Gingerbread Mini Bundt Cakes

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The holiday season is in full swing, so I have been baking to my heart’s content. Gingerbread is a classic holiday baked treat, and this recipe is for the true gingerbread lover. The flavor is ultra rich with a perfect amount of holiday spice, which pairs wonderfully with unsweetened coffee and tea. Making the gingerbread as individual sized mini bundt cakes not only makes hosting easier, it also helps for saving them for later – and these mini bundt gingerbread cakes get even better a few days after making.

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Ingredients: 1 cup oatmeal stout, 1 cup molasses, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 Tbsp ground ginger, 1 Tbsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ground gloves, 1/4 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup white sugar, 3 eggs, 3/4 cup vegetable oil

Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 350F. Butter and lightly flour bundt cake pan, shaking out excess flour. Place in the refrigerator. Add oatmeal stout and molasses to a saucepan and bring to a boil, then add baking soda. Let stout/molasses mixture sit and cool.

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Beat together eggs, sugars, and oil, then add molasses and stout mixture. Add flour, baking powder, and spices and continue to mix until fully incorporated. Pour batter into bundt cake pan, filling to nearly the top.

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Bake at 350F for about 45 minutes (until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into cakes). Remove from pan by flipping it upside down onto a cooling rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

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Winter Whiskey Cocktails

Contrary to the light and refreshing cocktails of spring and summer, winter cocktails tend to be hearty, and even occasionally medicinal. The warming and comforting notes of these three cocktails make them some of my absolute favorites to sip on during the winter months, and each is a welcome treat when fighting off a cold.

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Hot Toddy: A classic winter cocktail filled with spicy flavor, the hot toddy is a smooth sipper that’s incredibly easy to make at home.

1 cup water, 2 allspice, 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 teaspoon honey, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1.5 oz bourbon. Bring water to a simmer in a saucepan, add all ingredients to hot water and mix well. Serve hot and garnish with lemon slice.

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Penicillin: Incredibly complex in flavor, the penicillin cocktail was created as a general cure-all. The process of making the ginger syrup may be a bit time consuming, but delivers key flavor notes to this soothing cocktail.

2 oz blended scotch whisky, 3/4 oz ginger syrup,* 3/4 oz lemon juice, 1/2 oz Islay single malt scotch. Add blended scotch whisky, ginger syrup, and lemon juice to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into a glass with ice, pour Islay single malt scotch into glass so that it floats on top. Garnish with candied ginger and lemon peel.

*For ginger syrup: 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup peeled and sliced ginger, 1/2 cup sugar. Simmer all ingredients together in small saucepan until sugar dissolves, refrigerate any remaining syrup.

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Brown Derby: One of our two specialty wedding cocktails, the brown derby is one of our all time favorites. The punchy citrus flavor of the fresh grapefruit juice combined with the sweet honey syrup make this the ultimate comfort drink.

1.5 oz bourbon, 1 oz grapefruit juice, .5 oz honey syrup (equal parts warm water and honey). Add ingredients to a shaker filled with ice, shake well and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with grapefruit peel.