08 4 / 2012

Today is a celebration of spring! Out with the old, in with the new.  A celebration of renewed life, sunshine, and blossoms. Here’s a little something refreshing to help you take this new step into warmer days: Infusions.

There are 3 types of liqueur pictured above.  Starting from the left we have: Pineapple and vodka, mango and rum, and passionfruit and pisco.  

Just in case:  

pis·co

  [pis-koh, pee-skoh]: a brandy made in Peru

How it’s done:
  • Pick a fruit and pick a type of liquor.  Citrusy fruits like pineapple, orange, key limes, etc. work best since we will allow them to soak for up to 3 months.  
  • Buy an air tight glass container (only glass, no plastic).  I found these jars at TJMaxx, Homegoods, and Michaels. 
  • Cut your fruit into relatively small chunks, but at least larger than 1in.x1in. Place fruit in jar and pour your choice of liquor over it.  Make sure that the fruit is completely covered by the liquid.  If it starts poking up and floating after a few days, just give the jar a shake or push the fruit back down, no biggie.
  • Place jar near a window where the sun can shine through it.  Let sit at least 2 months, and up to 3 months.
  • After three months, strain the liquid through a cheese cloth.  An old t-shirt works also.  Squeeze all of the liquid out of the fruit and discard pulp. Measure out how many cups of liquid you have.  Set aside.
  • Now, make your simple syrup.  Simple syrup is one part water to one part sugar.  In this recipe, you will add 1/3 (of the amount of the liquor) in simple syrup. For example, you have 6 cups of liquor.  Therefore, you will add 2 cups of simple syrup.  
  • In order to make simple syrup, put how ever many cups of sugar and water you need for your particular recipe in a saucepan.  For my recipe I needed approximately 4 cups of simple syrup.  Therefore, I added about 6 cups of water and 6 cups of sugar to my pot (because it will reduce).  Cook on high heat and until it comes to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Allow it to simmer until it reduces by about a third.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. 
  • Don’t stress out.  The amounts don’t need to be perfect.  It’s going to taste great no matter what so don’t fret too much about the exact amounts. Relax. 
  • Once the syrup is cool, add it to the fruit infused liquor and mix well.  Bottle in glass containers. Done. (Pictured: Pineapple Vodka)
  • Sweet, refreshing, delicious, cheap…all you need is a bit of patience.  But we all wait patiently for spring, don’t we?
Good Luck!
~Isabella

15 2 / 2012

It’s mid-week and the day after Valentine’s Day.  Let me just say, yesterday was nuts.  People dashing frantically into grocery stores last minute to pick up roses and cheap chocolate like it’s the apocalypse.  Romantic, eh?  Anyways, being around all the hustle and bustle made me want to offer the poor souls a drink.  A chocolate-y, easy to make cure for the madness.  (drumroll) Rum Balls!

Bam!  So here’s how it’s done:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of dark rum (you can use any rum but I like the taste of the dark)
  • 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Box of Vanilla Wafers
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground or chopped pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.
  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons of honey
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
  • Toppings: extra cocoa powder, powdered sugar, jimmies/ sprinkles, white chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla sugar, or whatever else your heart desires!

In all, this recipe takes about 20 minutes to complete:

  1. Toast the nuts in the over for extra flavor.  To do this, spread a thin layer on a cookie sheet and pop them in over on 375F for about 6 minutes. Set aside to cool, then chop by hand or give them a whirl in a food processor.
  2. Place the vanilla wafers in a food processor until they are finely ground.
  3. Sift the cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, and powdered sugar in a large bowl and add the rum and honey.  Mix well and then add the nuts and ground wafers.
  4. Mix well and then place mixture in the fridge for about an hour, or in the freezer for 15 minutes.  (I’m slightly impatient, so I took the freezer route) The mixture will look dry, but do not fear-it’s perfect!
  5. Taking the mixture between your palms, form balls.  If you shoot for about a 1 inch diameter, then you’ll come out with roughly 40 rum balls.
  6. Roll the balls in whichever coatings you choose! If you’re rolling them in chocolate, add a bit of butter while melting the chocolate for an easier to work with consistency. 
  7. Place the rum balls in mini cupcake liners for a nice finishing touch.  Then, pack them in an air tight container and leave them in the fridge over night…they get better with time!

And there’s your cure for Valentine’s Day madness.  Nothing like a little rum and chocolate to help ease anxiety. =)

Until next time,

Isabella