Have you ever had an Irish Car Bomb? It’s a (terribly named, I’m realizing especially strongly as I type it out) drink, consisting of a shot of Baileys and whiskey dropped into a pint of Guinness, and downed before it has a chance to curdle. Not something I’ve ever been drawn to, but when I came across a recipe for chocolate whiskey and beer cupcakes on smitten kitchen, I felt like I had hit the jackpot. Inspired by a chocolate stout tres leches cake that Laura and I had shared way back in January 2011, I had been on the hunt for a Guinness cake to serve at Hal’s birthday party (which suddenly and excitingly turned into a his birthday + our engagement party!!! Ahem). Just a Guinness cake would have satisfied, but stout cupcakes filled with whiskey ganache, to celebrate the birthday of a gent whose autocorrect writes WHISKY instead of whiskey? Now we’re really talking.
There were so many delicious looking dishes in this month’s Bon Appétit that we didn’t want to choose just one to test. We found that the bread section had some of the most promising options, so we each chose one: Jessica picked the salt and pepper biscuits and Laura picked the dilly rolls. In one of our most successful butter poached bon features ever, we highly recommend both of these rolls. They each work reasonably well for the Thanksgiving table (the rolls more so than the biscuits) and they are definitely keepers for the rest of the year.
My favorite email of the holiday season arrived last week: my aunt Joannie asking what we’re making for Thanksgiving. Over the past couple of years, Mom, Joannie, and I have assembled Thanksgiving dinner as a team and it’s become a delicious, extravagant tradition. Mom handles the heavies: turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Joannie and I fly in with the fun stuff: sides, desserts, apps, and usually a thematic cocktail. While everyone demands that Mom keep her anchors more or less the same, the supporting cast changes every year. There’s a rotating list of old favorites that make reappearances and there are always new dishes vying for attention. This year my chief contribution will be a sweet potato casserole so southern it practically drawls.
I have not been achieving my full festive fall potential this season. I have yet to taste my first apple cider donut or pumpkin latte of the year, I haven’t made it apple picking, I missed my students’ annual pumpkin carving event, the only foliage I’ve intentionally gandered at was out the window of a train speeding from NYC to DC (though I have to say, it was especially spectacular), and on Halloween, at my insistence, we skipped the parade happening one avenue over and stayed in eating Indian food. What I have done, however, is find a new favorite muffin that hits many of my fall cravings at once, with pumpkin, apple, and delicious spice. Not too shabby for a (relatively) healthy breakfast treat.