Bakers have used alcohol to infuse baked goods with flavor for centuries. Rum-and bourbon-spiked cakes, cookies and pies are the most common recipes, but over the past few decades, liqueurs have gained favor as baking ingredients. They not only have lower alcohol content than distilled spirits, they can have more intense flavors, so less is required.
Cookies and Brownies
Transform plain espresso-chocolate wafers into tipsy cookie treats with a liqueur glaze made from a combination of about 2 cups of confectioners' or powdered sugar, a couple of tablespoons of Irish cream liqueur, and a tablespoon each of coffee liqueur and white creme de menthe. After glazing the cookies, press a miniature chocolate mint candy into the top of each warm cookie to accent the tastes of the liqueurs.
A simple oatmeal cookie becomes a dessert star by adding chocolate chips and a tablespoon or so of orange liqueur to the dough before baking.
Give a batch of brownies a kick with raspberry, almond or mint liqueur. While the brownies are still warm, make holes all over the surface with a toothpick or bamboo skewer and pour two or three tablespoons of liqueur evenly over the surface.
Liqueurs add a kick to cake batters and frostings. Sponge cakes are particularly amenable to coffee, almond and hazelnut liqueurs. Dense, chocolate flourless cakes with almonds in the batter take well to the addition of a tablespoon or two of almond liqueur. For more intense liqueur taste, poke holes in the cakes while they're still warm and pour 2 to 3 ounces of your favorite liqueur over the top to add little rivulets of flavor. Adding liqueurs to frostings gives them both more taste and a heady aroma.
Toss sliced raw apples with a few tablespoons of cinnamon, orange or apple liqueur to update classic apple pie filling. Spike berry pies with blueberry, raspberry or strawberry liqueur added to the pie filling. To add liqueur flavoring to cream pies, whisk the liqueur into the filling after it's cooled to prevent curdling and separation.
Despite prevailing assumptions, not all alcohol dissipates during cooking or baking. Depending on how long you bake or cook an item and whether it's cooked in an open or closed pan, up to 50 percent of the alcohol remains. If this is a concern, simply substitute the liqueur with a comparably flavored non-alcoholic syrup or extract.
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