Sunday, December 25, 2011

Homemade "Bailey's" Irish Cream Liqueur

Being as how this Sunday's post happens to fall on Christmas,  I would like to take a minute to say Merry Christmas to everyone!  Due to the holiday I wanted to make today's post extra special, and what better way than with everybody's favourite holiday liqueur? 

Always a fan of Bailey's in my coffee, I decided to experiment with different ingredients trying to come up with the unique flavour that Bailey's offers.  This is a rich, creamy drink that will likely not last very long in your house!  I made a few batches of this last night (Christmas Eve), and bottled some up to share with friends and family today.  My husband and I enjoyed our "Bailey's" on the rocks last night, and plan on trying it this morning with our coffee!  This recipe is so easy and economical, I doubt we will ever buy store bought Bailey's again!

- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1-14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 2/3 cups Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson).
- 2 tsp Starbucks Via Caramel (or 1 tsp of your favourite instant coffee, but via works really great)
- 2 tbsp chocolate syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp almond extract (seems weird, but it works!)

Note - If you like flavoured Bailey's, simple add some homemade caramel, or a drop or two of mint oil.


Combine all ingredients (except for cream) in a blender and blend on low for 30 seconds.  Add cream and blend on low for an additional 30 seconds.  I have a hole in the top of my blender, so I was able to add the cream slowly while blending.  If you are able to do this great, if not, add the cream in three small batches.  While you want to make sure that the ingredients are well blended, be sure not to over whip.

Bottle in a tightly sealed glass container (a 1 L mason jar fits the batch perfectly!) and store in the fridge.  Shake well before using.  Will keep for up to 2 months.


- Nutritional Info (per oz) -
Calories - 100   Fat - 4    Carbs - 10     Protein - 1    Fibre - 0

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Candy Cane White Hot Chocolate

I'm not going to lie, I'm a sucker for a warm holiday beverage.  Always a fan of white chocolate and peppermint alike (also, they were both in my cupboard), I thought these two ingredients combined would make for a pretty festive drink. 

- 1 box (6 squares) white bakers chocolate
- 1 L (4 cups) milk
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 6 candy canes, (plus 6 more for stir sticks if desired)


Crush 6 of the candy canes (I threw them all in a Ziplock freezer bag and crushed them with the bottom of a cup).

Whip the cream using a hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  Set aside.

Shave 1 square of chocolate (for topping) and set aside.

Melt remaining chocolate in saucepan over medium heat.  Add milk and stir until warmed through, about 3 minutes.  Add crushed candy canes (reserve 1 tbsp for sprinkling) and mix until melted.  Pour into a mug.

Add whipping cream & top with sprinkle of remaining crushed candy cane and white chocolate shavings.  Serve with candy cane stir stick.

Serves 6.


- Nutritional Info (per cup using whole milk) -
Calories - 377  Fat - 21    Carbs - 39    Protein - 7    Fibre - 0

- Nutritional Info (per cup using skim milk) -
Calories - 357  Fat - 19    Carbs - 39    Protein - 7    Fibre - 0

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Starbucks Theme Cupcakes: Caramel Brulee Macchiato and Iced Caramel Frappuccino

It was my friend Holly's birthday on the 8th and we had recently seen a similar cupcake on Pinterest.  She mentioned to me how cool it would be to have something like that for her birthday, so I decided to make these for her as a surprise. 

I decided I would try to make mirror the cupcakes after Holly's favourite Starbucks fares the Iced Caramel Frappucino, and both of our new Winter favourite, the Caramel Brulee Macchiato.

Starbucks recently offered not only $2 Holiday Lattes, but BOGO lattes as well.  Because our Starbucks is in our Safeway, you also get a free coupon for a free tall drink if you fill out their survey.  Needless to say, we have been going to Starbucks quite a bit lately.  These cupcakes seemed like the perfect treat to make. 


- 2 starbucks straws, cut into quarters

- 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce 
- 2 tbsp Hard Toffee bits (if you don't want to use homemade, Hershey's Skor Chipits will work)

Cupcake Liners
- 2 pieces of good quality cardstock
- printer
- scissors 
- double sided tape

My first step was to make the cupcake liners. 

 First I took the logo from the Starbucks website and printed it off on cardstock (12 to a sheet).   I cut these by hand using a pair of craft scissors. 

Next, I found a background similar to the Starbucks Holiday cups, and printed it off on one sheet of the  cardstock.

Then, I used a paper cutter to cut my paper.  I made each cupcake liner 1.83" wide, and the width of the paper across.  You will get 6 cupcake liners per 8 1/2 x 11 page. 

I stuck the Starbucks logo's on the paper strips using double sided tape.  It is important to place the tape over the entire back of the logo (cutting off any excess) so that when it bends around the cupcake it stays flat.  

* Note - I brought the cupcakes over to Holly's a few hours after I finished assembling them.  By the time I got there, the icing had started to "melt" the top edges of the card stock.  If you are serving them right away, no problem.  If you are planning on serving them a bit later like I did, I would suggest lining the inside of the cupcakes liners with wax paper. 

Next, place the liners around the cupcakes, sealing them at the back with double sided tape.   I put the cupcakes on a foil lined cookie sheet, although I'm sure you could always do something fancier. 

Place a tsp of homemade caramel on the top of each cupcake. 

Top cupcakes with frosting, using a piping bag.  

Top "Frappuccino's" with a drizzle of caramel sauce and a straw quarter.

 Top "Caramel Brulee's" with hard toffee bits. 


Whipped Buttercream Frosting

For this recipe, I was trying to create something that resembled and tasted like whip cream, but would hold better, like icing.   The extra amount of cream really helps to achieve a light, fluffy icing without an overpowering sweet flavour. 

- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream


Using Electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment (or handheld mixer), cream together butter and icing sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 min).  Next, stir in whipping cream and whip for another 3 minutes or so. 


Caramel Coffee Cupcakes

I experimented with several different ingredients before finally came up with this recipe.  Because I was making these for my Starbucks theme cupcakes, I wanted them to taste like genuine Starbucks coffee.  Making cupcakes with coffee can be a tricky thing.  If you don't mix the ingredients properly, you can end up with a sticky feeling cupcake, or even one that is too dry. 

- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup hot coffee
- 1 Pkg Starbucks Via Caramel (or 2 tsp of your favourite instant coffee)
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 2 large eggs

Other Supplies:
- 18 cupcake liners

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and place liners in muffin pans.  

In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside. 

Dissolve instant coffee in hot coffee and let cool.  Add milk to coffee.  Set aside. 

In a large bowl (or mixer fitted with paddle attachment), cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add eggs 1 at a time, being sure to scrape the sides of the bowl so the ingredients are evenly distributed. 

Add flour mixture in thirds, alternating with coffee mixture (starting and finishing with flour).  Scrape the sides of your bowl again, making sure the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Place cupcake batter in liners, approx. 2/3 full.  Tip: Be sure to put water in any empty spaces.  This will ensure that all of the cupcakes cook evenly. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean. 

Look cool before frosting.


Caramel Sauce

This sauce is great for ice cream, topping coffee, or with my Starbucks theme cupcakes

- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup warm cream (I nuked in the microwave for 20 seconds)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tsp vanilla


Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt, and warm water.  Stir gently to combine (try not to get any on the edges of the pan or some of the sugar may crystallize.  If it happens, brush down with a wet pastry brush).

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture turns a deep amber color (about 8 minutes).

Remove from heat.  Stir in cream and butter.  Add vanilla once mixture has cooled.  Transfer to container for storing (I use a 250 ml mason jar). 

Can be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. 


- Nutritional Info (per tsp) -
Calories - 14     Fat - 1     Carbs - 2     Protein - 0    Fibre - 0

Hard Toffee

I made this toffee by accident the first time!  I was experimenting with different types of caramel and heated the mixture a bit too high (oops).  It all worked out in the end though, because what I got was something that tasted exactly like the centre of  a Skor candy bar.   Perfect for topping my Starbucks theme cupcakes with. 

- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 1/4 cups lightly packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 7-oz sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cut butter into evenly sized cubes and melt over low heat in large 3-4 quart saucepan.

Once butter is fully melted, add brown sugar, being careful to avoid the sides of the pan.

Once butter and sugar are fully combined, add corn syrup and condensed milk. Clip on candy thermometer to side of pan.

Cook mixture on low heat (still continually stirring) for about a minute. Increase heat to medium and continue to cook/stir until mixture reaches 225 degrees. Once the mixture is removed from heat, stir in vanilla extract.

Pour candy onto a cookie sheet lined well with wax paper (make sure you do not skip the waxed paper part, or you will never get this mixture off your pan). 

Let harden and break into pieces.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Gramma's Ginger Sparklers

These are my favourite Gramma cookies by far!  I am always incredibly excited when my Gramma makes them for me on my birthday, and they usually don't last very long!  My Gramma always has cookies in her kitchen, and a supply handy in her freezer.  I have fond memories of sneaking into the freezer and snagging a few for myself (probably spoiling my dinner in the process).  Now, I like them frozen just as much as fresh, just because of the fond memories :) They are melt-in-your-mouth delicious! 

- 3/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cloves
- 2 tsp baking powder
- granulated sugar to roll dough in


Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add molasses and eggs and mix until well combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the rest of your dry ingredients (flour, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and baking powder) and add to wet mixture.

Your dough should look something like this:

Measure 1 tbsp dough, roll into a ball, then roll in sugar.  Place sugared cookies on tray (12 per tray works great).

Bake at 375 for 13 minutes.

(My Gramma's original recipe is to bake 8-10 minutes but in my oven it took around 13 minutes, just keep a close eye on the cookies for your first batch and adjust the time accordingly for your oven).

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.


- Nutritional Info (per cookie) -
Calories - 64  Fat - 3     Carbs - 9     Protein - 1    Fibre - 6
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