Alcohol is Your Friend

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bailey's Irish Cream Cupcakes

I had a very boozy cooking day yesterday! First up was Beef Stew with Beer and Paprika. YUM! Then Chris came home and told me he had a detail in the middle of the night (SUCK) and I knew I needed to find something to do for those three hours because I just can't sleep when he's out late. (I'm a worrier.) So I decided that yesterday would be cupcake experiment #1 for this week! Irish Cream cupcakes with coffee cream cheese frosting. Talk about a major wake up call at 2 AM! I know, I know. You all want to see cupcakes. But..stew first. No dessert if you don't eat your dinner first!

Once again, all bow down to the Pioneer Woman! This will be my go to beef stew recipe from now on. Here's the recipe. :)

To start, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a tbsp or two of butter in a dutch oven or big soup pot. Take my advice (learned with the French food) DO NOT USE ALL BUTTER. It browns way too fast!

Throw in your stew meat and brown it in batches. I used close to 3 lbs of stew meat so mine definitely wouldn't fit in there all at once. Once it's brown, remove it from the pot and put it aside on its own special little plate.

Chop up an onion and some garlic. I eyed my food processor and thought about using it for this one onion and these 4 little cloves of garlic. But for something like stew, I prefer the hand chopped rustic look of "my knife skills suck." Plus, it's easier to wash a knife than to wash all the little pieces of the food processor. (I did cheat and use my little handheld mini chopper for the garlic.)

Throw those rustic onions and garlic in the pan and let them cook a bit. I had to pour a teeny tiny bit more oil in because my meat soaked it all up.

Now for our star. I think (but don't know because I hate beer) that this would be better with a regular beer, not light. But this is what was left over from the impromptu Super Bowl party so, Bud Light it is. Cheap beer would work fine too.

And the supporting cast. A whole big box of beef broth, stock, or 4 cups of water with a few bouillon cubes thrown in, salt, pepper, paprika, and some tomato paste. Not pictured but no less important, some Worcestershire. Oh and a dash of sugar. I suck at gathering ingredients for pictures.

 Pour in the broth and then the beer and you get a nice foamy pot of stuff that looks like this. Put the meat back in and it's time to spice it up!

Worcestershire. See, there he is. LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff. I will happily marinate anything in this. Pour in a tablespoon because that's what the recipe says and then give that bottle a generous swirl around the pot. Because you can't have too much Worcestershire.

Tomato paste! I threw in a couple of heaping tablespoons just like this one. For anyone who doesn't like tomato, don't worry. It didn't give it a tomato taste at all, just made the broth a bit richer.

Dump in a palmful of Paprika, about half a palmful of sugar, give the pepper mill about 8 or 9 cracks, and I also use a salt grinder and I put in about 15 coarse grinds of sea salt. With this kind of recipe, I never measure. You have to get a feel for it. Put a lid on it and let it simmer for 2 hours.

When that's done, cut some potatoes of your choice in halves, quarters, or if using big potatoes, just good sized chunks. I cheated and bought baby carrots but I did cut some of the bigger guys in half.

Dump that in and simmer again for about 45 minutes. *Note* If you didn't buy the super trim stew meat (I didn't) and if you didn't trim the fat off your meat (again, that would be me) you're going to have a layer of fat on the top that the paprika turned BRIGHT red. Skim that off. Now, see how much liquid there is? Yeah well....

It reduces down to next to nothing and is so rich and concentrated and just OMG YUM.

Put it in a pretty bowl, sprinkle some parsley on top, and serve it with some French bread or other crusty bread. Which I totally forgot to make!

Now! CUPCAKES!!  *The recipe for the cupcakes and the frosting will be at the end of the post.

First, gather everyone up. It really does go faster when you're prepared. Which I was not. Everything cold really needs to be at room temp but...These were 2 AM cupcakes so that didn't happen. This recipe makes 24 full sized cupcakes by the way. So don't freak when I tell you "4 cups of flour." So here's the lineup for these boozy babies. 2/3 cup unsalted butter, 2 cups of sugar, 2 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/3 cups Irish cream (see, boozy), 2/3 cup milk, 4 (yes 4) cups of AP flour (I used cake flour, it's better), 2 tsp baking powder, and 2 tsp salt.

Now let me complain. 24 cupcakes or not, 2 tsp of salt is too much. I can taste the salt a bit and maybe that was the intention If I make these again, I will cut the salt in half. Another thing, if you want a little milder Irish cream flavor, I would take out some of the Bailey's and replace it with milk. The flavor of the Bailey's is very good but it is very strong.

Start out like every other cupcake recipe I put on here. Cream together the butter and sugar that you let sit until it was room temp (didn't you?). Add the eggs (also room temp) and the vanilla and beat it together again.

Looks like this. Like it always does.

Combine the milk and the Irish cream and whisk together in a separate bowl. I would love to throw a cup of coffee in that bowl and just dive right in. Mmmmmm.

Combine all of your dry ingredients in yet another bowl. Would you like to see my kitchen? Maybe I should show you the chaos that is left from my late night baking.

Now beat in (slowly so your kitchen isn't dusted in flour like mine) the dry stuff and the liquids, alternating the two until it looks like this! Very thick, creamy, yummy golden batter.

Look how pretty!! These are baked at 325 for 20 minutes and came out perfectly.

Here is the frosting. By this time I was getting pretty exhausted and you're lucky you got a picture at all. So just scroll on down and read the recipe for this one. It's not firm enough to pipe on so I got my happy little offset spatula out and spackled it on.

The frosting is another thing I would change if I make these again. The cream cheese frosting is very good but the cupcake is very rich on its own. I would probably make a coffee buttercream instead for a little more sweetness and a little less heaviness.

And here it is! The perfect "my husband is at work and I'm ticked" cupcake. Or the perfect low key dessert for an adult dinner party. Or any kind of party! Dense, moist, not overly sweet. It's a sweet little cupcake, all grown up. Pour yourself some coffee andput a shot of Bailey's in it (ya know, since you already have it out).

Irish Cream Cupcakes
Makes 24 cupcakes

2/3 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup Irish cream liqueur
2/3 cup milk
4 cups AP flour (cake flour is better)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt (I think this is too much but you can judge for yourself.)

  1. Preheat oven to 325. Insert liners into a medium cupcake pan.
  2. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the liqueur and the milk.
  4. In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with the liqueur mixture. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  6. Fill the cupcake liners 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick insterted in the center comes out clean. 
Coffee Cream Cheese Frosting
Frosts 24 regular sized cupcakes

8 oz cream cheese, room temp
2 tbsp evaporated milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt (I'd probably leave this out.)
2 cups confectioner's sugar
4 tsp instant coffee grounds or ground espresso beans

  1. In a medium bowl beat together the cream cheese and evaporated milk until smooth.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until desired spreading consistency is achieved.