Bridges/ Issue 41 / Dec. 9, 2014
Give Your Holiday Recipes A Little Punch: The rich, complex flavors of bourbon add warmth to classic holiday dishes.
Add some spice to classic holiday dishes this year by incorporating the complex flavor of Kentucky Bourbon. The Bluegrass’ iconic distilled spirit can add depth to sauces without overpowering while complimenting the warm spices popular in holiday dishes. Bold bourbon flavors shine when incorporated into no-bake cookies and candies and no holiday party is complete without bourbon cocktails. Update the classics by layering in other seasonal flavors such as apple or maple syrup. Always choose high-quality bourbon to cook with, it’s well worth it. And, as always, remember to drink and eat responsibly!
Flaming Cranberry-Apple Bourbon Sauce
The sweet and tangy combination of cranberries and apples are a classic seasonal pairing. A touch of bourbon added to this quick cooking sauce adds colorful flare to roast pork and poultry while filling the house with seasonal fragrance.
2 apples (choose tart to semi-tart varieties such as Granny Smith or honey crisp)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup bourbon*
1 cup apple cider
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Directions: Core and thinly slice apples. Add to saucepan and cook over medium heat until just beginning to soften, about five minutes. Add dried cranberries, stirring until apples remain firm but begin to brown slightly and cranberries become fragrant. Remove from heat, add bourbon and carefully light on fire to burn off the alcohol.** When flame has died, add cider and sugar then simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon warm sauce over sliced pork tenderloin, carved roast turkey or chicken. Makes approximately 6 servings.
*Bourbons that have flavor notes of vanilla, caramel and oak such as Maker’s Mark® are excellent in this dish.
**Use caution when flaming bourbon. Remove saucepan from heat before lighting liquid in pan. Keep away from any flammable materials. Liquid will burn itself out when alcohol is gone.
Classic Bourbon Balls
A delectable adults-only dessert that tastes best when made a few weeks ahead of time, frozen and thawed just before serving. Remember: the better the bourbon the better the taste.
2½ cup vanilla wafers (approximately one box)
1 cup of walnuts, plus additional for rolling
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup white sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup
½ cup bourbon*
1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
Melt chocolate chips on stovetop or in microwave, stirring until smooth. Stir in sugar and corn syrup. Blend in bourbon. Roughly crush bag of vanilla wafers before pulsing in food processor until smooth, sand-like granules form. Set aside. Pulse nuts in mixer to finely chop; combine with vanilla wafers. Add to chocolate mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Cover and refrigerate until firm. Using a teaspoon, scoop out mixture then roll into bite-size balls. Roll balls in a mixture of ground nuts and confectioner’s sugar. Store in a tight sealing tin or glass container for at least a week for the best flavor. Makes approximately 24 balls.
*The complex rich flavors of small batch bourbons like Heaven Hill or Russell’s Reserve® shine in this dessert.
Maple Spiced Hot Toddies
Curl up to wait for Santa’s arrival with this savory, cider toddy. Far from your grandmother’s cold remedy, this cocktail is sure to become a holiday favorite.
1 quart hot water
2 cups apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup bourbon
4 tablespoons maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon, four slices of peel reserve
Combine water, cider and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half. Turn off heat; stir in bourbon, maple syrup and lemon. Pour into four large mugs. Twist peel and pull over each mug to release oils, adding peel to drink for garnish if desired. Serves 4.
Recipes by Carrie Stambaugh.