Tag Archives: Liqueurs

Chilli crème de cacao

Chilli and chocolate are a match made in heaven.  Fact.  And I don’t even really like chilli all that much usually (spicy food isn’t my favourite).  But I do like chilli with chocolate. Dark chocolate, of course – I’m not convinced that chilli and milk or white chocolate would be all that fabulous…  I’ve done the chilli and chocolate combination a couple of times on Sharky Oven Gloves, first in the form of some rather delicious chilli chai and chocolate cupcakes and then in the form of some equally scrumptious chilli and chocolate icebox cookies (being ladybird-shaped was a total bonus.  The cookies that is, not me.)

A few weeks ago, I had a rather brilliant idea.  As we’ve just established, chilli and chocolate go wonderfully well together.  So why not infused dark crème de cacao with some chilli peppers?  Genius, right?  I don’t know why I’ve never thought of trying it out before…  Rather surprisingly, recipes for chilli-infused crème de cacao appear to be rather scarce, so I made it up as I went along (which I tend to do anyway).  The recipes I found for other chilli-infused alcohols (think tequila, vodka, etc) all specified that the seeds should be removed but the little stringy filaments left in.  No specific explanations were given but I decided to heed the advice – presumably the flavour imparted by the seeds isn’t all that great.

The resulting chilli crème de cacao is rather wonderful.  The length of infusion depends on your preferred level of spiciness.  I’m automatically a fan of anything that requires regular taste-testing and this recipe definitely ticks all the right boxes.  Some of this liqueur is destined for baking, though I haven’t quite decided what I’ll be making with it yet, but you can rest assured that I’ll keep you informed.  Adding a liberal splash of the liqueur to a hot chocolate would also be a great way to jazz it up.  The same goes for cocktails – it could be a great addition to make a cocktail unique (depending on the cocktail, obviously).

Chilli crème de cacao

Makes 250 ml
Recipe from my imagination

This recipe can easily be scaled up without problems – I only made a small quantity since I was experimenting.  The infusion time will depend on the combination of how spicy the chilli pepper that you use is (as chilli peppers go, mine wasn’t too too strong) and how spicy you want to make the liqueur.  Tasting the liqueur regularly is the only way to determine how long you want to let it infuse (what a shame).  Once removed, the infused chilli pepper can be chopped up and used for baking.

Ingredients

1 chilli pepper
250 ml dark crème de cacao

Directions

1.  Wash and dry the chilli pepper.  Halve it and carefully remove the seeds, but making sure to keep the white filaments, then add to a jam jar or preserving jar (depending on how much you are making).  Pour the crème de cacao over the chilli peppers and close the jar.  Store in a dark place (cover in foil if you can’t put it in a cupboard or something).

2.  After about 24 hours, taste the liqueur to check the strength of the chilli.  If not strong enough, return the liqueur to its dark place of hiding and check again in about 24 h (mine took about 48h).  When the liqueur is ready to your taste, strain the crème de cacao through a cheesecloth (kitchen roll also works) and decant into a bottle to store.

Enjoy!  (Moderately, of course…)

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Filed under Drinks, Recipes

Patience is a virtue: Blueberry gin

Not to conform to the St Andrews student stereotype or anything, but I have a lot of love for gin.  I have a friend who once made Gin & Tonic in a Thermos and brought it to the library for us to share because we were both craving G&Ts but had too much work to go to the pub.  Now that’s true gin love (some might describe it as alcoholism, however, I am rather inclined to disagree).  Oh and in case you were wondering, we both got our work done and met the deadline.

I came across a recipe for blueberry gin in December.  As soon as I saw it, I knew that I just had to try it – the only question was when?  It takes two weeks to brew, and the Christmas holidays rather inconveniently got in the way, so this little experiment had to wait until I got back to university at the beginning of January.

Now, I’m not a particularly patient person, and two weeks is a long time to have to look at something every day knowing you can’t taste it yet, but this was well worth the wait.  And the resulting pink gin is just so pretty!  It was finally ready at the end of last week, so I had an inaugural tasting with a couple of gin-loving friends.  We made Blueberry G&Ts, and they were rather amazing – fruity and slightly sweet.  We used the blueberries (“ginberries” might be a more appropriate description) to make cupcakes – I’ll blog about those soon.

Blueberry gin

Makes about 500ml
Adapted from Island Vittles

You can use fresh or frozen blueberries – the only frozen blueberries I could find were part of a frozen summer fruit mix so I used fresh ones (in January, I know).  Once the gin is done, use the leftover blueberries instead of normal blueberries to make muffins or cupcakes (or anything really).  For the gin, I used Bombay Sapphire because I happened to have Tesco vouchers for a discounted bottle, but any decent gin (so not supermarket brand) would work.

Ingredients

175g blueberries
60g sugar
500ml gin

Directions

1.  Mix the blueberries, sugar and gin in a glass preserving jar or similar container, seal and shake well.

2.  Store in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks and up to two months, making sure to shake every few days (or, out of sheer enthusiasm, every day in my case).

3.  Once the gin has turned a lovely dark pink colour, strain it through cheesecloth (or kitchen roll) into clean glass bottles.  Serve cold over ice with tonic for G&Ts with a difference!

Enjoy!  (Responsibly, of course…  Ahem)

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Filed under Drinks, Recipes, Student Life

Alcoholic whipped cream?! Yes please!

Whipped cream – such a wonderful accompaniment to cakes and many desserts, so simple to create, and so good!  The beauty of whipped cream is in its utter simplicity – that’s what makes it go so well with so many things.  Now whipped cream is amazing in itself, no need to change it, right?  Well, I thought so too, until I tried infusing it with liqueur (you know you’re an alcoholic when…).  Oh yes, that’s right, alcoholic whipped cream.  And there are so many spirits and liqueurs out there that suddenly you’re presented with infinite possibilities…  And you can subtly match your whipped cream to a particular dessert.

Other than not having the ingredients, there is never a valid excuse not to have home-made whipped cream if it goes with a particular dessert.  Don’t ever serve me whipped cream from a can – I’m a whipped cream snob, and I will judge you.  No electric whisk?  Just whip it by hand.  Sure, it takes a little longer but it’s really not that difficult.  Take it from me – I once hand-whisked enough single cream for 12 people, just to prove a point.

Liqueur-infused whipped cream

Inspired by Texts From Last Night (ya, I know – not your standard recipe source)

To be honest, this isn’t really a proper recipe – it’s very much a-bit-of-this, a-bit-of-that – but I just thought I’d put down the basic premise.

Ingredients

Double cream
Icing sugar
Several glugs (a well-known scientific unit of measurement) of a liqueur or spirit of your choice

Directions

1.  Pour the double cream into a bowl, add some icing sugar and several glugs of whichever liqueur or spirit you’ve chosen.

2.  Using the electric whisk (or standard muscle power if you don’t have one), whisk them together to form medium peaks.  Taste and add more liqueur or icing sugar as necessary.

Enjoy!  (Ahem, in moderation of course…)

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Filed under Recipes, Sweet Foods