Margarita Cookies with Tequila Glaze

Saturday night, 7pm: “I have to run to the store to get tequila for the baptism tomorrow!” Totally legitimate thing to say.

margaritacookie1I wanted to make something special for a baptism I was attending and the mother loves margaritas. Apart from showing up at her parents with a blender, this seemed like the obvious next best thing.

margaritacookie3Now make sure you get as much lime zest as possible–I don’t think it could hurt to even up the zest to 3 limes. Also, I wouldn’t recommend substituting for the sea salt. If you have margarita salt, go for it! But regular iodized salt would not only give you a different visual on the “rim” of your cookie, the flavors would be off as well. And you don’t want that.

margaritacookie2See? I even made some without the tequila glaze in case there were children or weird people who didn’t want more tequila in their cookies. I try to be accommodating.

Margarita Cookies with Tequila Glaze

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2/3 cup powdered sugar

2 limes

1 orange

2 sticks butter, room temperature

2 large egg yolks, room temperature

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon tequila

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup coarse sugar (I used sugar in the raw)

2 teaspoons sea salt (would not use table salt for this)

Glaze

1/3 cup powdered sugar

tequila

Cookies

Prep: Sift the powdered sugar and grate the orange and limes.

In the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until fluffy and smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat again until fully incorporated. Mix in 1 of the egg yolks, then add the salt, tequila, juice of one lime, and orange and lime zests. With the mixer set to low, beat in the flour until just incorporated. [If the dough seems too sticky, add a small amount more of flour.] Gather the dough into a ball and divide it in half, wrapping each piece in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and work each piece of dough into a log about 1 inch in diameter. Rewrap the logs in plastic wrap and place back in the fridge for 2 hours. [I left mine overnight!]

Position oven racks to divide into thirds and preheat to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the second egg yolk in a bowl and set aside. On a large piece of wax or parchment paper, mix the coarse sugar and sea salt with your fingers. Spread it out on the paper. Remove the logs of dough from the fridge and brush them with the egg yolk. Roll the logs in the sugar mixture and press on the sugar to stick. Using a sharp knife, slice the log into cookies about 1/4 inch thick. Place on the lined baking sheets about 1/2 inch apart.

Bake for 12-14 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack.

Glaze

While the cookies are cooling combine powdered sugar with just enough tequila to make the mixture spreadable. You can make more or less of the mixture depending on whether you want to glaze the whole batch or not.

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Bourbon Pecan Caramel Corn

The other day as the toddler and I were heading out for the morning, we got stuck in the mud room. I couldn’t get the door open that goes into the house, and I couldn’t get the door open that goes outside, either. That’s just how awesome I am.

popcornSo I put my superhero cape on (not really though, cause it would have gotten in the way), climbed out the window, and went around to the front. A door I can easily open. And all was well.

popcorn2So my point is, if I had been stuck in the mudroom all day, Bourbon Pecan Caramel Corn would have been really nice to have….

Bourbon Pecan Caramel Corn

adapted from Simply Recipes

6 tablespoons of oil

2/3 cup unpopped corn kernels

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup butter (2 sticks)

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tablespoon molasses

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup bourbon

1 cup pecans

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Throw in just a couple kernels of corn and wait for them to pop. Take the pot off the heat and add in the rest of the kernels. Count to 30, then place back on the heat again. Shake pan occasionally while kernels are popping. Once the popping has slowed down, take off the heat and set aside to cool. Chop pecans and combine with popcorn in a large roasting pan.

Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Stirring occasionally, bring brown sugar, butter, maple syrup, molasses, and salt to a boil in a medium sized pot. Continue to cook and stir until a candy thermometer reads 250 degrees. Remove from the heat and stir in baking soda. Finally, stir in the bourbon.

Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn in the roasting pan and use a wooden spoon to stir and evenly coat. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, then remove and stir again. Return the popcorn to the oven and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Immediately spread popcorn on parchment paper and let cool completely.

Old Bay Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Lagered Mushy Peas

I’ve inundated you with desserts lately, so it’s about time for something a little different.  How about some Old Bay Beer Battered Fish and Chips? It may not be the healthiest entree, but at least it’s not a dessert, right?

fishchippeas

Since moving to the DMV–that’s the DC-Maryland-Virginia area for those who are not in the know–I’ve become a fan of Old Bay. I’d had Old Bay before, of course. But here, it’s part of life. It’s a way of life. Ubiquitous in any seafood dish, it also finds its way onto chicken, tater tots, fries, onion rings, cocktails…It was developed here in Maryland, and needless to say, people are loyal. And with good reason. Delicious reason.

So I decided when creating my fish and chips recipe that it would adhere to my adopted home’s favorite flavor. Old Bay is both in the batter and then sprinkled on to taste after: pretty much at every point in the recipe, add Old Bay. Same with the chips: roasted with olive oil and Old Bay, then plenty at the table to sprinkle on at will. Oh, and there’s beer, so you know it’s good.

Preference tip: I like to cut my fish into smaller pieces. Not only are they easier to handle when frying,, but then you get more of that crispy batter to go around. Yum.

fishchippeas2

Old Bay Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Lagered Mushy Peas

Fish adapted from a ridiculous amount of recipes I couldn’t even keep track of or tell you. Chips adapted from Ellie Krieger. Mushy peas adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Chips

2-4 russet potatoes

olive oil

Old Bay

Fish

vegetable oil

2 cups flour

3 teaspoons Old Bay, plus more for seasoning and table

1 12 oz. bottle beer

1 1/2 lbs cod (or similar fish), boneless and skinless

Mushy Peas

olive oil

4 scallions

16 oz. frozen peas

1/4 cup beer

Chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a mandoline to thinly slice potatoes. Toss potatoes, olive oil and Old Bay together on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes. Alternately, you can slice up the potatoes in whatever shape you prefer and roast for 45-50 minutes.

Fish

Depending upon the size of pan you are using, the amount of oil you will need to fry the fish could vary. Heat enough vegetable oil over medium-high heat to cover the fish in the pan that you are using. The oil is ready for frying when the handle of a wooden spoon inserted into the oil produced tiny bubbles.

In a shallow dish combine 1/2 cup flour and 1 teaspoon Old Bay and set aside. Aerate 1 1/2 cups flour and 2 teaspoons Old Bay in a large bowl (whisk by itself-essentially the same as sifting). Whisk in the beer until just combined. Pat the fish dry and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Old Bay. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture and shake off any excess. Coat the fish in the beer mixture and once again shake off any excess. Place gently in the hot oil. The same can be done with a few more pieces of fish. Do not overcrowd the pan though, because the oil’s temperature will drop too much.

Once the fish is golden brown all over, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels or a clean dish towel. Immediately season with salt, pepper and Old Bay. Continue with the remaining fish in batches.

Lagered Mushy Peas

Heat a small amount of oil in a pan, chop the scallions and add to the pan when oil is hot. Add the frozen peas and cover. Let the peas steam for a few minutes. Add beer and let cook for a minute more and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a food processor, use an immersion blender, or mash the peas with a potato masher. You can always add more beer if needed.

Black and Tan Brownies

Perhaps you’ve had a pint of Black and Tan: where Guinness is carefully poured over an upside down tablespoon to gently fall on an ale or lager with greater density (Yes! More dense than Guinness!) so as not to mix the two. Or perhaps you’ve had a mixed Black and Tan where the visual aspect isn’t important, such as Yuengling’s. There are many variations that have developed over the years: Black and Tan (Smithwick’s or Bass), Half and Half (Harp), Black and Blue (Blue moon), or even a Black Velvet (champagne).blacktan

Source: Flickr creative commons by parislemon

Same concept: brownie form.

We also need to address that the naming of such a thing isn’t necessarily the most politically correct-or sensitive. The Black and Tans were men from Great Britain, whose job it was to act as police in Ireland as part of the Royal Irish Constabulary and fight against the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during the Irish War of Independence. The nickname Black and Tans came from the color of their uniforms. They are historically known for oftentimes using brutal and savage methods, even against civilians.

And so we have brownies………the dark, chocolately brownie sitting on top of the lighter cookie-type blondie. With beer in them. I actually used Sam Adams Chocolate Bock in the brownie. Certainly a different flavor profile than Guinness, though extremely appropriate given that smooth chocolate flavor.

So perhaps I’m the only one who will eat my brownie while contemplating the brutality of war and lament the trials and tribulations of the Irish while I watch The Wind That Shakes the Barley crying yet again. Pass me the brownies.

blacktanbrownie

Come out, ye Black and Tans: Irish rebel song, here performed by the Wolfe Tones

The Wind That Shakes the Barley: a ballad written about the 1798 rebellion in Ireland. This is my favorite version by Solas.

Black and Tan Brownies

Adapted slightly from The Irish Spirit

Tan Brownies

4 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Black Brownies

5 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1/2 cup unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

4 large eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup stout

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter an 8×8 square pan.

Tan brownies

In the bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, then beat in egg and vanilla. Remove from mixer and stir in flour, baking powder and salt with a wooden spoon. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.

Black brownies

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler and stir until completely smooth.Stir in the sugar and salt and let cool slightly. Stir in the eggs, flour and vanilla. Whisk in the stout.

Pour the black brownie mixture over the tan brownies and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

Fudge1

After almost two months without having a working computer, I’m finally back! And I triumphantly return to the blogging world with Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge! Wow that’s a mouth full. But it’s totally worth saying. An epically big title for small bites of sugary Irish creamy awesomeness.

And much more appetizing than “Bay Leaves Fudge,” which is what one person heard upon my presentation of the confection. I don’t think I’ll be making that flavor anytime soon.

And you know what? I totally ran out of flour and topped my 1/2 cup off with whole wheat flour. So I could say this is Whole Wheat Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge. But I don’t want to be ridiculous.

Fudge2

Baileys Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

adapted from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook

In a mixer:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons Irish Cream

1/2 cup all purpose flour

On the stove:

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

pinch of salt

1/3 cup Irish Cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

4 cups powdered sugar

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

You want to line an 8×8 pan with foil or parchment paper so you can easily remove the fudgey goodness from the pan later. Nobody wants to waste fudge. Especially if it has Baileys in it.

In a mixer cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in the vanilla, salt and Irish Cream. Add the flour and mix until just combined. Set it aside and let it wait for you.

In a saucepan on the stove melt the butter, brown sugar, and pinch of salt. Take off the heat and add in the Irish Cream and vanilla. Stir in the powdered sugar one cup at a time. Now add this to the flour mixture and beat together until combined. Fold in those chocolate chips and then pour into your prepared pan. Pop in the fridge and try to forget it while it sets. I left mine overnight, but a few hours should do.

Sláinte!

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

Take your favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe. Only, hours before you intend to bake, take all the raisins and macerate them in some rum until they are rum soaked bites of wrinkly raisin awesomeness. Then, and only then, should you add them to your cookie dough.

The taste is subtle (I’d rather flavors to be in my face), but it’s there. And that can’t be a bad thing. Higher points for using rum that you got in Costa Rica.

If there is any rum leftover that has not been absorbed into the raisins, you must, MUST drink it. Not gonna lie, that was my favorite part of this baking and cookie eating experience. Rum flavored raisins was the goal, but the raisin flavored rum was a super sweet bonus.

I gots a new camera for Christmas. So hopefully, my pictures will soon look better than this. Stay tuned.

Rum Raisin Oatmeal Cookies

adapted from Joy of Cooking

1 cup raisins

1/2-3/4 cup rum (depending on how much time you plan to macerate and if you want anything leftover…)

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 lb butter (2 sticks)

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

Hours before baking, pour rum over raisins and let them sit. Every once in a while stir it around (and give it a good smell-you know you want to).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to aerate and remove any clumps.

In a large bowl or bowl of a mixer with paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy. Add sugars and cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, then the vanilla. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet sugar mixture.

(Without using a mixer) stir in the oats. Strain the raisins or add them using a slotted spoon and stir into the cookie dough.  Place on greased cookie sheets by heaping tablespoons about 3 inches apart. Press down to form 1/2 inch thick rounds. Bake for 6-9 minutes, rotating them halfway through. Cool on the sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

**Very important: If there is any rum leftover you must drink it.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

We bought a house! More importantly-we bought a beautiful kitchen! I no longer need to use the floor as vital counter space! I have an oven that lets you know when its preheated and a light turns on when you open it.  I have a dishwasher. I repeat. I have a dishwasher! Naturally, an occasion such as this merits a party. And naturally, a party needs a cake. A cake worthy of the celebration.

I kept the structure of the original recipe, but used apple sauce in place of some of the oil and toyed with the spices a little–and upped the amount of bourbon in the cream cheese glaze. (Of course.) Every type of cake I have made with whiskey turns out incredibly moist-this one even more so because of the applesauce. You could totally cut down on the amount of glaze (as you can see, it made a decent amount), but I see cake as merely a vehicle for frosting so I would never do such a thing.

It was definitely worthy of the celebration.

Bourbon Pumpkin Cake

Adapted from A communal table

3 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 1/2teaspoon ginger

3/4 teaspoon allspice

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup applesauce

1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree

5 eggs

1/3 cup bourbon

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a cake pan. In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients and whisk until thoroughly incorporated and there are no remaining clumps. In a large bowl (I used a Kitchen Aid with the paddle attachment) combine the sugars, oil, applesauce, pumpkin. Once the wet ingredients are combined add the eggs one at a time. After, pour in bourbon. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet. Pour the batter in your cake pan and bake for 1 hour or until a tester comes out clean. Let cool completely.

Bourbon Cream Cheese Glaze

6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons bourbon

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In a medium bowl beat the cream cheese together with the bourbon. Slowly add the powdered sugar. You can start out with less bourbon if you’d like a mellower taste and add more once you have incorporated the sugar. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake.

Jalapeno Cheddar Pull-apart Beer Bread

I am quite the active yeast novice. Which sounds gross.

But I just haven’t yet mastered the art of working with yeast doughs. They end up being sticky messes that I can’t control. And I end up saying choice words and throwing things around the kitchen. (Truth. Ask my husband.)

These breads intimidate me with their mystical rise and we never get to develop our relationship because I’m too scared and I’ve been beaten too many times. But this bread. This bread. I had to try. How could one not?

And what happened? My dough was a sticky mess. I said some choice words and banged some stuff around the kitchen. But I didn’t give up. I covered my dough back up and put it in the refrigerator to work its magic overnight. Well, magic didn’t happen. But enough of a spark was there that my bread still puffed up nicely in the oven. And it was still tasty. Was it tender and flaky and perfect like I want it to be? Yeah, right. But we’ll get there. Was it worth it? Oh, yes.

Jalapeno Cheddar Pull-apart Beer Bread

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Dough

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup plus 1/3 cup beer divided

2 cups plus 1/2 and 1/3 cup flour, divided

2 tablespoons sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, room temperature

Heat the butter and the first 1/4 cup of beer together in a small saucepan until the butter has melted. Add the remaining 1/3 cup of beer and set aside to cool.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, blend together the first 2 cups of flour with the sugar, yeast, and salt. On the lowest setting, mix in the butter and beer mixture until it is just incorporated. Add eggs on at a time, then add the remaining flour. Switch to the dough hook and knead the dough for 3 or 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a well-oiled bowl and cover loosely with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled, about an hour.

Filling

3 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon mustard

3 oz cream cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

fresh ground peppper

1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

2 jalapenos, diced

Melt the butter, mustard, and cream cheese together in the small saucepan. Take off of the heat and whisk in the seasonings.

Assembly!

Prepare your loaf pan by greasing it with method of choice. Roll out your dough on a well floured surface to approximately a 20×12 inch rectangle. Brush your filling all over the dough. Cut your dough (I use a pizza cutter) lengthwise into five 4×12 inch strips. Sprinkle one strip with approximately 1/4 cup of cheese and diced jalapenos. Place another strip on top and sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of cheese and jalapenos. Repeat until all the dough strips, cheese and jalapenos have been used.

With a serrated knife, very gently cut the stack of strips in 6 two-inch segments. (I find it easiest to cut the entire strip in half, then cut the two halves into thirds.) Stand the loaf pan up on its short end so it stands vertical, and stack all of your segments on top of each other. Cover loosely with saran wrap or towel and let rise for another 30-45 minutes.

Cook!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. After its final rise, cook for 25-35 minutes. Wait at least 5 minutes for it to cool, then pull that deliciousness apart and enjoy!

See Smitten Kitchen for another look at assembly and baking instructions.

Tomato Basil Cider Soup

This is for that time of year when you’re confused.

You know that time of year. There is still this abundance of beautiful, fresh, heirloom tomatoes and fragrant basil. The weather is still nice enough to sport capris and sandals. But you know it’s coming. You can feel it in the breeze, ever so slightly. And in the beverage world-you see it. The shelves begin to fill with pumpkin ales and oktoberfest. Do I cling desperately to the summer that I love so much or embrace all things fall?! (The answer is cling to summer. The hotter the better.)

Whether you use a typical hard cider, or Harpoon’s Pumpkin Cider like I did–this is that time of year in a bowl. Or a mug, whatevs. Bursting with summer freshness yet crisp with fall. While I tend to stay away from most ciders on the market because I find them cloyingly sweet, I really enjoyed this Pumpkin Cider because of the lower sugar content. Magner’s would also be a good choice for your confused summer fall soup.

Tomato Basil Cider Soup

Adapted from The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, diced

2 large carrots (or estimated baby carrot equivalent), diced

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 1/2-2 pounds tomatoes, chopped with juices reserved

1 6 oz. can tomato paste

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons minced basil

4 cups stock

1 1/2 cups hard cider (1 12 oz. bottle)

salt and pepper

basil to garnish

Heat a soup pot over medium heat with the butter and olive oil. Saute chopped onion and carrots until softened, 6-8 minutes and season them with salt and pepper. Add garlic cloves and saute an additional minute. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, the bay leaf and basil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, then stir in stock and cider. Simmer 30 minutes and adjust seasonings. Puree with an immersion blender or in batches in a counter blender or food processor. Garnish with additional basil leaves.

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

I have been receiving the most beautiful heirloom tomatoes in my CSA this late summer: red, green, yellow, orange, and some so deep they’re almost purple. Last weekend I literally thrived off of tomato basil sandwiches. So ridiculously simple and sooo delicious. I have to savor it while it lasts!

I never had gazpacho until recently. (Cold soup? That’s an oxymoron!) But I have to say, with the right tomatoes, and other seasonal freshness, I could definitely become a fan. But even when enjoying some fresh gazpacho, I knew it could be improved–with vodka! I used Sloop Betty, a wheat vodka distilled right here in Maryland. Once Betty was added, it was my kind of gazpacho.

Gazpacho is also a highly flexible dish according to your own personal tastes. Some people want it chunky, some want it smooth, some want it spicy, others are weird. The amount of tomatoes you use may depend on how fresh and juicy they are, so be adaptable. Some people want a  little vodka, others want a lot. But definitely use vodka, because-seriously. Why wouldn’t you?

Bloody Mary Gazpacho

1.5 pounds tomatoes

1 cucumber, seeded

1 green or red sweet pepper

1 spicy pepper (I used serrano)

1 small onion

2-3 cloves of garlic

3 tablespoons vinegar (I used red wine)

1 teaspoon celery salt

2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce

fresh ground pepper

vodka, to taste

Cut vegetables into smaller chunks, toss everything into a bowl and take your handy immersion blender and go at it. Alternately, you can use a food processor or regular blender and blend in two batches. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the best results so that the flavors have time to meld together. Add vodka to taste when ready to serve.