Today is a day of celebration. No, it’s not a birthday or an anniversary or a holiday or anything like that.
But today is the first day I’ve stood in the kitchen and cooked in seven weeks. A stress fracture in my hip kept my hands far too busy with crutches as my body got used to three new screws – but today those hands are free to stir and chop and crack and pour.
And it’s delightful, people. Just delightful. Can I get a hallelujah for Kitchen Therapy? This girl needed it something awful.
So to celebrate my Dancing in the Kitchen party, I’m filling this house with the warm fragrances of November. There’s a seasonal favorite of mine (that would be a year-round staple if I could keep enough fresh cranberries in the freezer), and something new. Both feature two of my best-ever key ingredients – Tennessee Honey by Jack Daniels and Mexican vanilla. Even if you aren’t one to like whiskey, you need to keep a bottle of this in your home. It’s perfect for desserts and marinades and glazes. OK, I’ll admit it, it tastes less like whiskey and more like something amazing from your childhood (though everyone who drinks it here can’t figure out exactly what that “something” is).
So will you celebrate with me today? Get in the kitchen, dance, make something and give thanks. And if you don’t have a favorite recipe of your own, try out these two: Whiskey-Infused Baked Cranberry Sauce and Tennessee Honey Pumpkin Walnut Pound Cake. If you want to make that cake extra special, top it with my Maple Cinnamon Glaze and a little Brown Sugar Bacon.
Love you all. Happy Kitchen Therapy!
*dances off to kitchen to eat a slice of cake*
Whiskey-Infused Baked Cranberry Sauce
Makes about 1-1/2 cups or so
1 package (12-oz) fresh cranberries
1-1/4 cup sugar (or more if you like a sweeter sauce)
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t Mexican vanilla
¼ cup Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey (or regular whiskey will do)
Mix first four ingredients together in small baking dish. Cover and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. Stir to make sure all sugar is mixed. Add whiskey, and bake for 10-15 more minutes. Let cool and serve as a side. Or get creative! Top crostini and Brie with a little sauce for a delightful appetizer!
Tennessee Honey Pumpkin Walnut Pound Cake
Inspired by Lake 0’ Lakes Butter (because butter inspires everything)
3-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. pumpkin pie spice
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
2 cups sugar
1-1/2 cups butter, softened
¾ cups cooked pumpkin (thank you Libby’s)
1/2 cup heavy cream
¼ cup Tennessee Honey whiskey
1 t. Mexican vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I toast mine a bit in the oven first)
Heat oven to 350. Prepare 12-cup Bundt pan; set aside.
Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside.
Combine sugar and 1 1/2 cups butter in bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Continue beating, adding eggs one at a time, until well mixed. Add pumpkin; continue beating until well mixed. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, whiskey and vanilla; beat at low speed until well mixed. Fold in walnuts.
Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 55-60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely.
And because I’m celebrating, here’s a Kitchen Therapy bonus: Maple Glaze with Brown Sugar Bacon. You can eat the bacon by itself if you’d like. I do. 🙂
Brown Sugar Bacon
1 pound thin-sliced smoked bacon, separated into strips
¼ cup brown sugar
1 t. Dijon mustard
Place all ingredients into a Ziploc bag and massage until bacon is covered in sugar and mustard. Place bacon strips on baking sheet that is topped with a cooling rack (so grease can drip below). Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until bacon is crispy. Eat if you just want some crazy-good bacon, or let cool and crumble to top the glaze below.
Simple Maple Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar, more if needed
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon very soft butter
1/2 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 T. heavy cream
Whisk all ingredients together, and serve over cake, cinnamon rolls, French Toast and more.
So, what are your favorite seasonal recipes for Thanksgiving? What makes your kitchen smell like autumn?
A loving “thanks” to my friend Alison for creating the handcrafted artwork with a powerful reminder.