Knock-off Bailey

Homemade Irish Cream

Homemade Irish Cream

What better way to start the first week of March than with a recipe for Irish Cream Liqueur.  I for one love Bailey’s Irish Cream in my coffee.  This is not an indulgence I have often because of the added calories.   The recipe for the original B.I.C. is closely guarded but I love the fact that people try to duplicate some of these products and come pretty close to the originals.  That gives us at home the opportunity to try them out, maybe tinker with the recipe a little and even improve upon it, or match it to our own taste buds.  This being the month for all things Irish, I decided to try making my own Bailey’s.


If you have never had Bailey’s, it is a creamy, mocha-kissed, drink that can be enjoyed poured over ice, or added to coffee.  It is seriously delicious.  One sip will leave you wanting more, and before you know it, a bottle full will be gone.  So it pays to know how to make your own.  It is very easy to make– takes about 30 minutes–from readily available ingredients. It contains none of the artificial flavorings or coloring agents or preservatives used in commercially prepared Irish creams. Serve or give this to someone you know and make them very happy.  Irish eyes will be smiling when they’re drinking this!


Some recipes call for mixing all the ingredients in a blender, but made that way it doesn’t stay thick very long. This recipe, on the other hand, takes a  slower approach, warming it over low heat.  As the cream heats up the mixture thickens and seems to remain that way a longer time.  Also it is important to use a good quality Irish whisky.  It’s flavor comes through in the finished drink.  Using an inexpensive whisky, will not give you the same flavor.   Please be aware of the alcohol content in this drink.  If it is too strong for your taste, feel free to decrease the amount of alcohol called for.


YIELD:   Makes about 6 cupsIMG_3200

  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon dark cocoa
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1  14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 cups Irish whiskey

1.  Bring the coffee to a gentle simmer in a medium saucepan.

2.  Add the cream, cocoa, sugar, honey and extracts, and whisk thoroughly.

3.  Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes, whisking frequently, until the mixture begins to thicken.

Bring  ingredients to a simmer.

Bring ingredients to a simmer.

4.  Remove the saucepan from the heat;  whisk in the sweetened condensed milk.

5.  Transfer the mixture to a heat-safe bowl, and set aside to cool for a while.

6.  Whisk in the whiskey until completely blended.

7.  Store in the refrigerator in a lidded container or decorative bottle.  Serve over ice.


Reminder:  This beverage has no preservatives and isn’t shelf stable.  It must be kept refrigerated.  Remind any recipient of that, if it lasts that long.  🙂



Lemon Curd Filled Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with lemon curd filling.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with lemon curd filling.

Some muffins can be boring, especially if you’re used to making them from a boxed mix, and your choices are somewhat limited.   If I’m putting in the time and effort to bake muffins then I want them to be special and worth the effort that went into making them.  I can say that these little gems are way special and way good.  I will even go so far as to say they are elevated to greatness by the addition of lemon curd baked in the middle of each one and fresh lemon zest in the batter and lemon juice in the icing.


This is how I used some of the curd that I made and wrote about here.

Is this extra work?   Heck, no!  I like to see the flecks of lemon zest in the dough and taste that deep lemon flavor in every bite.  Most people would probably  agree that muffins are a breakfast ( or brunch) food, but I say eat them anytime you heart desires.  Think afternoon tea and a lemon muffin.  Oh,  yeah,  they’re that good!


YIELD:    a dozen muffinsIMG_3299

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
  • lemon curd

For the icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Place paper muffin cups in a regular-sized muffin pan.   Place muffin pan on a baking sheet.

2.  In a large bowl, rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Thoroughly mix lemon zest with the sugar.

Thoroughly mix lemon zest with the sugar.

3.  In another bowl, whisk the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and quickly stir to blend.  (Be mindful not to over do it here)  Stir in the poppy seeds.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently.

Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently.

4.  Fill muffin cups with half of the batter and put a teaspoon full of lemon curd in each one.

Place half the batter in muffins cups and add a teaspoon of lemon curd.

Place half the batter in muffins cups and add a teaspoon of lemon curd.

Fill in with the rest of the batter.

Fill with remaining batter.

Fill with remaining batter.

Bake for 18 – 20 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Cool muffins on a rack completely before icing them.

5.  When the muffins have cooled, put the confectioners’ sugar in a bowl and add about 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the lemon juice.  Stir together and keep adding small amounts of the juice until you get a drizzly consistency.  Use a spoon to drizzle icing over the tops of the muffins.

Drizzle lemon icing over cooled muffins.

Drizzle lemon icing over cooled muffins.

Just right with a cup of tea.

Just right with a cup of tea.

SOURCE:  adapted from   Baking:  From my home to yours  by Dorie Greenspan

Grab ‘N Go: Granola and Yogurt

Over the course of the last few years I’ve been moving away from buying ready made foods like cereals, soups, sauces, etc. and making more and more of these items myself.  My reasons are  threefold;  environmental:  less packaging to dispose of;  health:  I can eliminate all those unpronounceable ingredients, and have better control over what we are eating; and emotional:  I feel really good knowing I can make it as good or better than what’s in a package.  Granola is one of those packaged items that I have ceased buying and now make at home.

Granola is very versatile.  It can be added to foods, as in a crumbly topping on a fruit cobbler, put on foods to add crunch, like over fruits, or ice-cream, or eaten out-of-hand as a snack.  So with that said, I have been making homemade granola and  spreading it around  rather liberally.  My lunches consist, for the most part, of fruit smoothies, or yogurt with granola on top; and for my husband, I send him off to work with a nutritious salad for lunch, and a bag of granola for a mid-afternoon snack.  Each time I make it I vary the fruits and nuts I put in it, so it does not become boring.

For anyone who needs a quick “grab and go” breakfast, or who brings lunch to work, yogurt and granola is a delicious, good-for-you duo.  I like Greek style yogurt because it’s thicker than regular styles, and because it packs almost twice the protein, so you’re not as likely to get the mid-morning munchies.  You can also stretch your budget by purchasing the large size yogurt and putting it into smaller 8 0z. containers.  Likewise package your granola in baggies, so when you’re ready to leave the house, just grab one of each and  you will be on your way with a breakfast or lunch that is economical, delicious, and good for you.

Trail Mix Granola

Makes about 5 cups

  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats

    Have all your ingredients ready before starting to assemble.

  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups add-ins, like dried cranberries, cherries, apricots, figs, raisins; coconut, nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts.

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  Whisk together oil, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt in a glass measuring cup.  Heat briefly in microwave ( 1 minute at 50% power) to blend  and melt any sugar lumps.  Stir well,  then pour over oats in a  large bowl and toss to coat.

3.  Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring every 5 minutes.

4.   Let cool slightly, then transfer back into large bowl and stir in add-ins.  Let cool completely before packaging, or store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.

SOURCE:  Quick Vegetarian Pleasures