While I was in the Army, I was privileged enough to visit several different parts of our great country. While some places made me long for the Great North West, I could actually see myself setting up a homestead in other. One of those potential roosting spots was Kentucky. For those of you that are unaware, Kentucky is full of history, attractions, world class horse racing, and great food. It also happens to be the birthplace of bourbon.
Now, I love bourbon. I love bourbon straight, over ice, or with Vanilla Coke. I love bourbon in my bread pudding, in my BBQ sauce and in my apple cider. A good bourbon on a warm spring day conjures thoughts of southern hospitality and images of wrap-around porches with a rocking chair. And what goes well with bourbon while you're sitting in that rocking chair and waving to your neighbor? Roasted pecans. Whether you call them “pee-cans”, “p-cahns”, or even “pee-cahns” they pair well with bourbon or just a handful by themselves.
So, now we know I love bourbon, pecans and, as seen in my previous blog postings, cake. So how do we put this all together into one sweet, mouthwatering treat? I think Bourbon Pecan Cupcakes with Bourbon Brown Sugar Buttercream Frosting will do it just right. Also, after I made these they looked rather plain so I added a pecan brickle for a garnish. Now, believe it or not, a brickle is different from a brittle. Some will say they are the same but brickle is not heated as high as brittle and I think it as a lighter and airier texture as well.
So strap on the apron and hand your keys over to someone in the living room because we're baking with bourbon this time and who knows, some of it might even make it to the cupcakes. Enjoy!
|Photo by Heidi Shepherd|
Ingredients and Directions:
1/4 Cup shortening
1/4 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 Cup light brown sugar
3 eggs, separated, at room temperature
1 Cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 Cup buttermilk
1/4 Cup bourbon
1 Cup chopped, toasted pecans
Bourbon-Brown Sugar Buttercream:
1/2 Cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 Cup butter
3 Tbs bourbon
1 Cup butter, softened to room temperature
3 Cups powdered sugar
2 Cups chopped, toasted pecans
1 Cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 Cups packed brown sugar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat the shortening, 1/4 Cup butter, and 1 Cup light brown sugar at medium speed in a large mixing bowl until fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and 1/2 tsp salt. Add the flour mixture in batches with the buttermilk and 1/4 cup bourbon, beginning and ending with the flour. Stir in the pecans. Beat the egg whites at high speed in a medium mixing bowl (metal preferably) until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into the cake batter. Line your cupcake pan with liners and fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with batter. Bake for about 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let them cool for about 10 minutes and then move them to a cooling rack to cool completely.
2. While cupcakes are baking, heat 1/2 Cup light brown sugar, 1/4 Cup butter, and 3 Tbs bourbon over medium heat in a heavy saucepan, whisking often, until butter melts. Continue to cook until mixture begins to boil, then boil for one minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and cool completely.
3. In a large mixing bowl, beat 1 Cup softened butter on high speed until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the cooled brown sugar-bourbon mixture until smooth. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until smooth. I like to always double my frosting recipes so I can just smother my cupcakes with frosting.
4. Do this last part after everything else is done. If you aren't completely focused on the brickle it is very easy to burn. Sprinkle the pecans over the bottom of a well-greased cookie sheet (you can use any pan as long as it's going to be big enough and has sides so the mixture doesn't spill out). Melt the butter in a medium, heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until the mixture reaches 280 degrees F on a candy thermometer, about 7 minutes. Pour the hot mixture over the nuts and let cool. Once completely cool, break into bite size pieces and top the cupcakes with the pieces.