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Holiday spirits for your kitchen

Renee Euler/www.beyondrice Chocolate covered coffee beans add the final touch to these Kahlua cupcakes.

Kitchen spirits? Well, not the kind that go “Boo” and try to scare you, but the kind that are ingredients in some of our holiday cooking.


I hardly ever drink alcohol, and the bottles I have in my pantry are for baking and other forms of cooking food. I used to make my own version of Kahlua and let it age one or two years, but the past two years I just haven’t had time to make any.

It is good in a cup of coffee or in cakes, cupcakes and frostings.

If you like to cook with a bit of rum, brandy or liqueurs, you might find something interesting for your recipe collection here today.

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving Day recently and stayed warm, happy and well fed. Let’s put on a holiday apron and see what we can stir up. Kahlua cupcakes

2 1/4 cups flour

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup cocoa, unsweetened (plus 2 tablespoons for frosting)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup vegetable oil

1 cup strong brewed coffee (cooled)

3 eggs

1 container (8-oz.) sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla (reserve 1 for frosting)

2 packages (3-oz. each) cream cheese (1 for cream filling and 1 for frosting)

1/4 cup coffee liqueur (for cream filling)

1 container (8-oz.) chocolate Cool Whip (cream filling)

1/2 cup butter (softened) (for frosting)

2 cups confectioners’ sugar (for frosting)

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee (cooled for frosting)

Chocolate covered coffee beans for garnish (optional) 1. Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin pans with paper liners and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add oil, coffee and eggs. Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla. Spoon the batter evenly into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, for 16 to 18 minutes. Let them cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely on wire racks.

2. While cupcakes are baking, Make the cream filling. Spoon coffee cream filling into a squeeze bottle with a long narrow tip. Insert the tip into the top of cupcake and squeeze about 1 tablespoon of filling into center of each cupcake. Spread the coffee buttercream frosting evenly over the cupcakes and garnish with chocolate covered coffee beans, if desired. Coffee cream filling

1 package (3-oz.) cream cheese, softened

1/4 cup coffee-flavored liqueur

1 container (8-oz.) frozen chocolate flavored whipped topping, thawed 1. In a small bowl, whip the cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Slowly add the liqueur and fold in the whipped topping. Cover and chill. Coffee butter cream frosting

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup strong brewed coffee

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1 package (3-oz.) cream cheese

1 teaspoon vanilla 1. In a medium bowl, beat the butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, beating until smooth, add cream cheese, vanilla and cocoa then beat in the coffee until frosting has a sheen to it. Glazed Irish cream cake

For the cake:

2/3 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream

1/8 cup milk

For the glaze:

2 tablespoons butter, softened

3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

1 teaspoon milk or half-and-half, or more if needed

Guittard Cappuccino Chips or chocolate chips for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray an 8-inch pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, followed by vanilla. Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the Irish cream and milk, then the remaining flour mixture and mix until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3. Bake for approximately 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack until completely cool. Turn out cooled cake onto a platter and make the glaze.

4. To make the glaze, add all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until smooth and liquid enough to pour. Add more milk a half teaspoon at a time if needed. Garnish the cake with Cappuccino chips or chocolate chips before the glaze sets up, if desired. Ginger molasses rum cake

For the cake:

3/4 cup hot water

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 cup molasses

1 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

One 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely grated

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 cup light brown sugar

For the rum glaze:

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

1 cup granulated sugar

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 ounces dark rum 1. Preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl, stir the hot water and baking soda until the baking soda has dissolved; set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the molasses, oil, eggs and ginger until mixture is fully combined.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar (white), salt and cinnamon; then add the brown sugar and whisk again until no lumps remain. Add the water and molasses mixtures to the flour mixture and whisk until a smooth batter forms. Pour batter into greased, 8-inch square baking pan and bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake tests clean.

3. While cake is baking, make the glaze. In a small saucepan, add the evaporated milk, sugar, butter and vanilla over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until mixture thickens slightly, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in the rum. Pour the rum glaze over the cake when it comes out of the oven, let sit until the glaze has been fully absorbed and the cake has cooled completely before serving. Brandy butter

This sauce is very good on plum pudding, bread pudding, fruitcake, gingerbread or mince pie. 2 tablespoons brandy

1/2 tablespoon orange zest

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/8 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted 1. In small or medium bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until smooth.

2. Gradually add brandy and continue beating until mixture is smoothly blended.

3. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

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