Monday, October 1, 2012

Bourbon Salt


I read about bourbon salt here and went to buy a bottle of bourbon from the upstairs alcohol room at the grocery store the same day. Bourbon salt is a winner of a brownie topping, though the bourbon is hard to taste if you don’t already know it’s there. But trust me, you will know it’s there when I set a plate in front of you and say, “Oh these? These are just brownies with BOURBON SALT.” The flavor would be more apparent in something with less chocolate and more…caramel. Caramel sprinkled with bourbon salt. And crushed pretzels? Bourbon salt ON pretzels. On ice cream!

I made this caramel banana cake for J’s birthday and see no reason a sprinkle of bourbon salt on the caramel topping would be unwelcome. It would elevate it to a nice restaurant style dessert, the kind where there’s a simple title like “Banana Cake” followed by the high-end ingredients in italics:

Banana Cake     14
House-made caramel. Caramel buttercream. Fresh banana. Bourbon salt.

I followed Jolie Kerr’s recipe almost exactly, but increased the bourbon to two cups: 

Bourbon Salt

 2 c bourbon
1 c salt*
¾ c sugar

Simmer bourbon over medium heat until it’s reduced by half, then lower the heat and let it reduce until your two cups of bourbon are a mere two tablespoons (you can watch the money you spent on that bottle evaporate before your eyes!).

Let the reduced bourbon cool.

Put salt into your food processor and pour the bourbon over it. Pulse a few times, then add the sugar and pulse some more. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and let dry. This took at least a full day. (At one point, I got impatient and thought I would try and dry the salt out in a low heat oven. I make mistakes so you don’t have to: the sugar started to melt and I had to let it all dry for another day.) Store in jars and share with friends.

*Definitely do not use table salt or kosher salt, but don’t waste your fleur de sel either. I had a bottle of very coarse sea salt that I pulsed a few times in my food processor to make finer. 

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