The Virtual Potluck gang is at it again and this time we’re serving up the best of Bärenjäger’s honey liqueur for a cocktail party that sure to be sweet! Check out all the posts from the VP gang and really explore what you can do with this key ingredient.
Since ancient times, honey’s golden-throated siren song has been beckoning man. This glistening syrup has served as both food and medicine — and also, libation. Bärenjäger’s amber-hued Honey Liqueur, for the uninitiated, is as sweetly scented and sensually flavored as pure honey in the raw, though, it’s not for your average bee. Packing a wallop at 35% alcohol (70 proof) it’s perfect for adding a bit of smooth honeyed flavor to any cocktail or for sweetening your favorite dish.
Long regarded as sacred (it’s been used in religious ceremonies, as well as to embalm the deceased) honey’s use in cooking was once reserved only for the rich — thankfully, today, both honey and Bärenjäger are widely available.
We’ve been abuzz (and buzzed) all month over Bärenjäger’s many uses over at The GrooVy Foody household, trying it in drinks, in a Honey Bundt Liqueur Cake and adding it’s nectar to a dark toffee sauce for use in Banoffee Pudding.
But just what is Bärenjäger? In a nutshell, it’s a mead-like liquor but really it’s so much more. Not just in its rich history with roots in the 15th century but also in its flavor. It tastes great in a straight shot or with seltzer water and lemon but I really loved it mixed with hot tea and lemon for a winter warmer that’s sure to soothe your throat and open up your chest.
I love a good rum cake during the holiday season but most recipes call for a boxed cake mix and Bacardi rum. The second I tasted Bärenjäger I knew it needed to be used in a dessert. That’s when lightning struck and I thought, “Oh, I need to make a honey liqueur cake!” But I didn’t want a crummy boxed cake mix screwing up my delusions of grandeur — so I sought out the best vanilla cake recipe I could find, one that was moist and had a great crumb but that could still hold up to being soaked with a butter liqueur syrup.
After trying quite a few cake recipes, I settled on Andie’s Perfect Yellow Cupcake Recipe, from Can You Stay For Dinner? (one of my fav food bloggers.) Hers is an adaptation of Cook’s Illustrated’s yellow cake recipe but I think much easier and to great effect for this recipe. It’s truly decadent and the sweetly hued honey flavor is out of this world and of course, the alcohol gives it just the right holiday kick! Perfect for any New Year’s celebration you may be planning and SO simple. (Recipe below.)
Honey-Toffee Banoffee Pudding
The last minute entry came by way of whipping up something tasty for my mom as a little holiday gift. My mother is a HUGE fan of bananas. The whole of my life, I have watched my mother’s passion for bananas – go well, bananas! She loves a perfectly ripe banana on its own but, most especially, she enjoys banana cream pie and Southern Banana Pudding. My mom likes bananas so much, that her grandkids call her “Nana Banana” instead of Grandma — nuff said.
Anyway, when I was in the UK several years ago, I came across a dessert called Banoffee pie, which is very much like a banana cream pie but with the addition of toffee (great idea!) and since my mother is also a fan of caramels, butter brittles and toffees — I thought — perfect match!
So, I set about to make something for mom that would incorporate the Banoffee, the cream pie and her most treasured Southern Banana Pudding and then inspiration truly struck — “I’ll add some honey liqueur to the toffee.” I made the crust from Nilla wafers, homemade banana pudding (you can use vanilla, if you don’t wish to go bananas), ripe bananas, fresh whipped cream and honeyed toffee. The effect was dazzling and I’m happy to report mom was over the moon about it.
Hot Honey’d Lemon Tea
- 80z brewed green or black tea (even decaf works!)
- 2 shot glasses of Bärenjäger’s Honey Liqueur
- Juice of 1/2 a Meyer lemon
Add lemon juice and honey liqueur to hot tea, stir and serve in a mug with a slice of lemon on the rim. Breathe deep and enjoy!
Perfect Yellow Cake (adapted from Can You Stay for Dinner?)
1 ½ cups flour
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sour cream
2 large eggs , room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Butter Liqueur Syrup
1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Oil or non-stick spray a bundt pan (no need to flour.)
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a standing electric mixer. Bring eggs and sour cream to room temperature and mix together or whisk them together in a bowl set inside another bowl of warm water to bring them to temp. Add butter to flour mixture and mix until all the butter is incorporated. Then add the sour cream and eggs, followed by vanilla. Beat at medium speed until smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula and mix by hand until smooth and no clumps of flour are visible.
Pour into bundt pan and bake for 20 to 22 minutes.
While cake is baking, melt butter in pan and add sugar and water — bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes then, remove from heat to stir in liqueur, then return to the heat and bring just to boil again before removing and setting aside to cool a bit.
When cake springs back to touch or checks with toothpick inserted into center, remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Then pour over a third of warm butter, liqueur mixture. Let the cake sit in pan until the liquid is absorbed and cake pulls away from sides of the pan. Then invert onto a serving plate and poke the cake with a fork all over. Then spoon over the remaining syrup, a bit at a time, so as not to flood the cake and plate. Let sit until syrup is absorbed (about 10 minutes) before sliding onto your serving platter. Reserve any sauce that did not absorb to spoon over cake slices.
- 1 box of Nilla wafers (run through the food processor)
- 1 stick of butter (softened)
Mix butter and Nilla wafers in processor line the bottom and sides of a deep casserole pan with this crust and bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- 4 cups milk (or 2 cups milk 2 cups cream)
- 1 cup white sugar
- 6 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 roasted, mashed banana (roast skin-on in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes)
- 2 fresh ripe bananas, sliced for layering
- Whipped cream for topping
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat milk/cream until bubbles form at edges. Meanwhile combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a bowl and set aside. When milk has reached proper temp, whisk the dry ingredients into hot milk, a little at a time, until dissolved. Continue to cook and stir (with a wooden spoon) until mixture thickens. Do not boil. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla, mashed banana and butter. Pour warm pudding into casserole dish, which at this point has been lined with Nilla crust, then a layer of sliced fresh banana and toffee. Add fresh banana slices on top of pudding and cool down in the fridge before adding whipped cream. Once the pudding is cool. Whip fresh cream and spread over the top of the pudding obscuring it from view. Drizzle cooled toffee sauce in designs on top and chill to set completely (at least 3 hours) before serving.
- 1 cup of brown sugar
- 6 Tbsp (85 g) butter
- 1/2 cup and 1 Tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
This recipe is adapted from the one I regularly use for caramel sauce. Brown sugar gives this sauce its toffee quality without using sweetened condensed milk. Follow the caramel recipe and then remove the sauce from the heat when complete and add the liqueur and return to the heat, stirring to incorporate the liqueur, bringing just to a bubble and then removing it to cool.
Disclosure: Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur is 35% alcohol by volume (or 70 proof ), please drink responsibly.
All Virtual Potluck members were provided with the Bärenjäger for review, but all opinions are our own.