I’ve been lucky the last few years, getting to spend a couple weeks of my Summer working in Kentucky. While I’ve worked all over the country and quite a bit of the world, I really enjoy Kentucky. The folks are friendly, the food is comforting and delicious and there’s bourbon, lots and lots of bourbon.
While in Kentucky, my baking takes place in a tiny hotel room kitchen. The kitchen facilities are limited and I pack a few essentials, like a muffin tin and baking basics. I should perhaps write another blog post about what I pack in my baking bag when I travel out of town, it’s a small but mighty collection that allows me to bake just about anywhere. What I don’t pack when I go to Kentucky is bourbon. There’s no need because the liquor stores in Kentucky have a bourbon selection as large as the wine selection in many areas of the country.
This year’s Kentucky Baking Adventure recipes contain Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. Like most bourbon distilleries, Four Roses has a long and interesting history, including multiple changes in ownership and a long stint of blended whiskey production (not legitimate bourbon), primarily for export. For the last 9 years, Four Roses has been a bourbon-specific distiller, aging all of their bourbons in new white oak barrels.
You may remember last year I shared one of my bourbon baking creations with my friend Pam and Trooper Brown. This year Trooper Brown dropped by again and brought friends. Oh the pressure! Nothing like folks who really know their bourbon judging my baking. The verdict from those in the know was that the Not-Derby-Pie Cupcakes were the best of the two, both were good. And I gotta tell you, both were very bourbon-y. Enjoy!
Makes 22 cupcakes
(Derby Pie is a chocolate, pecan, bourbon pie. The name is trademarked by Kern’s Kitchen and they fervently defend it. These are NOT-Derby-Pie and aren’t really pie at all, they are cupcakes with a frosting inspired by the proprietorially-named pie the Kern’s make.)
1 cup bourbon
1 stick plus 1 T. Earth Balance Vegan Butter-y Stick
3/4 cup cocoa powder
2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
1 T. vanilla extract
2 cups almond meal/flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup of my favorite gluten-free flour blend
2 1/2 t. baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line muffin tins with 22 cupcake papers.
Combine the bourbon and Earth Balance, chopped into small pieces, in a large sauce pan. Heat to melt. Remove from heat, whisk in cocoa and brown sugar.
In mixer bowl, mix Better Than Sour Cream and eggs with vanilla extract. Add bourbon mixture. Whisk together flours and soda in separate bowl and then mix into liquid mixture. Pour a scant 1/3 cup of batter into cupcake papers and bake for 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into center of cupcake should come out clean. Cool completely on a rack before frosting.
1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance Vegan Butter-y Stick
1/2 pound powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
22 whole pecans for garnish
Using hand mixer or stand mixer, cream the butter-y sticks for 2 minutes. Slowly add the the powdered sugar. Mix in the vanilla extract. With mixer on low or by hand, mix in the chopped pecans and chocolate chips.
Frost cooled cupcakes using your preferred method. I knife-frosted these and sprinkled a few extra chocolate chips on top then added a whole pecan piece to the top.
Mint Julep Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes