It is almost Derby Day and that means it is time to put on fancy hats and drink bourbon. Or in this case, eat bourbon 🙂 I’m a vodka/soda kind of girl normally, but for this holiday of sorts I can definitely get into the bourbon mood. My husband jokes that I like football only because it involves being festive and having parties and that I am not really all that interested in the games. I’ll admit that in this case I know pretty much next to nothing about any of the horses involved in the Derby. Heck, I don’t even know what time it starts. But I do know that it involves wearing fun clothes, getting together with friends, and having some delicious food and drink ~ and that I can always get behind!
OK ~ let’s talk bourbon baking. For this “bourbon bake-off”, I tried two recipes that I fully endorse if you are in need of a dessert to make for tomorrow’s festivities. I expected one to come out in the lead, but honestly, I think both are equally delicious. I’m calling it a tie. These Chocolate Bourbon Blondies are definitely the boozier of the two, but not too sweet, soft, chewy and also chocolately. The Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake is light, fluffy and the perfect canvas for a little caramel drizzle. It is also great on its own if you have some pickier folks who might like things on the plainer side.
For the Chocolate Bourbon Blondies, I started with this recipe from Katty’s Kitchen (who adapted from Mark Bittman via Smitten Kitchen). I really liked the idea of stirring in chopped up dark chocolate. I also drew inspiration from this recipe from the Vanilla Bean Blog (aren’t the pictures gorgeous??). I liked the idea of using dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar. I also believe that using a higher quality bourbon is worth it in this recipe because you can really taste the bourbon flavor. I want to give all of these wonderfully creative bloggers full credit for their ideas, but I don’t want to send you to 8 different sites to recreate my recipe! As such, here is my adapted version:
Chocolate Bourbon Blondies (adapted from Katty’s Kitchen)
What You’ll Need:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup good bourbon such as Four Roses
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup + 1 tablespoon flour
3/4 Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate bar, finely chopped
What You’ll Do:
Line an 8 by 8 inch pan with parchment paper and set the oven at 350 degrees. Combine the brown sugar with the butter until smooth. Beat in the egg, vanilla and bourbon. Combine the dry ingredients and then stir them into the wet ingredients, along with the chopped chocolate. Pour into the baking dish and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. I started checking around 20 minutes and took them out around 24 minutes. I would do the “toothpick” test in the middle to check if they are done.
Kentucky Bourbon Butter Cake with Caramel Glaze
For this cake, I used this recipe for the cake “base” from the incredible baker Michelle of Hummingbird High. Instead of using the bourbon glaze, I dialed back on the booziness by using a caramel glaze from this recipe. The cake flour and buttermilk give this cake a very light and fluffy texture ~ it is equally delicious and delicate on its own. The caramel glaze just kicks it up a notch ~ and you can use it as sparingly or as indulgently as you’d like.
I will be back with my favorite links of the week later this weekend, which I usually post on Fridays. I wanted to get you these recipes in time for the Derby though and I hope you give one of them a try. I know I talk about eating healthfully a good bit on the blog, so I don’t want to ignore that these treats are quite indulgent. However, they are homemade so you know what is in them, which is always a plus. And secondly, we know its all about everything in moderation. With that, I hope you have a beautiful and delicious weekend 🙂