hot toddy bundt cake

1 close up slice glazed hot toddy bundt 2 lemon bourbon honey glaze on bundt 3 four roses bourbon lemons honey jar 3 lemon zest sugar 4 creaming butter sugar lemon bundt mixing batter hot toddy lemon bundt slicedHot toddy weather seems to be here to stay this winter. It seemed only natural to me to create a bundt cake inspired by the honey lemon bourbon beverage.  The perfect slice to complement hot tea, hot toddy, or hot company.

Hot Toddy Bundt Cake
adapted from Taste of Home

1 cup butter, softened
zest of two lemons
3 cups sugar
6 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
2 teaspoons bourbon

juice of 2 lemons
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon bourbon
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (maybe more)

In a bowl, cream butter. Gradually beat in sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each egg. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream and bourbon. Beat just until blended. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. tube pan. Bake at 325° for 1 hour and 25 minutes. Cool in pan 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Whisk together glaze ingredients. Using a pastry brush, coat the surface with glaze. Repeat every ten minutes or so to build up a sweet layer (think of it like basting). If you do not have the time or patience, thicken the glaze with additional confectioners’ sugar to make a frosting for spreading over the top.

swapped up black raspberry shrub syrup

shrub aerialblack raspberry shrubsrp hton foodswap meringue stackmeringue starsbeans corn swaprolls cookiesheidi maryhton swap open doorSecond food swap (first in our area!) boomed with bounty. The special aspect of a summer swap is that those with gardens bring their freshly harvested abundance. One day I will have a patch of land with a garden, but for now my swap items are kitchen creations and confections. My items this go around were meringues and black raspberry shrub drink mixers. Everything was “swapped up,” and I returned home with more than I could have ever imagined! The camaraderie is almost as delicious as the goods. I now refer to Food Swaps as “Food Christmas.”

tart tree float

From decorations and music to food and drink, I get all sorts of sentimental feelings during the holiday season. You may remember last year when I shared one of my favorite tree-gazing beverages, the pink snow float. This year I put together a more tart beverage with pink grapefruit and lime, more for tree-rocking and sushi eating than lazy lights gazing. Adjust the amounts based on your taste. Begin with pink grapefruit juice, add gin if you wish, then drop in sweet scoops of lime sherbet (I used my melon baller for the little glasses). Top off the drink with club soda or another fizzy liquid and watch the bright green bubbles grow to the top of your glass.

Rocking around the Christmas tree, have a happy holiday! Everyone dancing merrily in the new old-fashioned way.”

fabric apple favors

For the party we had for my folks last week, we wanted to send our guests home with something cozy and fallish. What says that more than a pouch of fragrant mulling spices nestled inside of a fabric apple? My sister sewed the apples while my niece and I measured out spices into cheesecloth pouches (the apple template came from a Gooseberry Patch Christmas book). We finished them off by tucking in a recipe for spiced cider and a cinnamon stick for the stem. After the spices are used, the apple pouch can be stuffed with anything and tied up for decoration. I don’t know about you, but I could smell some mulled cider or wine everyday for the next four months.

jelly belly bubbly

One Christmas (years prior to drinking age), my Aunt Priscilla set out an assortment of Jelly Belly jelly beans at her house along with a recipe chart of jelly bean flavor equations.  My young and curious sweet tooth struggled to be polite while resisting the urge to empty the tray and taste test every listed combination.  I remember wishing that I could invent my own someday as I attempted to simulate a banana split experience in my mouth with jelly beans.

This year over the 4th, my niece and nephew introduced me to Jelly Belly syrup flavors.  In between water fights with their neighbors, they mixed Blue Raspberry Jelly Belly and Root Beer Jelly Belly flavored sno cones in the backyard.  I also enjoyed a sno cone that afternoon, except I toasted to American adulthood and topped off my shaved ice with bourbon.  Beam over bean, I said in my head.  After all, I am a fall-weather gal, and it was upwards of 110-degrees out there.

It seems like those little gourmet gelatinous beans come in just about every flavor but bourbon, and now at least a dozen candy syrups are available at most stores in town.  So I thought, why not put together a Jelly Belly Champagne cocktail?  A jelly bean alone seems to fit the amorphous cocktail description of “a mixture of substances.” Let me be clear about one thing though, this bubbly bean beverage must be classified as a kitschy candy cocktail.  I would never think of disgracing Madame Clicquot by polluting her perfectly golden dry bubbles with shaved ice, not to mention jelly bean flavored corn syrup. This concoction is for the cheap stuff!

Place jelly beans in the bottom of your cone or glass, cover them with shaved ice, pour about two tablespoons of Jelly Belly flavored syrup over the ice, and top off with champagne.  The drink also works w/o alcohol (use sparkling cider or Perrier with the syrup and ice).  Pink colored Tutti Fruitti with champagne tastes like bubbly bubble gum; Grape or Root Beer are fun to mix with brown liquor.

What else?  Jelly Bellies and their syrups are gluten free, and jelly beans turn into gummy beans as they effervesce.  Dare I suggest that drinking a jelly bean cocktail can simulate childhood while being an adult… just be responsible and don’t take yourself too seriously.

neon lips straws

My niece is visiting this week, and we are doing special things together like going to the movies with grandma, visiting great-grandma’s house, and taking fancy drinks to the park. I once saw mustache straws and thought it would be fun for us to make something like that to put in our fancy drinks.  We made these simple summer lips straws using hot pink card stock and neon bendy straws (how handy that the diameter of my hole punch is exactly the diameter of the straws).  The lips template is here in case you want to make some too – just click on the image, print, cut, punch, and slide on straw.  You could even encrust them with glitter for extra shimmer.  Tonight we are going to eat spaghetti and meatballs for dinner and watch Lady & the Tramp!