Maple Bourbon Fizz

We’re back to sub-freezing temperatures in New York City, and with the mercury set to stay that way for the next week, a bourbon cocktail seemed appropriate. Last year, the Maple Bourbon Sour became my winter cocktail of choice. For many, maple syrup may be more of a fall flavor, but I’ve always associated it with the winter months when the trees are tapped to collect the sap and sugar houses produce the syrup.

This time around, I decided to go with a fizz version using not just soda, but egg white as well. The egg white helps give the cocktail more body and a creamy texture, which melds well with the profile of the bourbon.

The recipe below is the result of some tinkering on my part and reflects my personal taste. As you’ll see, there’s flexibility. For a cocktail on ice, I tend to lean heavier on the bourbon so that it doesn’t become too diluted. I’ve also found that the maple syrup flavor can get lost in the mix sometimes, so I suggest using at least one full ounce or a little more depending on your liking. And please, don’t skimp on quality with the maple syrup – use the real stuff from New England or Canada. Lemon juice is usually the standard citrus for a bourbon-based sour cocktail, but lime juice can work just as well.

On using the egg white, be sure to combine and shake all ingredients before mixing with the ice and topping off with soda. This allows the egg white to fully emulsify into the frothy goodness that distinguishes this cocktail. And with an eye toward food safety, be sure the egg is fresh, at a cool refrigerator temperature, the shell is clean and, of course, your hands are clean before separating.

Here’s the recipe. Happy drinking.

MAPLE BOURBON FIZZ

Time: 3-5 minutes
Equipment: Cocktail shaker; egg separator (optional, there are lots of ways to separate an egg)
Glassware: highball or larger-sized lowball glass

2 1/2 ounces bourbon (Makers Mark or Knob Creek are good options)
1 ounce lemon or lime juice (your preference)
1 full ounce maple syrup (or a little more if you like it on the sweet side)
1 egg white
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ounce soda water

First, fill your glassware of choice three quarters full of ice to chill the glass (the ice will also be used in a couple of steps).

In a cocktail shaker, add the bourbon, lemon or lime juice, maple syrup, egg white and bitters. Seal and shake vigorously for 30-60 seconds. Add the ice to the shaker, seal again and give it another 10 shakes or so. Pour into the glass and top off with soda water.

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French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts

French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts

One of my New Year’s food resolutions for 2011 is to make more bread. While I mentioned keeping a sourdough starter going throughout the year in the resolution, the general idea is to focus more on yeast breads. And with a new KitchenAid stand mixer now firmly positioned on my countertop (partly because there’s no where else to put it and mostly because it’s so heavy), prepping bread dough is now a whole lot easier.

A couple of weekends ago I decided to try my hand at a loaf of sandwich bread. Plain old sandwiches weren’t my main objective, although I did make myself a mean grilled PB & banana sandwich at one point. No, I had bigger plans in store – namely French Toast. For most people, I think, French toast and waffles sit on a lofty perch reserved for the breakfast entrée elite. They’re the special breakfast dishes that your parents would make on lazy weekends or the every so often calorie loaded brunch binge. And while I’m sure there are firmly established camps on both sides of the French toast and waffle divide, I’ve always been in the middle. Deciding between the two usually comes down to whatever I’m craving at the moment. And once I decided to make sandwich bread, I knew I wanted to make French toast.

The recipe for this French toast is fairly traditional and comes from the Joy of Cooking. I added the walnuts and bananas, which are a perfect match with French toast and something of a standard option on the brunch circuit. On related of a side note, I highly recommend reading the chapter from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life that tells of her father’s version of French toast. It’s a great read and not just for those that love French toast.

French Toast Breakfast

 

French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts
Adapted from the Joy of Cooking
Serves 4

 

2/3 cups milk
4 eggs
2 TBSP sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 tspn rum
1/2 tspn cinnamon
1/4 tspn salt
8 slices sandwich bread
2-3 TBSP butter
2-3 TBSP vegetable
2 bananas, sliced
1 cup walnuts
Maple syrup for serving

 

In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, rum and salt. Fully soak the bread slices in the mixture one at a time and reserve on a cooling rack set over a baking pan.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add equal amounts butter and oil, about 1 tablespoon each. Once the butter foams, and working in batches as needed, add 3-4 slices of bread to the pan. Cook until nicely browned on each side. Repeat with the remaining slices, adding butter and oil to the pan as needed.

Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a pan over medium heat, tossing frequently for about 5 minutes.

Serve two slices of French toast per plate and top with the banana slices, walnuts and maple syrup.