Jalapeño Cheddar Beer Cornbread

Hold on to your knickers kids… this ain’t your Grammy’s cornbread.  This is a knock-your-socks off, set-fire-to-those-taste-buds, reach-for-an-ice-cold-beer, cornbread.  There’s something so simplistic and divine about a hot piece of cornbread slathered with honey and butter, but simplistic ain’t my thang.  Enter jalapeños, Habanero cheese, beer, and a whole lot of other goodness.

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Deviled Ham Beer Puffs

If the return of Mad Men has you wanting to put on your best Betty Draper-Francis hostess act, sans cigarettes, dysfunctional relationships and kids running around with plastic bags on their heads, have I got a treat for you.  An updated take on a 60s classic, these puffs are perfect for a wedding/baby shower, Spring brunch or luncheon, or a swanky cocktail party full of throw-back appetizers.

If you’ve ever been intimidated by making this kind of puff for savory or sweet treats, don’t be, I’m here to tell you they could not be easier.  They come together in no time, with minimal effort, and the beer adds an amazing dimension to the flavor.  Don’t listen to those silly recipes telling you to put the dough in a pastry bag and pipe them, they’re just as gorgeous by simply dropping them by tablespoons.

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Heaven & Hell Cake

“So that’s 10 minutes on the bicycle, 10 minutes on the treadmill, a full set of legs and 30 minutes on the elliptical – that should allow me two hunks of cheese and two beers later.”

I’m not the only one calculating calories burned into what I can indulge in later, am I???

I bring up this small neurosis because this cake is totally worth conserving and calculating calories for!  Of course you can always throw caution to the wind and dive right in – I have a sneaking suspicion that calories might be like germs, designed to scare us and suck all the fun out of living, but don’t really exist. (Kidding!)

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Guinness Corned Beef, Cheddar Soda Bread & Pilsner Parmesan Potatoes

It’s by pure accident that I’m posting my St. Patrick’s Day Feast – before March 17th!  (I don’t want you to think I’m losing my procrastinating ways). So hopefully, this will give you some ideas for maximizing your drinking family time on Saturday.  This plan is for a day of cooking, with very little of it spent actually cooking – love it!

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Orange Pecan Beer Cake with Orange Glaze

Dear Sixties Housewives, you were really onto something with this whole “bundt” thing.  Well done!

“It’s a Bundt.” “Boont?” “BundTT!” Cake, bread, gelatin, ice cream cakes, what can’t these little wonders do?!  Seriously, the bundt cake has it all – it’s quick, it’s easy, it looks great, cooks evenly, and tastes great – a baker could not ask for more.   Why have I waited so long to get on board?  Who knows, but the obsession has begun.

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Beer-Boiled Soft Pretzels with Beer Dip Two Ways

If you’re able to walk past your mall’s version of Auntie Anne’s without getting weak in the knees and/or attacking the free sample guy, count yourself lucky, and maybe have someone check your pulse.  I’m a sucker for a soft pretzel, and having grown up in Amish country, I’m lucky to have the real deal as my barometer for doughy, buttery, salty goodness.

This recipe is my take on the Amish way, with beer added, of course.  In my humble opinion a beer boil is what really sets these guys off.  They come out golden, buttery, doughy, beer-y, and super yummy!

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Orange Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with Blood Orange Compote

One of my goals for cooking in 2012 is “seasonal.”  Seasonal eating isn’t one of those hokey new-age eating fads, it’s one of the most simple and beautiful ways to fuel your body.  The earth is offering up these fruits and veggies at a certain time, practically begging us to eat them.  How cool is that?!

So what does this have to do with an orange chocolate cake? I’m getting to that.  Blood oranges are currently “in season” in my area and I’ve been dying to throw them into a delicious dish.  Enter… the cake!

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Triple-Layer Godiva Dream Cheesecake

While Valentine’s Day may be a ways away, I have a sneaking suspicion that there are those among you that have abandoned your New Year’s Resolution – swearing off carbs and sugar, in favor of loftier aspirations – such as mastering some baking skills, or boning up on your recipe reading.  I applaud you.  Now let me help.

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Gingerbread Cake with Cinnamon Glaze

You didn’t think I could make it through a holiday extravaganza without beer making its way into the mix… did you?

From start to finish the smells this cake produces are insane.  The smell of stout and molasses getting together is reminiscent of Brew House smells, so you know I was diggin’ that!  The cake baking fills the house with smells that could not be more Christmasy.

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