Cranberry Mint + Bourbon Ice Pops

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So, it maybe slush-snowed yesterday and maybe it’s been kind of freezing around here, but I made popsicles anyway…cause, why not? Especially when these pops combine a seasonal gem like cranberries, herbal mint, and a hit of warm bourbon for good measure. The pops freeze up with an almost sorbet-like texture and turn out the best jewel-toned berry hue. I mean, I’ll just pull on my f-ugg boots and add another layer in the form of a cardi coat to get my pop-tail on…weather be damned, I don’t even care.

Cranberry Mint + Bourbon Ice Pops

Makes about 10 servings.

As always, these pops are not SUPER boozey since alcohol inhibits freezing…meaning too much booze will result in slush…which isn’t really a bad thing, but it won’t result in a pop. Also, I use THIS ice pop mold. 

12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries

1/4 cup mint leaves

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups water, divided

1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) bourbon

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, mint, sugar, and 1/2 cup water. Heat until it comes to a boil, the sugar dissolves, and cranberries pop. Remove from the heat and press the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Whisk in the remaining water and the bourbon. Allow to cool to room temperature and pour into ice pop molds. Freeze 1 hour before inserting the stick, then continue to freeze for several hours until solid.

In a saucepan

 

Maple Brown Derby Cocktail Pops

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Guys, I maybe made these while big, fluffy, frigid snowflakes drifted from the sky. I maybe wore shoes without socks that day too…my mind has been thinking spring, even if the elements are insisting it’s not time just yet. I couldn’t help it, I wanted to turn my favorite cocktail of the moment into an ice pop before citrus season ends. Enter the Maple Brown Derby Cocktail Pop!

A Brown Derby is a bourbon drink combined with grapefruit juice and honey syrup. I’ve been using maple syrup in my Brown Derby’s as of late, and I love the flavor–plus it’s already the perfect viscosity for cocktail mixing. I also like to add a few dashes of bitters for that extra little somethin’. These pops are sweet and almost smoky from the whiskey and maple, yet refreshing from the fresh ruby-red grapefruit juice. I may even love the color of these ice pops even more than I like eating them…I’ve been smitten with blushy/peachy/sunset colors. I think it has to do with these late-winter doldrums, but the next season is on the horizon and there warm-weather ice pops in our futures, friends.

Maple Brown Derby Cocktail Pops

Makes about 10 ice pops. I use THIS mold.

A traditional Brown Derby uses a syrup made of honey and water and doesn’t necessarily include bitters. I’ve tailored this recipe to my taste, so definitely do the same and make it your own…ratios are just a suggestion! However, upping the alcohol by too much will prevent the ice pops from freezing solid, so use a lighter hand and serve these with a shooter on the side if ya wanna get crazy.

2 1/2 cups fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit juice (about 4 medium grapefruits)

1/3-1/2 cup pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet your fruit is)

1 ounce bourbon

a few dashes of bitters (I did about 6)

In a mixing bowl whisk together all of the ingredients to combine. Divide the liquid between the 10 ice pop molds and freeze for 1 hour* before inserting popsicle sticks. Continue to freeze for several hours until frozen solid.

*You can soak/saturate the sticks in boiling water before making the pops, so you can insert the sticks immediately without waiting for the pops to set up. I always forget, though!

 

 

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

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It’s just a few days before Eat-Fest-USA, aka Thanksgiving, aka only one of the best holidays ever.

It’s just Sean and I this year, as we are staying put, and I’ve had the menu planned for a few weeks now. I’ve ordered our turkey and picked it up, planned the sides, shopped the pantry goods, written my produce list, and picked out the wines. I was going to bake up another batch of this pumpkin bread for Thursday morning, but I’m thinking we’ll go the fruit and cheese route for breakfast and snacking.

Not that this pumpkin bread wouldn’t make a lovely, easy breakfast to share with your fam and friends this thankful holiday. It would be perfect sliced and set-up next to plenty of coffee and/or tea to begin Thanksgiving day and kick-off the feast prep. This bread is super moist–and, I know we don’t all love that word–but it is what it is. And, I channel my inner Jesse Pinkman as I type this…

This bread be moist, yo.

The moisture comes from pumpkin puree, olive oil, and greek yogurt, there’s a bit of whole wheat flour for wholesome goodness, just a little spice, and a buttery layer of bourbon icing just for kicks. I also added some candied ginger to the top, for good measure. Maybe the icing and ginger are a little much but, they fancy-up this super easy quick-bread, making it holiday breakfast AND dessert appropriate.

Pumpkin Bread with Bourbon Icing

Makes 1, 9×5 inch loaf

Adapted from Simply Recipes

Since this is a quick bread, it comes together very quickly with few dishes. The bread also tastes great, maybe even better, the next day. This recipe makes 1 standard loaf of pumpkin bread–however, I baked this batch up in a 6inch round pan and a mini-loaf pan. Either way, this bread is delicious. Feel free to make this bread sans icing for an every-day breakfast bread sitch. I use half all-purpose and half whole wheat flour in this recipe, you could us less whole wheat or go with just all-purpose with great results. I would be wary of making the entire recipe out of whole wheat as it may result in a very dense and even gummy bread. 

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 cup pure pumpkin puree

1/2 cup olive oil

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Icing:

1 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons melted butter

2-4 teaspoons bourbon

milk to thin

Preheat oven to 350*F and grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan, or other baking dish, well. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together the flours, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices.

In another bowl, mix together the pumpkin, olive, oil, beaten eggs, yogurt, and vanilla. Mix well to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients and fold to incorporate until just combined and there are no longer any dry flour streaks. Be careful to fold the batter and not overmix it. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake in the center of the oven for 50-60 minutes (about 45 for the round pan) or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.

For the icing, whisk together the melted butter, bourbon, and powdered sugar. Add milk to thin to desired consistency. Spread icing over cooled bread. Sprinkle with chopped, candied ginger if desired.

Will keep for 2-3 days wrapped well at room temperature.