Saturday, March 12, 2011
My plan had been to start this post with an explanation of its silly title, inspired by the Justin Bieber song "Baby" that inexplicably got stuck in my head this week. But in light of the devastating natural disasters that have struck and continue to threaten those in Japan, I think it's more appropriate to instead take a minute of silence and also entreat you to help those affected in any way you can, small or large.
I don't know many people personally in Japan, but I immediately thought of my blogger friend E and casual college buddies J and H. Fortunately, they all communicated they were safe via email or Facebook. Isn't technology wonderful at times like these? My boyfriend P had taught English in Japan for a year and also had friends/students he was concerned about but who all turned out to be okay, thankfully.
To be honest, with all the natural disasters that have been in the news in recent years, the impact of this one didn't hit me for at least a few hours. It wasn't until I saw footage of the rising water swallowing up whole towns, cars and people being swept away like little toys, and other people trapped on rooftops, that the reality of it all flooded in. I honestly have no idea and can't even imagine what it's like to be in Japan right now. But I'll definitely be keeping all of those affected by this disaster close in my thoughts and in my heart.
On a lighter note, I do still want to share my latest Irish-themed treat just in time for St. Patrick's Day (March 17) festivities. Now I'm not a big alcohol drinker (not even beer) but man do I love Baileys Irish Cream. Let's keep this just between you and me ;p but my dad actually let me try it in my early teens. Immediately I was mesmerized by its smooth creamy texture, well-balanced coffee and chocolate flavors, and gentle whiskey kick.
What I haven't loved as much is the hefty price tag on the store-bought version. Until recently, this factor alone limited my enjoyment of Irish cream to maybe twice a year only. Well those days are at an end, my friends. Would you believe you can make a delicious and less expensive homemade version in 5 minutes? Not only can I enjoy sipping on Irish cream on the rocks more often, this discovery is also inspiring all sorts of Irish cream-based recipes from cupcakes to cheesecakes and beyond. And homemade liqueur is even great to give as gifts. If you or your friends are Baileys-lovers like me, you simply must try this recipe =D.
Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur [Printable Recipe]
Adapted from Allrecipes
Makes about 1 quart (4 cups)
XIAOLU'S NOTES: I decreased the amount of whiskey from the original recipe because I made it and the alcoholic burn was a bit much for me (though still tasty). Feel free to reduce it even more, or increase it as high as 1 2/3 cups depending on your taste preference. I also substituted half the cream with milk with no ill effect on taste. For a super rich version, use all cream. Some recipes I've come across use up to 4 raw eggs per quart of cream liqueur. I've left that out, but feel free to experiment and tell me how it turns out!
1 tsp instant coffee granules
2 tsp unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup milk
1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp honey
1 to 1 1/2 cups Irish whiskey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
In a small bowl or cup, mix together instant coffee, cocoa powder, and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream until smooth. Using a conventional or hand-held immersion blender, combine the coffee cocoa mixture, remaining heavy cream, milk, sweetened condensed milk, honey, Irish whiskey, vanilla extract, and almond extract and blend on high for 20 to 30 seconds. Transfer to a container, seal tightly, and store in the refrigerator. For the best flavor, let chill at least overnight to allow the flavors to meld together. Shake well before using. This should keep for up to 2 months.