The Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail is a wonderful combination of bourbon, orange liqueur, and ginger syrup with a brûléed orange for garnish; a nice garnish but also a sweet treat to eat.
Every once in awhile, I crave a more sophisticated cocktail; one similar to the classics and not quite as dressed up as some of the fun cocktails I’ve devised for this space. When that happens it’s usually bourbon that comes to mind; I absolutely love the scent and taste of bourbon above all others. Well, OK, maybe tequila does tie for that spot but I will always think of it primarily as a summer sipper and seldom stray far beyond margaritas.
This Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail is a riff of sorts on an Old Fashioned. The Old Fashioned and Manhattan’s were my mother’s favorite drinks and while I never drank one with her as a kid, I can still picture her sipping from a glass with a liquid gold beverage in it and either a beautiful maraschino cherry or a twist of orange. I was of the Shirley Temple set; the fruit were a sign of something special!
This cocktail is a bit sweeter than either of those but make no mistake, it is absolutely bourbon forward, so make sure you use something you love. For this drink I used Maker’s Mark; it’s very much my house brand. I almost opened a bottle of Knob Creek but with four open bottles of bourbon already open in my bar, well, that can wait. I need some drinkers over here…who’s coming to help?
I made this same Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail a couple of weeks ago using blood oranges and it was gorgeous too but for this post, I wanted to brûlée the orange slices, not just candy them and I doubted it would show on the dark red of a blood orange; but switch it up if you want; both are equally delicious.
I can’t deny one of the best parts? That orange slice is entirely edible. A candied orange slice that has been browned a bit with a torch and then allowed to rest in a bourbon and liqueur mixture. Oh my…I need to make more of those pups!
I got a new toy recently and I love it but the results of it are well hidden in these photos today. I never use refrigerator ice for my cocktails that I photograph; those half moon white blobs are distracting and not attractive at all. So I buy my ice from Sprouts; it’s clear and square and looks nice in almost any cocktail.
Still, I wanted to make some of those big ice balls that are so popular in cocktails like this. I’ve tried the small forms that make them and while they do freeze the right shape, they are also cloudy white. I know there is a reason and I know this…I would need a separate machine to be able to achieve what I want and I haven’t been interested enough in clear ice to plop down $500 so I keep trying.
Filtered water is not the answer by the way, neither is boiling it. But I just purchase something new a couple of weeks ago and it does the best job of all I’ve used without totally breaking the bank. The results were good, not perfect but really very good. These are not just pretty but really serve a purpose for cocktail; the ice melts much slower than small cubes; they’re perfect for a sipper like this Bourbon and Orange Brûlée Cocktail.
The unit comes with a container that hold the forms that make the ice round and it’s frozen with more water surrounding the freezing orbs. What I found was that the top two-thirds of the ice really was clear but the bottom still had some of the dreaded white ice. Not a lot though so while I would wish for super clear, these are the best I’ve made and I’m pleased with the rsults; you can see through them!
If you’re a bit of a fanatic about ice too; you might want to check out the Perfect Ice Ball Maker over on Amazon.
Slice the orange into approximately 1/8" slices. In a medium skillet, combine the water and sugar and bring to a boil. Add the orange slices and cook over moderate heat, turning them occasionally, until the liquid is reduced to a thin syrup and the orange slices are translucent, about 20 minutes.
Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the syrup is thick and the slices are tender but still intact, turning occasionally, about 10 minutes. Transfer the orange slices to a rack to cool. Reserve the syrup for another use.
To Make the Cocktail
Combine bourbon, orange liqueur, and ginger syrup in a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice cubes. Stir enough to chill the mixture. and strain it over ice into two rocks glasses. Place an orange slice in the glass. Serve.
For a spectacular holiday celebration, include the Pomegranate Ginger Sparkler. As beautiful as this is; it’s also easy for a crowd. Just mix up the ingredients, pour into glasses and top with chilled sparkling wine. Done!
Sometimes blogging brings big surprises and today it wasn’t all bad. When I went to add a new image to this post, for some odd reason it was put back into draft status even though it originally posted in 2016 and I expected it to be one of my published posts. I’m not sure how or why that happened but it should not have; this Pomegranate Ginger Sparkler is way too beautiful, way too delicious and certainly way too perfect for the holidays to be lost and forgotten…so I’m introducing it again!
This Pomegranate Ginger Sparkler is not just my favorite holiday cocktail made with sparkling wine but it was a big hit at a NYE party I had a couple of years ago; it’s gorgeous and so perfect for the season.
I could wax poetic about how much I love celebrating New Years Eve but the truth is I’m more like my neighbor Sam. When mentioning another neighborly get together for New Years he loved the idea of a French celebration (on France’s time zone so we can be done by 4pm) and Sam is my daughter’s age! Still, no matter the time there will be a glass raised to celebrate the end of another year and toast the possibilities of the one we’re entering. It is certainly a bittersweet moment; saying goodbye to the good and the bad of the past and always with a hope of the things to come.
This cocktail is simple to make but also perfectly beautiful. Pomegranate juice, lemon, ginger and sugar are all simmered together for a few minutes then chilled and topped off in a champagne glass with some sparkling wine. Sounds simple right? And it is. Simply the best.
Seriously one of my favorite cocktails of this year. It’s all about that touch of ginger. And it is just a touch but it adds such a nice little zing to this beauty that makes the end result perfect. The color, the taste, the sparkle…all of it.
It was perfect for a party too. No dealing with measuring while guests wait, just make a batch or three and simply pour into glasses and top with Prosecco (Italy’s version of Champagne!). Whether you stay up til all hours or are planning your own European New Years (do it!), this should be on your list of have to haves; it’s that good.
Though I’m not yet ready to start doing multiple cocktails every week, I have teamed up with a friend to give you two today…I mean it’s a holiday after all! Shanna is the blogger behind the blog Pineapple and Coconut and I think she told me the story about that name but all I think of when I see it is Hawaii. She is not from Hawaii but seems her heart and soul is. Or Bora Bora on off days. She’s made a gorgeous cocktail for New Year’s Eve using St. Germain Liqueur, one of my very favorites. Combined with some pear sorbet and champagne…can’t you just taste the deliciousness?
An elegant New Year’s cocktail made with a spiced poached pear sorbet that’s been spiked with flowery St. Germain liqueur and is topped off with chilled Prosecco. The sorbet flavors the cocktail with every sip while also keeping it chilled. Perfect isn’t it?
Shanna looks prepared to stay up way past my bedtime but then she does live in Vegas. I’m betting she celebrates on Hawaiian time…so all into the next day! Scoot on over to her blog and check out this recipe; nothing wrong with having two cocktails for guests at your party – call this one dessert!
I hope you’ll try one or both for your festivities. I find my guests look most forward to what cocktails I’ll be making so I put my time and attention towards them…and ask them to each bring an appetizer to share. It works for everyone and I love sharing cocktail creations with my neighbors. We all get along so well; hmm, maybe it’s the booze!
The combination of apples and cranberries in this Cranberry Apple Pie with Grand Marnier Whipped Cream will make a delicious compliment to the sweeter offerings at your holiday table. Subtlety tart and absolutely delicious.
Life is so fast. Especially this time of year. I always have big plans that NEXT year I’ll be more on top of things but somehow that never happens. Time really flies doesn’t it? I honestly expected to share this pie for Thanksgiving but I didn’t make it until after Thanksgiving Day and it is so beautiful with those red cranberries that I decided it looked more like a Christmas pie anyhow and so now it is!
This month my Progressive Eats crew is all about Holiday recipes. Some remembered fondly from years past but in my case something new and wonderful. The lovely Liz from the site That Skinny Chick Can Bake is our hostess this month; she made us do it!
I did just chuckle though…wondering why life seems to never have enough time while sharing the pie that took me hours to make because I wanted to decorate it with some adorable pie crust cutters I recently bought from Williams-Sonoma. I might be the main reason it gets crazy huh?
Still, it was fun. If you’re on Instagram, there are a couple of people who make the most amazing pie crust decorations. I thought it seemed fun so I got my cutters and made my dough and I was all set to spend the time to do something while maybe not extraordinary, at least a bit out of the ordinary.
My plans were quickly modified when the boys up the street showed up. I need help getting all the boxes of Christmas decorations from the basement (no matter what else I can do…the long term affects of a broken leg always rear up when I’m trying to carry something up the stairs!); they are always such willing helpers and as a reward I promised them some pie crust cookies.
I had finished cutting out the shapes when they arrived in my kitchen and I was left just to decorate. And I love how it turned out BUT, I didn’t really do my thing. I let the boys make a decision and we piled some leaves in the center and then I rushed; a failing I have when someone is around. I was telling a friend that I always do that when someone is waiting on me; whether they urge me to or not…I rush.
I’m best left to my creative ventures when I’m alone, when my perfectionism is not so clearly on display for someone else to see and I can spend as much time as I want in search of it. It’s the same if someone wants to watch me shoot photos…I could easily take a hundred shots to capture three good photos but if someone is waiting…I’m done at twenty or twenty-five. I know this about myself and it is time to teach me a new trick…and not do it.
So I’ll practice more making my own design some other day (expect more pies) and not call the boys until cookies are baked and it will be all good. In the meantime, I sure loved my favorite crust with this pie. Combining tart cranberries with tart apples and some orange in the perfect pie crust was nirvana.
The combination of tart and sweet was so perfect and unexpected. I admit, I love pecan pie but it needs a slice of this pie next to it to balance what can sometimes feel like tooth aching sweetness. Besides what can beat a red pie over the holidays? How perfect is that?
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. Each recipe in our menu this month features an Old Fashioned Holiday Recipe, and our host is Liz who blogs at That Skinny Chick Can Bake.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious holiday dishes!
Roll out one of the two pie crusts; keeping the 2nd in the refrigerator until the pie is filled and ready to be topped. Lightly grease a 9" pie plate and fit the pie dough into the prepared plate and crimp the edges.
For the filling
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add the brown sugar and cinnamon and mix well. Add the chopped apples and saute for 5 minutes. Take off heat and allow to cool. Sprinkle with the Grand Marnier and mix it into the apples.
Measure out 1/2 cup of cranberries and set aside. Chop the remaining 1 & 1/2 cups of cranberries in a processor until chunky. In a medium saucepan, cook both the chopped and whole cranberries with the sugar, orange oil or peel, flour and orange juice over medium heat until the mixture simmers and is slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and cool.
To assemble the pie
Place the cooled apples on top of the dough and spread in an even layer.
Pour the cooled cranberry mixture over the apples.
Bake the pie for 40 to 45 minutes (check after 20 minutes and cover the edges with a pie shield or foil if necessary to prevent burning), until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbling in the center. Remove from the oven and cool before slicing.
Make the Whipped Cream
Chill your bowl and beater for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Pour the whipping cream and Grand Marnier into the bowl and beat at medium high speed until the cream starts to thicken.
Add the powdered sugar and increase speed to high and whip until firm peaks form. Dollop on pie slices and serve.
My favorite pie crust is made using butter and lard (shortening if lard is not available). Recipe linked here.
If using storebought crust I highly recommend the type that you find in the refrigerated section that you unroll and fit into your own pie plate.
From football to potluck to today’s Progressive Eats event, these Pumpkin Bars with Maple Frosting and Toasted Walnuts are the perfect sweet ending for a Fall get-together.
I’m sort of a pumpkin whiner…as in I whine when I see pumpkin recipes start to appear on the interwebs in August. I guess I’m simply not cut of the cloth that sharing non-seasonal recipes so that I can get maximum traffic works for me or this blog. In August I’m still knee deep in tomatoes and peaches and prefer my pumpkin when real orange orbs are available at the market.
Once I started using real pumpkin for my fall pumpkin dishes there was no going back and I heartily suggest you try it too. The color and flavor of ‘real’ pumpkin is amazingly different from the product most often found in cans at the supermarket. It’s a bit more work for sure but I think worth it.
I use some when I first cook a batch but then I also freeze several 16-ounce packages so I’m ready to start using pumpkin the next year prior to seeing a bounty of them for sale. Or like this year when I haven’t gotten around to it yet; I usually buy a big pumpkin meant for cooking, use it for Halloween decorating and then get to work after the goblins have fled the neighborhood!
If you’re interested in trying it yourself; it’s simple and I’ve got the ‘how-to’ in this recipe for Pumpkin Butter (another have to have this time of year!)
OK, so now after waxing poetic about fresh pumpkin puree; I have to admit I used a can of Sprouts brand organic pumpkin for this recipe! That’s right…and how could I? Well a couple of things. I sort of let the end of October creep up on me as I mentioned and was gobsmacked the other day when the host of this month’s Progressive Eats, Susan from the Wimpy Vegetarian, reminded us that today was the day.
Oh My, how on earth did October fly by so quickly? So I knew I had to get on it. Honestly, shortly after that discovery, my neighbors contacted me last minute (we do that to each other a lot!) and invited me over for dinner. I offered to bring dessert so it only took a nanosecond to figure that I should make a dessert with Pumpkin so it would fit this month’s theme of Squash…whether late summer or fall variety.
The only pumpkin I had on hand was a frozen packet or a can that a neighbor had spied at Sprouts on sale last year and bought each of us a couple of cans. Sprouts works in a pinch; it’s actually pumpkin. Libbey’s is just whatever squash they feel like throwing into the mix and if I’m using a can of pumpkin at the very least I want the real deal. So that’s the route I took to avoid having to thaw a frozen package first.
This was pretty easy. From start to finish out of the oven in less than an hour. My hosts had a bunch of kids at their house and had made cupcakes for them; saving this delicious treat for the adults. Want to know what my litmus test is for success? When people are clamoring for the last piece. Even my friend Sherry who eats like a tiny mouse had two servings. Ah…I LOVE that; to see her really enjoy the fruits of my labor in the kitchen.
I squirreled away a couple of pieces so I could take photos for this post and then gave the rest to another neighbor who wasn’t feeling well. Her son was visiting; he’s young and a Marine. I’m going to have to make some more for her; I think that boy wolfed down the half dozen small bites I had cut out of the piece I had brought home and I’m not sure Mom got any. It’s all good…they are definitely worth a second batch!
The base is sort of cake-like but a bit more dense and that frosting it simply good enough to eat with a spoon. I tested it that way just to be sure. Brown sugar AND maple syrup with a hint of cinnamon. The nuts could be call optional but I love them. Toasted walnuts are not only delicious but the added crunchy texture made these simply irresistible. Just ask Sherry.
Welcome to Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a Progressive Dinner Party. This month features a bunch of recipes for winter squash, and one for a perennial favorite of summer squash that’s good to have in your back pocket all year long. Our host this month is Susan who blogs at The Wimpy Vegetarian.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, a progressive dinner involves going from house to house, enjoying a different course at each location. With Progressive Eats, it’s a virtual party. A theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. Come along and see all of the delicious fall dishes!
Pumpkin Bars with Maple Frosting and Toasted Walnuts
For the Pumpkin Bars
1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
For the Frosting
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp milk, plus more if needed
To make the bars:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the frosting:
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter, brown sugar, and maple syrup on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and smooth. Add the cinnamon and salt and mix in. On low speed gradually add in the powered sugar until incorporated.
Add the vanilla and milk and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until very light and fluffy. If too runny, add more powered sugar, If too thick, add more milk. Spread evenly all over the pumpkin bars.
Top the bars with the chopped walnuts and cut them into squares.
If you want to make yourself a treat while you’re handing out candy to the kiddos; these are some of The Best Cocktails for Halloween!
I am so busy with some interior design projects that I’ve almost missed Halloween altogether…so how about we visit the ghosts of Halloween Cocktails past since I can’t even think of something when I’m buried in paint and fabric! I love all of these cocktails so hope you find one to love too.
Extra dramatic with black vodka, Kahlua and ice cream; I added some dry ice for effect…you don’t need to but it sure was fun!
The Black Goblin
Tequila Coffee Liqueur, and Cream – think a warmer version of a White Russian.
Corpse Reviver No. 2
London Dry Gin, Lillet Blanc, orange liqueur, lemon juice and a dash of Absinthe. Meant to help you survive the day after a night of imbibing but the name is too perfect and I’ll sip it the night OF imbibing!
Salted Caramel Chocolate Martini
A delicious cocktail to certainly enjoy while handing out candy but don’t limit it…it’s a great dessert cocktail all season long.
These Gooey Buns are our favorite treat when we venture out to a local Le Peep Restaurant. So easy to make at home…bet you’ll love them too!
I don’t eat out often; it’s just not my thing, much preferring to throw something simple together at home than pick up food to go. But it’s funny that food blogging has really changed that; not only am I invited to visit restaurants locally to check them out but I’ll tell you, ever since I moved almost 5 years ago; I’ve given myself a break occasionally.
It’s probably taken all of these five years (how can that possibly BE?) to get settled. Certainly having to start over with a yard was a big part of it, but I’m just doing some finishing up touches this weekend on both my bedroom and my office; no more just scraps of stuff thrown together from everywhere else.
Maybe I should have moved more often so the job would have been easier but here I am. Luckily I’m not a pack-rat at all but 22 years in one home and I had a LOT of stuff. Inventory from a business I shut down after an injury before I moved (yes, I have GOT to do something about that); girls grown and gone but I’m still holding onto furniture, dolls and school projects for them. I downsized when I moved and my daughter took my Grandma’s first dining hutch but I still have the table, chairs and a small telephone table I’m keeping in the basement to insure they don’t leave the family.
Needless to say cooking often took a backseat during that transition and I occasionally had a bright moment that re-introduced me to a place I had pretty much forgotten. One of those places was Le Peep Restaurant, a place I took my girls too often after church on Sunday but I hadn’t visited in many years. I thought they were a nationwide chain but only recently discovered that Le Peep is just found in scattered states. Now that we’ve been re-introduced, it’s a favorite place to meet friends for a morning rendezvous and I simply love the breakfast offerings.
One of my favorites? These Gooey Buns.
If you don’t have a Le Peep in your area, know that while they might call them Gooey Buns they’re really Gooey Muffins. An English muffin is topped with a cinnamon and sugar butter mixture that is broiled and then topped with slivered almonds for the last couple of minutes.
Served with some sweetened and cooked apples (they call them ‘Sassy’ Apples) and cream cheese on the side, I think they’re the perfect breakfast treat with a nice mixture of both sweet, spicy and a bit of tang from the cream cheese. I didn’t make the apples this past weekend but if you want to; it’s simple. Just combine some apple slices with a bit of butter and sugar and cook on the stop until they soften…maybe I’ll blog about those next!
I actually did a post about these before I moved here but in all honestly I was sort of at my wits end living in someone else home and it showed; the photos alone were simply horrid. I’m glad I tried making these again; they are the perfect warm treat for a quick but delicious breakfast and one more reason to stay home and make something in my own kitchen! I know you’ll love them too!