Tag Archives: cooking with booze

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

Do you eat leftovers? We do, a lot. I know some people don’t, but I was raised in a no-wasting household, food and otherwise. I get unnecessarily stressed out about food waste, which is perhaps not entirely a bad thing. Using everything to the very end of its usefulness is good for the budget, even if it does require a little planning. Now that I have a household of my own, I have embraced the leftovers, and one of my personal challenges is to reuse meal extras in creative and resourceful ways, so that we aren’t simply microwaving yesterday’s dinner to eat again today.

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

My husband is the one that introduced me to rice pudding. Prior to meeting him, the only rice pudding I remember having was the kind that I picked up in the university cafeteria, in little plastic cups with sealed foil lids, Kozy Shack emblazoned across the packaging and enjoyed between classes with a plastic spoon. My family was a potato family growing up – our starch of choice came in tuber form. Must be that good Irish stock. But regardless, rice was not something that was made often, and when it was, it was usually from a blue & red box, in “Minute” form. Or pre-seasoned and fried, the “-A-Roni” version. And on special occasions, the kind in the round foil containers with cardboard lids, from the Chinese take-out place. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I learned to cook rice, and admittedly, I am woefully bad at it. I should invest in a rice cooker, but my husband loathes the idea of another single-use appliance in the house when my kitchen and storage is already brimming with all the kitchen gadgetry that I already have.

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

This recipe is one that I came up with to make use of leftover rice. I am often a poor judge of pre-cooked portions, and end up making far too much. And often even when I find that sweet spot and don’t think there will be any left, my children are less hungry than I expected. This is a very forgiving recipe for alterations. The only rule to really keep in mind is equal parts cooked rice and liquid, perhaps erring on the side of more liquid rather than less. Feel free to play with the proportions – more or less cream, half and half, coconut milk, whatever you like according to your taste. You can also sweeten it however you like, but if you are using a granulated sugar, you may want to add it earlier in the cooking process. I prefer to sweeten with raw honey, so I add it as close to the end as possible to preserve the distinct wild honey flavour. This is our favourite variation, as well, with a rich rum flavour and plump, warm raisins.

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

Rum Raisin Rice Pudding

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 1/3 cup milk
2/3 cup cream
2 Tbsp honey
2/3 cup raisins
1 tsp vanilla
3 Tbsp dark rum
2 Tbsp honey
pinch of salt

In a medium saucepan, bring rice, milk, and cream to a simmer over medium low heat. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid has mostly been absorbed and the pudding is beginning to look thick, about 20-30 minutes.

Add honey, raisins, vanilla, rum, and salt. Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until the pudding is thick and the raisins have plumped up a little. Serve warm, or refrigerate and serve cold. {Note: If you refrigerate to serve later and wish to reheat, you may have to add some extra liquid, as it thickens considerably upon cooling}. Serves 4-6.

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Texas Sheet Cake (with Bourbon!)

Tuesday marked the end of a two-week medical drama for me. I was so jubilant when I was told by my nurse that I was good to go that I almost jumped for joy, and immediately exclaimed “This calls for cake!” She and I had a good laugh over my excitement, and I decided that a chocolate cake would be the perfect celebration.

When I got home, there was no way that I was in the mood to bake, level, and frost a layer cake. And decorating cupcakes was right out. Enter: Texas sheet cake. Somewhere between a chocolate cake and a fudgy brownie, this cake fit the bill: simple, yet rich. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?), I only have a 12×18 pan in my arsenal, so I had to make a full recipe. This cake is huge, but I can already tell it will be gone soon. After my first piece, I went back to the pan with knife in hand, slicing out bite-sized slivers in the hopes that my husband wouldn’t notice. No such luck on that, by the way. My goal now is to find a half-sized pan, so I don’t have to make such a ridiculous amount. Some people say this isn’t a true texas sheet cake, and they may be right. It is, however, a beautiful cake nonetheless. Texas sheet cake also breaks the cardinal rule of letting a cake fully cool before icing it. The results of pouring hot icing over a hot cake are amazing, though – it results in the cake and icing becoming one, the lovely crumb of the cake slowly giving way to the oozy richness of the icing, a gradient of chocolate awesome.

As for the bourbon, well, that’s a boozy obsession of mine. I love bourbon. I love drinking bourbon, and I love cooking with bourbon. One of my favourite substitutions is bourbon for vanilla extract, so that’s what I’ve done in this recipe. I don’t think the minimal amount in the cake makes a huge difference, but there’s a nice subtle bourbon undertone in the icing.

I hope you enjoy this cake, I certainly did!

Texas Sheet Cake (With Bourbon!)
(Adapted from The Hungry Mouse)

Cake:
– 2 cups flour
– 2 cups sugar
– 1/2 tsp baking soda
– 1/2 tsp salt
– 2 eggs plus 2 egg yolks
– 1 Tbsp bourbon
– 1/4 cup sour cream
– 8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
– 1/2 cup butter
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 3/4 cup water
– 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Icing:
– 1 cup pecans, toasted & chopped
– 1/2 cup butter
– 1/2 cup heavy cream
– 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1 Tbsp light corn syrup
– 1 Tbsp bourbon
– 3 cups icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare a 12×18 pan by greasing lightly and lining with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In another bowl, whisk eggs lightly. Whisk in bourbon and sour cream. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate chips, butter, oil, water and cocoa powder. Heat over medium heat, stirring until mixture is smooth, about five minutes. Remove from heat and whisk into the flour mixture. When fully combined, whisk in the egg mixture.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth into corners with a spatula. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

While your cake is baking, prepare your icing. Toast pecans in a dry skillet over medium heat until dark and fragrant. Remove from heat and coarsely chop.

Combine butter, cream, cocoa powder, corn syrup and bourbon in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring until mixture is smooth, about five minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in icing sugar. Whisk until sugar is completely incorporated and all lumps are gone. If necessary, keep warm over low heat until cake is done. Pour over cake as soon as it comes out of the oven, and spread with a spatula.

Sprinkle immediately with toasted pecans, and let sit for 45 minutes before digging in.

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