I have dreamed about this post for a while now.
It’s a post that once I though of, I became so excited.
Sometimes that happens with ideas and when it does it is my very favorite thing. See, when an idea forms I begin to build this whole picture in my head. In my head it obviously looks amazing and from there I begin to plot. Some ideas are easier to execute than others, and some are, well… a little more challenging.
This one was a little more challenging.
But not because it is a hard recipe. No, just because there were a lot of variables that needed to come together in order for it work. I decided early on that if I was going to follow through with this idea, it had to somewhat resemble the picture in my head.
Oh that picture in my head. It trips me up ever time. Meaning, it’s always just too good to be true.
So let’s start with the hat.
I mean, the Kentucky Derby is all about hats, so I knew I needed a good one. Since I live in the middle of nowhere I had to search online, which is fine if you have time. BUT, I did not have time. You see, I wanted this post to go up today because the Derby is a week from Saturday and I wanted to give you guys ample time to plan and make these. This meant I needed that hat in two days, so that gave me the choices of Amazon or spending the big bucks and paying for two-day air. Amazon had nothing good, so I decided to cough it up and pay the shipping so I could get the cutest hat. Next, I went to check out only to find that for that particular hat, two-day air was not an option. So bummed. It was the cutest hat.
Finally I found I decent hat on Zappos, but I really wanted the one from Nordstrom. It was much more me.
Next, I needed the jars. Luckily trusty old Target had those. Gotta love Target (and thank God they have one up here in the mountains)!
Next, the actual food. Originally these were meant to be pecan pies, but oh my gosh those where a huge fail when baked in a jar. Delicious, but a total mess. So then I was like “well great, what now?”.
I took the night and slept on it. Woke up and thought a little more. And then well, these guys came to life, and the fail I had the day before was now the best fail ever to happen because it led to these, and they are crazy delicious. IN EVERY WAY POSSIBLE.
And the ice cream?
Well that was always in the plan. It may look boring, but it’s honestly so good. Bourbon and vanilla together are the best combo and the creamy base is to die for. I went with an egg base because I love the creaminess I get from the eggs. Nothing better.
Alright, and then the photos.
Like I said, I had this picture in my head, but I was not sure how to achieve it since I was supposed to be a part of the photo. If I am IN the photos, then who is taking them?
This was the toughest part. For one, I had to let go of my control over my camera, two I actually had to give direction and try to semi teach my mother how to at least click the button and three, I needed to figure out how to keep the ice cream from not melting all while trying to look pretty with my big hat. It. Was. Hard. And to be honest the photos are not the way I pictured them in my head, but I would say they turned out ok for what I was working with.
In the end I had to call in my brother Kai who knows a little something about using my camera to snap the photos of me, but that very first photo my mom took. I know it’s not perfect, but hey, it’s not horrible either.
There are so many things about these photos and their flaws that I could go on and on about. I mean, my nail color, the styling, the lighting, the food, the focus and yeah the fact that they look nothing like the pictures in my head. But they are still fun and still a little different from what I show you guys every day, so that makes me happy. And of course um, the dessert!
Honestly, these cute little mini southern cakes are one of my best yet. You have to make all of it though. The ice cream, the butterscotch, the pecan praline (oh yes, oh yes!! It’s on the bottom AND the top) and the cakes. Together they are a triple threat, and the bourbon? Well, don’t skip that. It’s just a must with this one.
- In a medium size bowl whisk the egg yolks with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar until the yolks are pale yellow.
- Add the milk, heavy cream, honey and vanilla bean seeds + pods to a medium size sauce pot and set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to boil, watching very closely to make sure the milk does not boil over. Once the mixture is boiling immediately remove from the heat and carefully pour about 1/3 cup of the hot milk into the eggs, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Next, add the milk/egg mixture into the remaining pot of hot milk, whisking constantly. Place the pot back on the stove and stir custard over low heat until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
- Place a fine-mesh sieve (strainer) over a large heat proof bowl and immediately strain the custard into the bowl. Discard the vanilla bean pods and let custard cool 10 minutes. Cover and place in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight, stirring as often as possible. If needed the custard can be quickly cooled in the freezer for 1-2 hours, but make sure to stir the custard every 30 minutes to prevent uneven freezing.
- Once the ice cream mixture is well chilled, freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container (or in my case a loaf pan). Freeze for 4-6 hours before serving.
- Melt the butter in a small sauce pot. Add the brown sugar, heavy cream and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and scotch, if using.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Divide 2 1/4 cups toasted pecans among six 16-ounce jars (or twelve 8-ounce jars).
- To make the bottom praline layer. Melt 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in 2/3 cup brown sugar, 2/3 cup corn syrup, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and them immediately remove from the heat and evenly pour the mixture over the pecans in the bottom of each jar.
- To make the cake. Whisk the cocoa powder, flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the buttermilk and bourbon in another small bowl.
- Beat the butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on high speed until fluffy, about 8 minutes. With the mixer on low, beat in the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture, starting and ending with flour. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the batter among the 6 jars and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 40-50 minutes.
- Just before serving preheat the broiler to high. Top each cake with the remaining toasted pecans. Melt 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter in a small sauce pan. Whisk in 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup corn syrup, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon Bourbon. Allow the mixture to come to a boil and then immediately remove from the heat and evenly pour the mixture over the pecans. Place under the broiler for 30 seconds. Remove and immediately serve warm with ice cream and a drizzle of butterscotch. Happy Racing!
Bring it on Derby Day!