Friday, April 9, 2010
Liquors- Part IV- Peppermint Schnapps
Ok, so after setting that impossible to live up to pattern for myself, where I include not only the recipe for the liquor, but also a recipe for something to make with it, I went hunting for come recipes to post with the liquors I have remaining to post. It's harder than it looks.
Peppermint Schnapps, to be sure, is extremely versatile. Everyone is familiar with the "Snuggler" or "Benchwarmer" as it's sometimes known- hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps. Yummy. There is almost nothing better on a cold night. But, alas, I'm trying to provide *original* ideas here...
And obviously since it's alcohol, and a very common one at that, you can all hit the internet for recipes for drinks, or go to one of those websites where you type in the name of the alcohol you want to use and it spits out a dozen or so recipes for shots/drinks that use your poison of choice. And drinkoftheweek.com/blog is fun too.
I'm also sure that you can all also figure out that you can use peppermint schnapps in virtually any recipe you want peppermint flavor in. Want mint chip ice cream? Yup, it'll work there.
So what's something new to do with it? I may not ever be able to come up with a truly revolutionary recipe. But here are my thoughts:
First- mix up a chocolate cake mix and add some peppermint schnapps to that...divvy up into cupcake papers (super cute holiday ones, perhaps?) and when cool, frost with a peppermint schnapps laden frosting. Presto! Peppermint Patty Cupcakes! (While hunting around online for cute and clever peppermint images I even saw cupcakes that were topped with a green frosting piped christmas tree, with droge ornaments)
But peppermint is SO not just for Christmas! It's cool, it's refreshing, it's perfect for summer! But it seems that peppermint has been pigeonholed into being just for the holidays...it's darned hard to find a recipe that uses peppermint schnapps that doesn't somehow revolve around Christmas. Yeah, sure, there are oodles of recipes for peppermint flavored things, and granted there are some that aren't Christmas oriented- but even most of those are, frankly, all about the holidays. When will this unfair prejudice end!?
But enough about all of that....
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 16 oz bottle light corn syrup
2 cups 80 proof vodka
2 teaspoons peppermint extract
Combine sugar and corn syrup in 2 quart pan over medium heat. Heat until sugar dissolves, stirring regularly, about 5-10 min. When sugar has dissolved, remove from heat, add vodka and stir. Cover tightly with lid (or else all your vodka will evaporate out), and let cool. Add peppermint extract and pour into sealable bottle.
I add a drop of green food color to mine- it's not necessary, but it sure does help to color code your liquor cabinet- and you wouldn't believe how many liquors are clear! (or yellow/amber for that matter....I think i need a label maker)
It's also super cute (and great for DIY gifting!) to leave it clear, bottle it up and adorn with a label that has come peppermint canes or candies on it, and tie up the neck of the bottle in a red and white ribbon, or a ribbon with peppermint candies on it.
Finally, I settled on these- a cookie for all seasons. They've got it all, chocolate, peppermint...cool and refreshing for summer, festive and minty for the holidays (and chocolaty for when you've got PMS),er, I mean- they're the perfect cookie! Only trouble is that I haven't road tested them yet- so if they're awful, someones gotta come forward and let me know....
Dark Chocolate Cookies
1 1/4 C. butter softened (room temperature and use butter not margarine)
2 C. white sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
2 tsp. pure vanilla extractChoc peppermint schnapps ganache cookie-4
2 C. all purpose flour
3/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 C. semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Sift together the dry ingredients and blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand.
Using a small cookie dough scoop (to ensure consistent size) drop dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Ovens may vary and I find that different pans cook quicker than others. You may want to test a small batch first. These are chewy cookies so they will be soft. Cool slightly on the cookie sheet. Then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.
White Chocolate Peppermint Schnapps Ganache
16 oz. chopped good quality white chocolate (real chocolate does taste better)
6 oz heavy whipping creme
1 1/2 oz. Peppermint Schnapps (you can use Grand Marnier or a fruit liqueur if you prefer)
2 to 3 tsp. butter
Place chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Add cream to a saucepan and heat to boiling. DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED AS MILK WILL BURN EASILY! Immediately remove from heat and pour over white chocolate. Whisk continuously until totally melted. Add in butter 1 tsp. at a time until you have a smooth texture. Add schnapps and whisk in. Let mixture cool completely and thicken. Beat with an electric mixer to soft peaks, then beat for only a few strokes by hand with the whisk. (Do not over whisk or it can become grainy)
When cookies have completely cooled, take 1 cookie and spread a layer of ganache about 1/4" thick on the bottom of it and place another cookie flat side down on the ganache. Continue with the rest of the cookies.
If you have Ganache left over you can keep it up to 1 week in the refrigerator and 4 to 6 months in the freezer. Just thaw it out on the counter and it should retain it's creamy texture. It's also a great frosting for cakes and cupcakes. In the spirit of the season you could also roll the sides of the sandwich cookies in some peppermint candy crunchies.
Since the cookies haven't been tested out yet, I submit another fabu Wendy recipe, that doesn't have any Peppermint Schnapps in it (although it COULD), but is an amazingly fantastic recipe...
Four-Layer Super Grasshopper Brownies
Adapted from a recipe at FamilyFun.com; a dearth of peppermint extract led to the invention of the rolling pin system, which is more fun anyway. I had success doubling this recipe and using a 9x13 cake pan. Either way, don't forget to allow for all that chilling time! This is definitely a full afternoon's project, but it's worth it because these are really delicious, among the two or three best brownies I've ever tasted.
1/2 cup butter
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1.5 cups sugar
1.5 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
2.5 cups confectioner's sugar
1.5 - 3 Tb milk
green food coloring
III. Chocolate Topping
3/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 Tb butter
Thin Mint cookies (or equivalent)
1. Heat oven to 350; grease a 9" square pan.
2. Microwave butter and chocoalte on high one minute. Stir; repeat microwaving; stir til' smooth.
3. Whisk together sugar and eggs. Stir in chocolate mixture and vanilla.
4. Stir in flour and salt until thouroughly combined.
5. Pour into pan and bake 25 minutes, or until inserted knife comes out clean.
6. Cool at room temperature for at least one hour.
7. Cream butter and confectioner's sugar (as best you can, anyway - there's an awful lot of powdered sugar!). Add mlik one tablespoon at a time, beating after each addition until mixture is smooth and spreadable.
8. The fun part! Stick a whole bunch of unwrapped peppermint candies inside a large ziploc bag. With a rolling pin, smash them into tiny bits.
9. Add obliterated mints to frosting, until it tastes distinctly minty.
10. Blend in food coloring by drops to desired shade. If the peppermints contained red dye, this may take more than you think!
11. Frost brownies, cover, and chill in fridge one hour.
III. Chocolate Topping
12. Following the microwave method used above, melt chips and butter together.
13. Stir 'til smooth. Pour over brownies and smooth out with child-cheater (that's a rubber spatula...we'll discuss that someday!).
14. Following the rolling-pin method, pulverize 5-10 mint cookies; sprinkle over brownies and press very gently into frosting.
15. Refrigerate 45 minutes or until hardened.
After all of that, I ran out of steam to try to find a recipe for peppermint soap...but it's devine and I'd strongly recommend you try some. Especially as July and August start to wear on and on and you feel like you're going to melt...