For cupcakes: Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line  a muffin pan with foil or paper liners.  In a small pot, add about 1 1/2 cups of coca-cola (or another comparable cola).  Turn up heat and allow the cola to reduce down to more of a syrup (This was done to intensify the coke flavor in the cupcakes).  Once this is reduced down measure into a liquid measuring cup and add coke, as needed, to get 3/4 cup of coke (I ended up with about 1/2 cup of reduced coke syrup from the 1 1/2 I started with and then topped it off with more coke).  Set aside to cool.In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir together and set aside.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar and butter.  Mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.   Mix in the egg until incorporated.   In a bowl or large measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, Coke, maraschino cherry juice, and vanilla extract; stir to combine.  (This mixture may look disgusting and/or curdled – it’s okay!) Mix the dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture on low speed, alternately with the liquid ingredients, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing just until incorporated.  Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake liners.  Drop a stemless maraschino cherries into each cupcake well and push them down into the batter.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow to cool in the pan 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

For glaze: Add the cherry cola, 1 teaspoon at a time, to the powdered sugar until it has a good consistency to drizzle on cupcakes. Once cupcakes are cool drizzle the glaze onto them (make sure there is a baking sheet or something under them! It got messy for me).
For icing:Combine confectioners’ sugar and cocoa in small bowl. Add cream and vanilla; beat until stiff.Using a piping bag and one of the fancier attachments (I have no idea how to describe these) I piped the the whipped cream icing on in little dollops.  When the cupcake was completely covered, I cut maraschino cherries in half and placed on in the lower  center of each cupcake.  Using the remainder of the icing, I covered the cherry to create a snout.

For Nola’s ears, I melted some chocolate in the microwave and laid it out on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Using a toothpick, I created a swirly pattern in the chocolate since she is a curly dog.  We allowed the chocolate to cool in the fridge and then cut out ears using an exacto-knife. (See above for description of eyes, nose, and tongue for the dog face)

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B’s birthday is today and for some time I’ve been planning quite the culinary feast for him.  Since I am terrible at getting gifts (read: horrendous) I made the decision quite some time ago that the bulk of the actual good part of his birthday would come from me making special things for him.

The cupcakes I made late last week/this weekend since B’s parents were coming in from out-of-town to celebrate both of our birthdays (which are within almost a month of each other).  These cupcakes defy any type of Weight Watchers criteria.  B figured out I was making cupcakes (but only one of the three types) a few weeks ago and specifically requested that I don’t play with any of the ingredients to make it healthier.  I made three types of cupcakes (I watch way too much of Cupcake Wars I guess) all tailored to B’s favorite flavors.  First, bananas foster is one of his favorite desserts.  Second, the dark and stormy drink is something we have both greatly enjoyed since discovering it on our honeymoon in Key West.  The final cupcake is the real B flavor: fake banana!  He loves fake banana flavor.  Last year for his birthday I made him a chocolate banana (with banana flavoring) cake with banana (flavoring) whipped cream icing.  I also made it into the (vague) shape of a baseball diamond since he’s a big baseball guy.  This year for the banana flavoring concoction I decided to go with the same chocolate/banana blend for the cake but I included banana pudding inside the cupcake and topped it with a banana meringue.

For his actual birthday, I wanted to make something special for him to take to lunch because I would be busy during lunch with my own work related activities.  I made soda bread because it’s the week of St. Patrick’s and I thought it would go well with the stew.  This stew I have been telling B I was going to make him since before Christmas (I promised for months I’d make it for him while I was away the week before Christmas.  I ran out of time and I will never live it down).  Finally I took the plunge!

B’s Birthday Sweets:
Bananas Foster Cupcakes
Dark and Stormy Cupcakes
Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

B’s Birthday Treats:
Irish Soda Bread
Beef and Guinness Stew

REVIEWS

Overall, the cupcakes were VERY well received.  Granted, I didn’t deviate from the recipes much since my baking skills are lacking so the credit really lies with those individuals that created the source recipe.  The banana’s foster cupcakes were a favorite of my in-laws.  I was a little disappointed in those, however.  Since I had to cook them longer than the recipe suggested because the toothpick didn’t come out clean they were a little drier than I would have liked.  The chocolate banana cupcakes I thought were very good; the meringue came out looking and tasting great, the cupcakes were very moist.  The only complaint was that the Jell-O instant pudding was kind of weird inside of the cupcakes.  If I ever do them over again I will omit the pudding filling.  The dark and stormy cupcakes were the highlight of the cupcake wars experience.  They were moist, flavorful (with rum, ginger, and citrus).  Basically they were a dark and stormy drink in cupcake form.

B tells me the beef stew tastes very good (and very Guinnessy which is good for the week of St. Patrick’s Day, I guess) and that the soda bread tastes very good.  I haven’t had a chance to taste the bread yet and I won’t be tasting the beef stew for obvious reasons so we’ll all have to take his word for it on those.

I hope you find an opportunity to try these recipes since they were all seen as a success!

 

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These were a little out of my league in terms of baking skills so again I followed the recipe (source). For the frosting, I made the same batch of cream cheese icing for these and the dark and stormy cupcakes.  Then I added rum to the dark and stormy ones.  This was much more fluid than I anticipated for both because I beat the cream cheese to long and it reached room temperature.

Dark and Stormy Cupcakes

Dark (ginger cake) Batter
2 oz. fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I used approximately 3-4 tsp ground ginger because I didn’t have fresh)
1/2 c molasses
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (I used allspice due to availability in my cupboard)
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c water
1 tsp baking soda
1 egg

Light (rum cake) Batter
3/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c sugar
2 eggs, minus one white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
1/2 c dark rum
1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 c heavy whipping cream

Instructions

Dark Batter
In a large bowl, mix the molasses, sugar, and oil; in another bowl, stir the flour, cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper together. Microwave the water, stir in the baking soda, then add to the molasses bowl. Stir in the grated ginger. Whisk the flour mixture into the molasses mixture, then add the egg and mix until thoroughly combined (you’ll have a dark, bubbling bowl).

Light Batter
Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, then lemon rind, then rum (I used Gosling’s), beating each time until blended (you’ll have curdled-looking chunks from the lemon; don’t worry, it’s supposed to look like that). Combine dry ingredients in another small bowl, then add to batter, alternating with the cream, beginning and ending with the dry stuff. Stir until just blended after each addition.

Combination!
Ladle dark batter into lined cupcake pans so that each is just over half-full, then top each with a big dollop (say, 2 to 2 1/2 tbsp) of light batter (Even with this they still over flowed the cupcake pan in my batch. I would recommend making it less than half-full).

Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool cupcakes for about 15 minutes, then transfer cupcakes to two large platters and poke the hell out of them with a fondue fork (or a seafood fork).

Combine 4 tbsp of butter, 3/8 c sugar, and 1/3 c dark rum (I used Gosling’s) in a saucepan over medium heat; when mixture is liquid, stick it over by the window where the cupcakes cooled for about 10 minutes.  Ladle a large spoonful of the cooled rum sauce over each cupcake.

For frosting
8 oz cold cream cheese
2 1/2 tbsp softened butter
1 C powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
about 1 1/2 (1 shot) – 2 oz of dark rum

Beat cold cream cheese with softened butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until combined. Add dark rum (I used Gosling’s) and stir to combine; repeat as necessary until frosting has reached your optimal level of rumminess.

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