Bourbon & Butterscotch Eclair Cake

Bourbon & Butterscotch Eclair Cake

I assume you are asking yourself—how is an Éclair Cake southern?

The cake itself is not southern, but its source is. For many of us southerners, especially older generations, beloved recipes were sourced from community cookbooks. A community cookbook is just that, a collection of local recipes submitted by locals and compiled by a local a organization (the Junior League is a popular source) or a church. Each recipe contains the name of the submitter and a blurb about the recipe. Readers will usually multiple variations for one type of recipe. You may find three different recipes for pimento cheese. And almost always the finished book is spiral bound.

In my childhood home there was one community cookbook that my mom sourced everything from: Dogwood Delights. You will notice that this book was put together by Atlanta’s Telephone Pioneers of America. My mom worked in Atlanta for BellSouth when I was a child. I remember going to the big city of Atlanta and eating at the Varsity on special days I was allowed to go to work with her.

Every time we made red velvet cake for Christmas, the book came out of the cupboard. Luckily, my grandmother was kind enough to give me her copy as a source of inspiration. So when I make red velvet cake there is only one place to go.


Often times when I am looking for a source of inspiration in a bake or covered dish I want to bring to my next family gathering I pull out my old, dusty copy.

For me, and for so many, community cookbooks are a conservation of history. A memento of time, experience, and culture of a community. Generations of experience are contained in-between two covers which makes for a great resource to young and old cooks alike.

Although community cookbooks provided a wealth of information to homemakers and small town cooks (because they were popular long before the internet), so many of the submissions lack direction. If you are experienced baker or cook like me, it is no problem to fill in the gaps but not every person in the kitchen has that experience. For those who do not know to cream together your butter and eggs when making the batter for a cake, the gaps can be tricky.

My intention is to not only preserve the recipes so many southerners rely on, but to update them into a modern form. By update I do not mean changing the dish into something totally different, I mean raising it into its adult self.

Let this first recipe be the example. I found this recipe by thumbing through and liked it. As I mentioned before, there were about 10 different versions of the cake listed.

A picture of the original recipe
As you can see, this recipe calls for a bunch of premade items. Instant pudding, frozen whipped cream, etc. An update is simple, make everything you can from scratch…within reason. I will not be making homemade graham crackers.

I made a homemade bourbon butterscotch pudding out of homemade caramel, a homemade ganache for the top, and a homemade whipped cream. The southern in me felt the need to splash in bourbon instead of rum for the butterscotch.

Ta-dah! This community cookbook submission is brought into the 21st century.

Go out and find your own community cookbook. A good place to start is an old bookstore or my favorite—a yard sale.

A fork full of finished cake

Bourbon & Butterscotch Eclair Cake

Category: Recipes

Presentation of the entire finished cake in its dish

Ingredients

  • For the pudding:
  • 1 1/3 Cup of Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Water
  • 3 Cups of Heavy Cream, divided
  • 2 Cups of Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons of Cornstarch
  • 4 Large Egg Yolks
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 6 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons of Bourbon
  • For the rest of the cake:
  • 1 Box of Graham Crackers
  • 10 Ounces of Dark Chocolate
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream

Instructions

  1. First make the butterscotch pudding.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, and salt. Heat over medium-high heat and cook the mixture, without stirring, until it is dark brown. This should take 8-10 minutes.
  3. Whisk in 2 cups of cream and the milk, stir until fully combined. Bring the mixture back up to a boil.
  4. While you bring the mixture back up to a boil, prepare your eggs.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, and cornstarch.
  6. Temper the eggs by adding on spoonful at a time of heated milk mixture into the egg mixture, bringing the eggs up to the temperature of the milk. Stirring as you add.
  7. Once eggs are tempered, pour the heated egg mixture into the medium saucepan.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium, and cook the custard, stirring constantly, until it is thick and coats the back of a spoon. This should only take a few minutes.
  9. Once thickened, whisk in the butter and then the rum.
  10. Set aside to let the pudding cool for at least one hour before using.
  11. Once the pudding is cool make the remaining cake.
  12. Heat one cup of heavy cream, over medium heat, in a small saucepan.
  13. Place the dark chocolate into a mixing bowl, then pour over the simmering cream.
  14. Let sit until the chocolate melts.
  15. While the chocolate melts, whisk 1 cup of heavy whipping cream into whipped cream. You want a firm whipped cream.
  16. Fold the whipped cream into the cooled pudding, a 1/3 at a time.
  17. By this time the chocolate should be melted, whisk together the cream and chocolate until a smooth and shiny ganache forms.
  18. Now you are ready to assemble the cake.
  19. Place an even layer of graham crackers into the bottom of a 9x9 cake pan, or similar dish of your choice.
  20. Next pour in 1/3 of the pudding mixture. Layer with more graham crackers, then the next 1/3 of pudding. Add another layer of graham crackers and then the final layer of pudding.
  21. Finish the cake with a top layer of graham crackers, then pour your genache over the top layer of graham crackers.
  22. Allow the cake to set in the fridge for several hours before serving.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/05/01/bourbon-butterscotch-eclair-cake/

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Spicy Kitchen Sink Cookies

Spicy Kitchen Sink Cookies

The concept of a kitchen sink cookie is simple: you put everything in but the kitchen sink. It is one of those recipes that works with almost anything and everything you have in your baking pantry. This means it is a great recipe to keep in your pocket when a baking emergency comes up, i.e an impromptu party or impromptu house guests.

For my version of kitchen sink cookies I use a combination that I find is well balanced, salty, sweet, and spicy. For salt I throw in pretzels and kettle cooked chips, kettle cooked so they retain their crunchiness. The sweet comes from butterscotch and chocolate chips. Finally, the spicy from some chipotle roasted peanuts.

If you do not have spicy peanuts you can throw red pepper into the cookie mix, roast your own peanuts in a spice mixture, or simply use plain peanuts.

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The cookie base for the recipe is heavy in brown sugar and butter, which results a gooier more buttery cookie. In my book, the ultimate cookie is one that is cooked on the outside and still gooey on the center. The trick to a perfect texture is twofold, chilling the butter before baking and under baking the cookie. I take the cookies out of the oven when the edges just start to brown then I let them cool on the cookie sheet.

Chilling your cookie dough before baking it prevents the butter from spreading too much during baking. If the butter spreads too much the finished cookies will be thin and not thick and tender.

This recipe would also be delicious as a chocolate chip cookie using only chocolate chips as the add-in. And of course, I recommend a large glass of ice cold milk to accompany your fresh out of the oven warm cookies.

This cookie may be the strangest, most delicious, and well balanced cookie I have ever eaten.

For more tips on cookie making, see this post.

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Spicy Kitchen Sink Cookies

Category: Recipes

A stack of baked cookies next to a glass of milk

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Butter, softened
  • 1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1/2 Cup of Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup of Butterscotch Chips
  • 1 Cup of Kettle Cooked Chips
  • 1/2 Cup of Pretzels, crushed
  • 1/2 Cup of Spicy Peanuts

Instructions

  1. With your stand mixer on medium speed, cream together your sugars and softened butter. Mix until well combined.
  2. Next add in the eggs and egg yolk. Pour in eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract, mixing until well combined.
  4. In a bowl combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  5. Pour the flour mixture into mixing bowl a little at a time. Continue to mix cookie dough until fully combined.
  6. Once cookie mixture is fully mixed, add in the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, pretzels, chips, and peanuts.
  7. Mix the cookie dough over low speed until the add-ins are broken up and well distributed. This should take no more than 1 minute.
  8. Cover the cookie mixture well and place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes. This will prevent too much spreading.
  9. While the cookie dough chills, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fairenhiet.
  10. Prepare each cookie sheet with a layer of parchment paper.
  11. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden on the edges. If you are baking more than one cookie sheet at a time, it will take approximately 15 minutes for the cookies to bake.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2019/02/12/spicy-kitchen-sink-cookies/

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Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Just as fast as they went last year, the holidays are upon us again. Although my waistline hates it, my heart gets excited to bake and cook as much as humanly possible over then next few months.

Which means this week, I have been testing recipes so I can bring the perfect dessert to our Thanksgiving feast. When coming up with recipes I like to take classics and add a slight twist, so a macadamia nut pie, instead of pecan, was on my list to try out. I will post the recipe soon.

This past weekend we had some friends over for a laid back night (but also so I could test out my pie recipe on them). Filet, truffle mashed potatoes, rosemary focaccia, and a few stout beers later, we were almost – almost – too full to eat pie. We still ate it though. And I am happy to report that the pie only needs one or two tweaks.

The next morning, waking up full and happy, I realized I had a bit of my stout beer left over. I do not like to waste food, so it was the perfect opportunity to throw a second dessert contestant into the mix. For some reason I could not get the idea of a stout bundt cake out of my head, so I began baking.

An upclose picture of the salted caramle glaze

I used a Dutch process cocoa powder, which is darker than the normal stuff, because I had it leftover from a previous recipe that I tested. Also, the use of cake flour would be perfect to lighten the dense texture of a chocolate bundt cake.

The only issue was deciding on what to top the cake with. Flavor contenders included espresso, caramel, and more chocolate. My husband does not love chocolate cake, so I landed on caramel to ensure that he would like this cake. The last touch, a little salt in the caramel to cut through the very decedent flavors.

This recipe turned out better than I could have imagined, and I didn’t have to change a single thing in the recipe. This may be one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever baked, and I will definitely proudly take it to our festivities on Thursday.

Confession: As soon as the cake was cooled and I snapped a few pictures, I ate a slice for lunch. That is the reason there are so few pictures in this post.

…I ate a second slice after dinner that night.

A slice of chocolate cake with salted caramel on top

Chocolate Stout Bundt Cake

Category: Recipes

A fininished chocolate cake sits next to an empty bowl of caramel glaze

Ingredients

  • 2 Sticks of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Good Stout Beer
  • 3/4 Cup of Dutch Process Cocoa Powder
  • 2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tablespoon of Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 3/4 Cup of Sour Cream
  • For the Salted Caramel Glaze
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter
  • 1/2 Cup of Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Stout Beer
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 Cup of Powdered Sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Prepare your bundt cake pan by greasing it then coating it in cocoa powder. Be sure to shake out any excess cocoa powder. Set the pan aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, melt your butter.
  4. Once the butter is melted, remove your butter from the heat and whisky in your stout beer, vanilla extract, and cocoa powder. Set the mixture aside to cool.
  5. In another bowl, sift together your sugar, flour, salt, and baking soda.
  6. Starting with your dry mixture, whisk in 1/3 of the mixture into your cooled butter mixture. Whisk until fully combined.
  7. Next whisk in one egg, followed by the next 1/3 of your dry mixture. Mixing until combined. Whisk in your sour cream, then the last portion of your dry mixture, and finally your last egg. Mix until well combined.
  8. Pour your batter into your prepared cake pan.
  9. Bake the cake on middle rack for approximately 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  10. Let the cake cool on the counter for at least one hour before glazing.
  11. While cake cools, prepare your glaze.
  12. In a small sauce pan, combine your brown sugar, butter, cream, and salt.
  13. Cook mixture over medium heat until it reaches a boil.
  14. Once at a boil cook the mixture for an additional 3 minutes, stirring constantly. You want to make sure all of the brown sugar cooks into the butter, so you do not have a grainy caramel.
  15. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
  16. Once cooled, sift in your powdered sugar then whisk in your stout beer. You want the mixture to be thick yet pourable. You can add more powdered sugar if needed.
  17. Once the cake is completely cooled and removed from the pan, pour your glaze over the top of the cake.
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https://epicuropedia.com/2018/11/19/chocolate-stout-bundt-cake/

Banana Bread Donuts + Chocolate & Peanut Butter

Banana Bread Donuts + Chocolate & Peanut Butter

When I think of food and my father, a few very select items come to mind. Peanut butter and chocolate may be at the top of that list.

Growing up, and even now, my dad keeps a secret treat hidden in the pantry. He takes a jar of peanut butter and some chocolate chips and stirs the chips into the jar. When he wants a sweet treat he digs out a spoonful at a time to eat. My love for chocolate was definitely passed down from my dad.

When my father-in-law comes to mind, I immediately see donuts. Not only does he love sweets more than your average bear but because he lives close to a donut shop, he grabs a dozen anytime the hot sign is on. I know how easy it is to gobble down freshly glazed, warm donuts. They practically dissolve in your mouth.

So when I was contemplating a good bake for Father’s Day, it was easy to find inspiration.

These donuts take classic banana bread, remove the nuts, and are baked into donuts. For the glaze, a dark chocolate ganache and peanut butter drizzle paired perfectly with the banana. On top, I added crushed salted peanuts to cut through the decedent chocolate topping.

This recipe is extremely moldable. You can easily change it around to suit your father. Put chocolate inside the donuts, and the same goes for nuts of your choice. You can do just a peanut butter glaze, and so much more — the options are limitless.

Banana Bread Donuts

Ingredients:

  • 1 Stick of Butter, softened
  • 4 Extremely Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon of Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cups of Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Butter and flour your donut cake pan. Set aside.
  • In your stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Mix in eggs and the remaining ingredients. Mixture should be fully mixed but still have a few lumps due to the banana.
  • Spoon into donut pan. Each donut should be about 2/3 full. This recipe makes 13 donuts total. Bake each pan full in batches for 15 minutes each.
  • Let donuts cool before dunki ng the tops of each donut into your ganache and drizzling with peanut butter. You can top the donuts with crushed peanuts as well.

Chocolate Ganache

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups of Dark Chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Cup of Heavy Cream

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan heat the heavy cream over medium.
  2. Once at a simmer, remove cream from heat and pour directly over chocolate.
  3. Let sit for several minutes, then stir vigorously until chocolate mixture is melted and smooth.

Peanut Butter Drizzle

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup of Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Heavy Cream

Directions

  1. In a small saucepan, stir together cream and peanut butter.
  2. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. When peanut-butter mixture is warm enough to drizzle it is ready.

Irish Cream Fudge coated in Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

Irish Cream Fudge coated in Pistachios and Dark Chocolate

St. Patricks Day came and went here in Savannah, and, along with it, the Irish Cream Fudge I created just for the occasion. Like any good tailgate, everyone who watches the parade with my family brings a plate of food to snack on while drinking their green beer. Occasionally my family doesn’t exactly love the food I bring because it tends to stray outside the realm of a normal potluck dish. In fact I have heard the words “Don’t make something weird”, so for this year’s celebration I wanted to stick with a traditional southern dish.

Fudge was a southern treat my family grew up making for every special occasion, but normally it would be flavored with chocolate or peanut butter. If you have never had fudge, it is a creamy candy that is cooked to the soft stage of candy making and flavored with butter and something else. Fudge truly tastes like a southern dish — extremely sweet and sinful. I have never tasted another flavor of fudge besides chocolate or peanut butter (or seen anyone I know make a different flavor), so in making this Irish Cream Fudge for St. Patricks day I was not confident on how it would turn out. But to say the least, I did not hear the word “weird”.

The finished result was true to the southern originals: super rich. For this recipe I cut back the sugar to compensate for the sweetness of the Irish Cream. When cooking the candy the alcohol of the Irish Cream cooks off, so instead of finishing the batch with vanilla I replaced it with more Irish Cream so there was a bite of alcohol. The addition of a bitter chocolate and salty pistachios would help balance the decadent candy while adding texture to the buttery mouthfeel. The small tray goes a very long way because most people can only eat one small piece at a time.

Irish Cream Fudge

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup of Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup of Heavy Cream
  • 1 Small Container of Marshmallow Fluff, 7 ounces
  • 1 1/4 Cup Of White Chocolate Chips
  • 5 Tablespoons of Irish Cream
  • A Dash of Salt
  • 1 Bag of Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
  • 1 Cup of Shelled Pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Prepare an 8×8 baking dish by lining it in parchment paper and buttering the paper. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler, combine the dark chocolate and coconut oil. Heat, stirring constantly, until temperature reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the temperature drops to 82 degrees.
  3. Pour into the bottom of your 8×8 dish, and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat butter, sugar, salt, 4 tablespoons of Irish Cream, and heavy cream over medium heat.
  5. Once at a boil, stir sugar to combine. Continue to cook until temperature reaches 235 degrees Fahrenheit (soft ball stage).
  6. Remove from heat and quickly stir in your marshmallow cream, white chocolate, and remaining 1 tablespoons of Irish cream, making sure it all completely combines.
  7. Pour into your baking dish and spread to even it out. Immediately sprinkle with pistachios and press in.
  8. Let set in the fridge for an hour, or on the counter for one to two hours.
  9. Remove firm fudge from the dish and cut into 1 inch squares.

Cheesecake Topped with Candied Blood Oranges and Dark Chocolate

Cheesecake Topped with Candied Blood Oranges and Dark Chocolate

Hi. My name is Lindy, and I am a blood orange addict. As anyone with an addictive personality can tell you, when you want something, you find a way to have it, but it was not until I began baking that I became infatuated with blood oranges. As anyone else who is fascinated with a flavor, I am always trying to come up with new ways to use them in the kitchen.

As many bakers know, blood oranges are suitable for baking due to their extra tart flavor. Due to this, however, if you’re using them in a baked sweet, you really need to find a way to cut through that tartness. Obviously I love to bake, and I know that most of my recipes have been baked goods, but I’ve included this recipe because it shows a different technique to deal with blood oranges in a sweet dish and still get that beautiful tart flavor.

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Candied Blood Orange

Ingredients:

  • 2 Blood Oranges
  • 2 Cups of Sugar
  • 2 Cups of Water

Directions:

  1. Thinly slice blood oranges with a mandoline or sharp knife, leaving on the rind.
  2. Fill a small saucepan with water and blood orange slices. Heat on medium until boiling. Let the slices boil for two to three minutes. Drain the liquid.
  3. In the same saucepan add in the two cups of sugar and two cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Allow the slices to simmer in the syrup mixture for at least 45 minutes, or until the white part of the rind is translucent.
  4. Once cooked remove slices and let cool on a cookie rack.

Cheesecake Batter

Ingredients:

  • 1 Sleeve of Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • 5 Tablespoons of Butter, melted
  • 32 Ounces of Cream Cheese
  • 1 1/3 Cups of Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon of Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 Cup of Cream
  • 1/4 Cup of All Purpose Flour

Directions:

For the crust:

  1. With a food processor, crush graham crackers until they are a fine consistency. Grease and line a tin spring form cheesecake pan.
  2. Fill the bottom with your graham cracker crumbs, then pour over melted butter. Mix the butter and crumbs, with you hands, fully incorporated.
  3. Push down, making sure then entire bottom of the pan is evenly covered.

For the Cheesecake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven heats, combine your cream cheese and sugar into a stand mixer. Mix on medium until the sugar is fully incorporated into the cream cheese.
  2. Add in your vanilla, salt, baking…..
  3. Add in your eggs, one at a time, being sure each egg is combined fully.
  4. Mix in your flour.
  5. Once smooth, pour mixture over crumb crust.
  6. Fill a large baking sheet with water, then gently place the cheesecake on the sheet. Very gently place the baking sheet into the oven.
  7. Let cook for at least one hour, or until the jiggle in the middle is slight.
  8. Once cooked, turn off the oven, and let the cheesecake cool in the oven leaving the oven door open, as this will prevent cracking on the top.

For the Cheesecake Topping:

  • 1 Bar of Dark Chocolate (the kind for baking, not eating)

Directions:

*It is your choice on how you want to use the chocolate. You can dip your candied oranges in the chocolate to coat,  you can drizzle the chocolate over the oranges once they are on top of the cheesecake, or create a drip cake effect. The options are endless.

  1. Create a double boiler by heating water over medium in a small saucepan on your stove, then topping the saucepan with a metal bowl. Do not let the bowl touch the water.
  2. Once the water is boiling, add your broken up chocolate into the metal bowl
  3. Stir constantly until about halfway melted. Then remove the bowl from the water.
  4. Keep stirring until all of the chocolate has melted, and fully combined.
  5. Use the chocolate to decorate how you would like. Dipping the oranges…etc.
  6. Top the cheesecake how you would like, see pictures for reference.

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