For the last two Christmases I’ve focused on giving handmade gifts instead of spending endless hours and countless dollars at a shopping mall. Because of this, gift giving was way more fun than gift-receiving this year – although maybe that’s because I’m finally becoming a mature adult (yeah right).
I was inspired to try making Baileys Irish Cream when a friend of mine recently made her own Paleo version for a party. As delicious as that version was I found a recipe from here that was a little more traditional, ie. something I thought my Mom might enjoy. The flavour is spot on and this recipe makes about a litre of Baileys, which is a steal considering how expensive it is at the Liquor Mart.
You can use a blender, food processor, or a whisk and a really strong arm to mix the ingredients together. You can keep the Baileys in the fridge for up to two months, but who are we kidding this tasty treat will be gone before the next snow storm.
Homemade Baileys Irish Cream
1 2/3 cups Jameson Irish Whiskey
1 cup half & half or heavy cream
1 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tbsp chocolate syrup (I used hot chocolate powder instead)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant coffee
1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor for 30 seconds. Store in an airtight container in the fridge and enjoy over ice, in coffee or mixed with milk!
Since you’ve finished all your holiday shopping, wrapping and decorating, I think it’s time for a drink. Oh wait, you haven’t started yet? Me neither! I think that calls for a drink. This recipe requires more prep than the average cocktail, but you’ll have a big pot of apple cider that will last until the new year. And if you’re hating Winnipeg’s -40 weather this will definitely warm you up. This recipe is really simple and easily reheated after the fact. I found recipes here and here and altered them a little based on what I had in my cupboards. I added a little too much sugar in the first batch because I didn’t account for all of the natural sugar in the apples. I ended up cutting the cider with some water to make it less syrupy, which worked like a charm.
Spiked Apple Cider
10-12 gala apples (or whatever sweet apple you prefer)
4 cinnamon sticks
4 tbs allspice
2 tbs cloves
1/2 cup sugar (optional)
Spiced whiskey or rum
1. Quarter the apples, you don’t have to worry about the seeds and stems unless you want some spicy apple sauce at the end (not a terrible idea).
2. In a big stockpot, add apples and sugar and fill with enough water to cover the apples.
3. Tie all of the spices in a doubled-up piece of cheesecloth and add it to the pot.
4. Bring to a rolling boil and leave, uncovered, on high for 1 hour. Turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 2 more hours.
5. Take off heat and let the liquid cool before thoroughly smushing (accurate, but made up word) everything with a potato masher. Using a spoon, push the mixture through a sieve to strain out the stems and pulp.
6. Reheat the cider on the stove or in the microwave. Add 1 1/2 ounces of whisky or rum to a mug and top with hot apple cider. Garnish with an orange peel.