Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses

The perfect holiday treat!

Homemade Caramel Covered Scotch Kisses are the perfect holiday gift.
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

And I can guarantee you won’t be able to eat just one. If you’re at all familiar with a certain popular candy store’s holiday offerings, these little nuggets of heaven I’ve dubbed “Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses” likely look like something you’ve seen before gracing their shelves before. If not, then prepare to be wowed by a delicious homemade holiday goodie that will put your standard cookie and fudge platters to shame. You’ve been warned.

I generally claim to have no preference between cooking and baking (yes, I’m one of those rare birds), but when the holidays roll around, all I want to do is bake up tasty treats and goodies. I’m a sucker for everything from cookies to coffee cakes, and would happily give up candy bars in exchange for baked goods any day of the week.

Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses are a great addition to any holiday cookie trays you plan on handing out to friends this year.

That’s why I’m so lucky to have partnered with Sonoma Syrup Co. this holiday season to create some super tasty treats using their syrups, extracts, etc. I kicked off the fall season with these Pomegranate Soda Ice Cream Floats, then took advantage of my pumpkin obsession by whipping up this Pumpkin Spice Coffee Cake with Amaretti Crumble. For the month of December, I wanted to showcase their super-fragrant and fresh Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush,” and what better way to do so than with some Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses?

To be honest, this was also somewhat of a self-challenge on my part. You see, homemade marshmallows (and heck, even homemade caramel) have been on my list of “Things That Intimidate Me” for quite some time now. But heck, that’s one of the reasons I started this blog, to not only challenge myself with new projects in the kitchen but also encourage you, my dear readers, to challenge YOURSELVES with cooking adventures that may have previously been holding you back.

Sure, homemade marshmallows require some special ingredients like silver gelatin sheets and acetate (thank goodness for Amazon Prime!) and a careful eye on the stovetop, but when you break things down they’re really not that complicated…and so much tastier than the store-bought stuff! And who better to turn to than the man Thomas Keller for guidance? I referred to his Bouchon Bakery marshmallow recipe for this first little foray into the ‘mallow world, and as usual was thankful for his overly detailed instructions and step-by-step guide.

These Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses are a fun and festive treat for the holidays.

To give the marshmallows an extra-special hit of flavor, I turned to the aforementioned Sonoma Syrup Co. Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush”. I tell ya, it’s amazing what just a little dash of this stuff brings to the table when dressing up a holiday goodie! I’m not even exaggerating when I say you can easily tell that they use only the highest quality Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla as the ingredients. It puts any other mass-produced vanilla extract to shame!

So, after we have the marshmallows made and chilled (carefully following the instructions – I promise it’s not too hard!) we make our super-simple caramel coating. And when I say super simple, I mean super simple – we’re talking just two ingredients and a saucepan away from having a huge batch of Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses ready for all your holiday gift-giving needs. Simply melt together some store-bought caramels with a little bit of heavy cream, let it cool slightly, and you’re ready to dip!

It’s important that you start with the marshmallows frozen so that they don’t melt into a gloppy puddle as soon as you dip them into the warm caramel. It’s equally as important to use parchment paper rather than wax paper when letting your caramel-dipped marshmallows set in the refrigerator and for wrapping them once they are ready to go (I learned this the hard way!)

I know this may all sound intimidating and time-consuming, but I promise, promise, PROMISE these Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses are well worth the little extra TLC they require. I also pinky promise that throwing a handful of these on any cookie or treat platter you happen to be bringing over to a friend or neighbor this season will be very well-received. Don’t be surprised if you leave them asking for more!

Change up your usual cookie platter this holiday season by adding some of these Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses!

You can find the recipe below, and head on over to Sonoma Syrup Co. to order their Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush” ASAP for all of your holiday baking needs!

This post contains affiliate links.

Homemade Caramel Covered Marshmallow Kisses
Prep Time
40 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
55 mins
 

Vanilla-laced homemade marshmallows are covered in a soft yet chewy caramel to make the perfect sweet treat for the holidays and beyond!

Course: Dessert
Servings: 2 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the vanilla marshmallows*:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 4 sheets Silver Leaf gelatin
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Pure Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush" (or other vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Special equipment for marshmallows:
  • 8 inch square baking dish
  • 8 inch square piece of acetate
  • Candy thermometer
For the caramel coating:
  • 22 ounces individually packaged caramels
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Instructions
  1. First, make the marshmallows. Combine the powdered sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl.

  2. Line 8-inch square baking pan with plastic wrap and sprinkle the wrap generously with the powdered sugar and cornstarch mixture. Set the rest of the powdered sugar mixture aside.

  3. Place the gelatin in an ice bath to soften.

  4. Spray one side of the acetate with nonstick cooking spray, set aside (sprayed side up.)

  5. Prepare a bain marie by placing a metal mixing bowl over a saucepan filled with just two inches of water over medium high heat. 

  6. Remove the gelatin from the ice bath and squeeze dry, place in prepared bain marie. Cook until the gelatin is melted, the reduce heat and keep warm. 

  7. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

  8. Combine sugar, water, corn syrup and vanilla extract in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then simmer an additional 5 minutes or so, or until the temperature reaches 250 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  9. Let the syrup continue to cook and turn the stand mixer on medium speed to start whipping the egg whites. The goal is for the egg whites to be forming medium peaks around the same time the syrup in the saucepan reaches 281-284 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the syrup reaches this temperature, remove it from the heat. If your egg whites start forming medium peaks before the syrup is done, lower the speed on the mixer slightly.

  10. Add the syrup to the egg whites by slowly pouring it down the side as you have the mixer on low. 

  11. Pour in the prepared gelatin and increase the mixer speed to medium-high, about 5 minutes, or until mixture is thickened and glossy, warm but not hot. 

  12. Spray a spatula with nonstick cooking spray and use it to spread the marshmallow mixture into the prepared baking pan that has been lined with plastic wrap. 

  13. Top the spread out mixture with the prepared piece of acetate, sprayed side down, and gently press it down. 

  14. Let mixture stand at room temperature for a few hours to set. 

  15. Once mixture is cooled and set, remove the acetate and coat the top with the reserved powdered sugar mixture as necessary. 

  16. Spray a chef’s knife with nonstick cooking spray and cut the marshmallows into squares, cleaning and re-spraying the knife between each cut. 

  17. Coat the marshmallows with more of the powdered sugar mixture as needed so they are not too sticky. 

  18. Place marshmallows on a cookie sheet or two lined with parchment paper and freeze for at least one hour before dipping in caramel.

  19. Once marshmallows are sufficiently frozen (this will help ensure they don’t melt into nothing as soon as you dip them in the caramel), start preparing the caramel.

  20. Remove the wrappers from the caramels and add them to a small saucepan with the heavy cream over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the caramels melt. 

  21. Once the caramels and heavy cream have melted together and combined to form a creamy caramel, turn off the heat. Using two forks (or spoons, or a combo of both) dunk the marshmallows in so they are sufficiently coated. Place dipped caramels back on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets and refrigerate until caramel is hardened even to remove the kisses from the parchment paper.

  22. Individually wrap the caramels in small pieces of parchment paper and keep refrigerated until ready to serve. (They can stand a short period of time at room temperature, but for longer periods be sure to keep them cool.)

Recipe Notes

*Recipe for vanilla marshmallows adapted from Thomas Keller's Bouchon Bakery Cookbook.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze

If this doesn’t scream “Mother’s Day,” what does??

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com
This post is sponsored by Sonoma Syrup Co.

In-season fresh strawberries dot a vanilla- and lemon-laced Bundt cake, topped with the sweetest, tangiest lemon drizzle. This Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze is one for the books and I can guarantee that just about any mom in her right mind will go crazy for this if you make it for her this weekend.

This is yet another post I’ve created with my friends over at Sonoma Syrup Co., and I must say it was so fun to make and came at just the perfect time. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you’ll know that over the past year or so I’ve partnered with Sonoma Syrup to make some really fun drink recipes, like this Honey Citrus Detox Elixir and this Spiked Lavender Lemonade, but every once in a while I love to flex my creativity and use their amazing syrups (and, in this case, vanilla extract) in a super tasty baked good, like these Vanilla-Ginger Doughnuts with Pomegranate Glaze.

So when they approached me to create a fun Mother’s Day recipe using their Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush,” I jumped at the chance. And of course I couldn’t stop there, I had to add some of their No. 1 Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup as well because who doesn’t love hints of fresh lemon paired with strawberry and vanilla?

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m even more excited for this Mother’s Day for a few very important reasons that I have to keep under wraps for now, but I promise to let you know soon! We have both of our parents coming to town, plus some siblings, and a couple of big surprises to unveil that are going to really put the icing on the cake for the weekend (pardon the pun.) All the more reason to have some Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze to celebrate!

And really, this recipe is not at all hard to make. That’s one of the greatest things about Bundt cakes. They look so pretty and elegant with almost no effort at all. Forget the fancy frosting techniques, let the shape of the cake mold do all the work!

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - A beautiful and delicious Bundt cake laced with fresh strawberries, vanilla and lemon. The perfect spring dessert!

So, we start with a fairly basic Bundt cake batter, with a hefty dose of Greek yogurt to be sure it turns out nice and moist. We happened to have a huge jar of homemade limoncello in our refrigerator, so I added some of that to the batter to really up the lemon factor, but you could just as easily use fresh lemon juice if you don’t have any limoncello on hand. We’re saving the Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup for the glaze so it can REALLY shine.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - Moist cake batter in Bundt pan laced with fresh strawberries.

I also put in a hefty dose (we’re talking one whole tablespoon) of Sonoma Syrup’s Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush.” Now what, you might be wondering, is the difference between the Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush” and regular vanilla extract? Well, the crush is not only made from some of the finest vanilla beans you can get your hands on, it’s also laced with actual vanilla bean SEEDS, making it especially delicious and intense in flavor. I love the extra-vanilla-y taste it gives all of my baked goods, I’ve even been known to throw some into a smoothie every now and then!

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - Baked cake without glaze.

Once our Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake has baked and cooled slightly, it’s time to put together the super-simple Lemon Glaze. This glaze is really similar to the Pomegranate Glaze I made for the Vanilla-Ginger Doughnuts I mentioned above, but using the No. 1 Meyer Lemon Simple Syrup instead of the pomegranate. To really punch up the flavor, I also added lemon zest and even MORE of the Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush.”

I really love that the light glaze is not too overwhelming with the delicate, fresh flavors of the cake, which also makes it just as suitable for brunch as it does for dessert after a heavier lunch or dinner. This means that you have no excuse not to order some of these syrups right this instant and make a Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze for all of your favorite moms this Mother’s Day.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com - A slice of this cake and a hot cup of coffee is all you need this Mother's Day!

Even better, Sonoma Syrup is offering all of you, my dear readers and biggest fans, 10% off of your next purchase. Simply use the special discount code CALI10 at checkout on their site and you’ll be well on your way to making a delicious dessert that all your guests will love. Now hurry up and order so you can get to baking!

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
 

A moist, delicious cake filled with fresh strawberries and laced with hints of lemon and vanilla, all topped with a tangy lemon glaze.

Course: Dessert
Servings: 10 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cake:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 ounces nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush"
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello (or fresh lemon juice)
  • 3 cups flour, divided (plus more for pan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 ounces fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
For the glaze:
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tablespoons Sonoma Syrup Co. No. 1 Meyer Lemon Syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (about 1 medium lemon)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Extract "Crush"
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a Bundt cake pan with shortening or melted butter and then coat with flour. Set aside.

  2. First, make the cake. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar until pale yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla bean extract, limoncello (or lemon juice) and Greek yogurt. Beat until combined.

  3. In a separate, medium mixing bowl, sift together 2 ¾ cups flour, the baking soda and the salt. Add this mixture to the wet mixture and beat until just combined. 

  4. In a separate bowl, toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup flour. Fold the strawberries into the batter. 

  5. Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before turning out of pan onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  6. While the cake is cooling, make the glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the glaze ingredients. Drizzle over the cooled cake and let set for at least 15 minutes before serving.

Fresh Strawberry Vanilla Bundt Cake with Lemon Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Orange Creamsicle Martinis (Dairy-Free!)

Spring has officially sprung.

Orange Creamsicle Martini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Which means that here in Santa Barbara we’re having days that are consistently in the 70’s temperature-wise which subsequently means my motivation to spend my days inside in the kitchen has tanked and all I want to do is head down to the beach and sip on Orange Creamsicle Martinis all day. Who’s with me?

In all seriousness, though, I am trying to be much more productive with my work days so I can take at least 40 minutes in the afternoon to go outside for a little walk around the neighborhood. I have noticed such a huge difference in my mood from just that little bit of Vitamin D. Plus, it smells insanely good outside right now with all of the flowers blooming. I have all of our windows open as we speak so I can catch that fresh spring smell whenever a little breeze comes through.

This changing of the seasons also has me brainstorming a bunch of spring-appropriate cocktails, and this Orange Creamsicle Martini is one of those. As I was leafing through one of my latest issues of Bon Appetit or Food & Wine (can’t remember which one at the moment,) I came across an article that was touching on some restaurants around the country that have come up with fun, inventive brunch cocktails. In other words: not your average mimosa.

Orange Creamsicle Martini | CaliGirlCooking.com

I can’t remember which restaurant it was, but one cocktail that was mentioned was an Orange Creamsicle concoction of some sort. This one was a bit more elaborate than the average home mixologist (including myself) might dare to embark upon, with things like heavy cream and egg whites being involved, but I couldn’t help but be intrigued and decided I wanted to come up with my own make-at-home version.

I couldn’t be happier with the results of my little experiment. This Orange Creamsicle Martini is one for the books. Plus, it has all the creamy flavor of the classic treat with absolutely NO dairy. That’s right folks, even my lactose-intolerant friends can enjoy this beauty!

Orange Creamsicle Martini | CaliGirlCooking.com

So here’s the scoop on how we get all of the delicious flavor with just four ingredients:

First, we all know I’m a fan of minimally processed ingredients, so I decided to make my own vanilla vodka rather than buying a bottle of that artificially flavored junk. This also meant that I could just take the amount of vodka I needed for two cocktails (the amount this recipe makes) and infuse that rather than having to invest in a whole bottle of vanilla-flavored stuff that may otherwise go unused.

Ready for the “big” (not-so-big) secret for how I made the vanilla-infuse vodka? It’s as simple as adding a half of a split vanilla bean to the called-for amount the night before you want to whip these Orange Creamsicle Martinis up. So, maybe tonight?

And that’s literally the hardest part. After you have your vanilla bean-infused vodka, simply shake it up with some orgeat and the freshest orange juice you can find. That’s it! Then just prepare yourself for an incredible flavor-bomb that will forever change the way you weekend brunch. Orange Creamsicle Martinis are not to be messed with.

Orange Creamsicle Martini | CaliGirlCooking.com

This would be the perfect cocktail for Easter brunch, Mother’s Day, or really any excuse you have to drink cocktails before noon. I mean, it’s loaded with Vitamin C, which practically makes it a health food, right?

Have a fantastic April weekend and check out some other fun brunch cocktail ideas below! Xo

Orange Creamsicle Martinis
Prep Time
5 mins
 

The perfect brunch cocktail for spring, this dairy-free martini tastes just like your favorite frozen treat with vanilla-infused vodka and fresh orange juice. 

Course: Drinks
Servings: 2 cocktails
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 4 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split down the middle
  • 1 ounce orgeat
  • 8 ounces orange juice
  • Orange wheels for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. The night before you want to make your cocktails, place the vodka and vanilla bean in a Mason jar or other sealed container. Let soak overnight. 

  2. In the morning, remove the vanilla bean from the vodka. Add the infused vodka, orgeat and orange juice to a cocktail shaker filled ¾ of the way with ice. Shake vigorously for about 20 seconds.

  3. Strain the contents of the shaker into two martini glasses or coupes. Garnish with an orange wheel, if desired. 

Orange Creamsicle Martini | CaliGirlCooking.com

Here are some other fun brunch cocktails to try!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze

Happy birthday to me!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

That’s right, it’s my birthday! The big 3-2 to be exact (ugh) but hey, at least I’m celebrating with Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze! And for someone that didn’t even plan what she wanted to do to celebrate until, ohhhhh, last week (thanks to lots of pressure from my hubs and friends,) I’d say we’re off to a pretty good start.

(I’m clearly on a big lavender kick right now – did you catch the Spiked Lavender Lemonade I posted on Friday? So refreshing and tasty!)

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Is it just me, or is your 32nd birthday just sort of “meh?” I mean, I certainly went all out for the big 3-0, and might find some inspiration when I hit number 35, but it seems like all of the birthdays in between those milestones kind of just come and go without much pomp and circumstance. Especially when your birthday falls on a Wednesday, how un-fun is that?

So, after I kept getting nagged about what I wanted to do to celebrate, and after avoiding the question for as long as I could, I finally decided I wanted to keep it casual with Happy Hour at our local waterfront bar/restaurant, and let friends and family stop by whenever they wanted.  We celebrated with our parents this past weekend, and if you ask me, that’s all this gal needs to celebrate another trip around the sun!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

To be honest, I first made these Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze a few weeks ago, when I decided it was high time for me to add another cupcake recipe to this here blog. It has, after all, been almost exactly one year since I posted the only other cupcake recipe on this site – these Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream – which BTW would be perfect for you to whip up for St. Patrick’s Day on Friday!

I was trying to decide what flavor I wanted to make my cupcakes this time around, and remembered I had a big jar of culinary grade lavender that my parents had given me a while back. We all know that culinary grade lavender isn’t exactly something you reach for in your pantry on the reg, so it had been sitting in there practically untouched ever since I got it. I knew it would be perfect to integrate into a spring-friendly cupcake, but that it might need a little assistance from some other amazing flavors to keep it from tasting too much like soap (side note – this can easily happen if you use your lavender in the wrong context, like adding lavender syrup to your brewed coffee, don’t do it.)

Lucky for us, vanilla is a great complimentary flavor for lavender, and also perfect in cupcakes! I’ve talked about it before, but I swear by this creamy vanilla bean paste that I order on Amazon. It’s a little pricy, but you get a HUGE bottle and it lasts for such a long time! I highly recommend you order some if you bake nearly as much as I do.

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

With all of the soft, floral notes I was going for in the cupcakes, I knew I wanted a stark contrast in flavors for the frosting. I happened to still have quite a few blood oranges on hand from my winter stockpile, so instead of a buttercream or whipped cream frosting, I decided to top the cakes with a tart, blood orange glaze.

Turns out, my instincts were spot on and these cupcakes turned out perfectly balanced yet full of flavor. They’re also not overly sweet, which means you could totally get away with calling them muffins and eating them for breakfast. It’s my birthday after all, so I give you full permission. Cheers to another year and thanks for celebrating with me!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Light and fluffy cupcakes filled with the delicate flavors of lavender and vanilla, perfectly contrasted by a tart blood orange glaze. 

Course: Dessert
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the cupcakes:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons culinary lavender, ground (I used a mortar and pestle for this)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the glaze:
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/4 cup fresh blood orange juice
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a cupcake pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. 

  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, milk, butter, eggs, yogurt and vanilla until combined. 

  3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour, lavender, baking soda and salt, then add this mixture to the wet mixture, beating until just combined. 

  4. Using a 1/3 cup measure, scoop batter into cupcake pans. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely before topping with the glaze. 

  5. While waiting for the cupcakes to cool, make the glaze. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together all of the glaze ingredients until smooth and no lumps remain. 

  6. Once cupcakes are cool, spoon glaze evenly over cupcake tops. Let glaze dry completely before serving. 

Lavender Vanilla Cupcakes with Blood Orange Glaze | CaliGirlCooking.com

Bourbon, ‘Barb and Blue

[This post is brought to you by yours truly and the wonderful folks at Drizly, who are making delicious cocktails possible for everyone without the hassle of going to a grocery store. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting CaliGirl Cooking and my sponsors!]

We have two reasons to be celebrating today! And we’re going to celebrate with a Bourbon, ‘Barb and Blue cocktail.

Bourbon, 'Barb and Blue | CaliGirl Cooking

REason #1

It’s Friday! Hallelujah. It’s been a long, weird week and I’m looking forward to some nice down time and relaxation this weekend. I’ve got some great beach volleyball games planned and other than that we’ll be laying reallll low (not like we have much of a choice with the hubby laid up with his healing Achilles 😉 That’s a-ok with me, though. I’m such a constant busy-body that sometimes it’s good for me to be forced to just sit down, relax, and not be doing anything. Can anyone else sympathize with me here?

Reason #2

I literally am so, so excited to share this Bourbon, ‘Barb and Blue cocktail with you. I know I make cocktails for you every week, but every once in a while there’s one that comes along that just knocks my socks off and I get incredibly anxious to get the recipe out to you so you can start making it for yourself ASAP. This is FOR SURE one of those cocktails. It killed me that the hubs couldn’t taste it because he would be so proud. (He’s taking a little break from drinking while he’s on his after-surgery pain meds…good plan!)

Bourbon, 'Barb and Blue | CaliGirl Cooking

When the folks at Drizly asked me to create a recipe for them, my mind immediately went towards creating a cocktail that would both celebrate the last few days of summer, but also welcome in fall with open arms. I thought a combination of blueberry (a very summer-y fruit) would pair deliciously with a heavier, more cool weather-inclined liquor. Enter bourbon! And, more specifically, Bulleit Bourbon (because that’s certainly our household favorite…What’s yours?)

But of course I couldn’t stop there. We needed to jazz this up even more for our friends at Drizly. Good thing they also have an incredible selection of bitters, mixers, etc. in addition to alcohol on their site, because I was easily able to pick out the Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters as the perfect addition to my blueberry and bourbon cocktail. The final touch was a vanilla-almond simple syrup, which I whipped up quickly on my own and have included the recipe for below.

Bourbon, 'Barb and Blue | CaliGirl Cooking

I bet at this point (unless you’ve clicked on the link I’ve included above) you’re wondering what exactly this Drizly thing is. Well, friends, let me tell you, because it’s amazing. Basically, if you live in one of 18 major cities in the United States and Canada (and you’re of legal drinking age, of course), you can go to Drizly’s website, place an order, and have wine, beer, liquor and other cocktail ingredients delivered right to your door in under an hour. How sweet is that? I am so bummed they’re not in Santa Barbara….yet. (Hint hint.)

In Their Own Words:

“Drizly is the technology company powering a superior shopping experience for beer, wine and liquor. Combining the best selection and price, content-rich and personalized shopping experiences, and the speed and convenience of on-demand delivery, Drizly delivers “The Joy of Drinking” to legal-age drinkers across the United States.”

So as you can imagine, this was right up my alley and I was beyond stoked to partner with them to whip up this delicious Bourbon, ‘Barb and Blue cocktail. Let’s get back to the whole process, shall we?

Bourbon, 'Barb and Blue | CaliGirl Cooking

The first step you’ll want to take is to whip up the vanilla-almond simple syrup. This can be done an hour or so in advance of you making the cocktail, or you can even make it a day or two in advance (it will come in useful for so many delicious cocktails!) The most important thing is to have time to let the syrup cool before you add it to your drink.

Once you have your vanilla-almond simple syrup in hand, the rest is easy. You’ll just need to muddle together the syrup, some fresh blueberries, fresh lemon juice and rhubarb bitters, add a healthy scoop of ice, and top it all with your Bulleit bourbon. Give it a little stir and enjoy immediately.

I’m just going to call it right now: This cocktail will probably turn into your go-to for the next couple of months. It strikes that super-fine balance between the fresh flavors of summer and the warm, comforting flavors of fall. The juiciness of the blueberries and the acidity of the fresh lemon juice balance the earthy rhubarb bitters and sweet vanilla-almond simple syrup PERFECTLY. It’s fairly strong for a cocktail, but you’d never notice it if you didn’t look at the recipe. The natural sweetness from the blueberries is the perfect veil for the strong bourbon flavor, and (when enjoyed moderately) this cocktail won’t leave you with a raging headache the next day (no thank you, artificial sweeteners!)

Bourbon, 'Barb and Blue | CaliGirl Cooking

Trust me, the end of summer never tasted so good!

Bourbon, ‘Barb and Blue

10 minutes

Yield: Makes one cocktail

This end-of-summer cocktail combines fresh blueberries, rhubarb bitters, vanilla-almond simple syrup and bourbon to create a perfectly balanced drink.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 ounce vanilla-almond simple syrup (recipe below)
  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ ounce rhubarb bitters
  • Ice
  • 2 ounces Bulleit bourbon

Instructions

  1. Combine blueberries, simple syrup, lemon juice and bitters in the bottom of a rocks glass. Muddle together until all of the blueberries are broken up and the mixture takes on a bright purple-pink hue.
  2. Fill the glass all the way to the top with ice.
  3. Top with bourbon and stir gently to combine.
  4. Enjoy immediately!

Notes

To make the Vanilla-Almond Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, the seeds from ½ a vanilla bean and about 2 drops of almond flavoring in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using.

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https://www.caligirlcooking.com/bourbon-barb-and-blue/

 

Bourbon, 'Barb and Blue | CaliGirlCooking.com

You had me at bourbon <3

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