Absinthe is anise-flavored spirit made with green anise, fennel, wormwood, and a bunch of other plants. The natural green coloring from the plants’ chlorophyll gives it a greenish color (absinthe blanche does exist though), and it has a really bad rep of making people hallucinate and do really bad things. Because of the bad rep (and a bunch of other historical stuff that was happening during that time), it was eventually banned in multiple countries, including the U.S., around the turn of the 20th century. The U.S. finally unbanned it in 2007 after 95 years. If you get a chance, you should read this article from Punch.
My first experience with absinthe was in early 2008 and I hated it right away. However, I was really enamored with the tradition of absinthe consumption: fancy spoons, sugar cubes, pretty glasses…the works. So fancy! In time, I learned to tolerate it in cocktails, especially as a wash, but I understand why it’s not something you would keep in stock in your mini bar at home: it’s expensive and you normally only need a little bit of it in cocktails anyways. If you do buy a bottle, the stuff will probably last you for years. Hell, your great grandchildren might be drinking out of the same bottle. But besides drinking it, there’s gotta be other uses for it right?
Why, yes. Yes, there is! You can cook and bake with it too. One thing that I’ve been really curious about but haven’t had time to make was this absinthe cake David Lebovitz had posted on his website back in 2006. I’ve been dying to try it since then — that’s eight really long years!
I decided to turn his cake recipe into cupcakes so this happened:
One of the ingredients in his original recipe calls for pistachio OR almond meal. I went with almond and made my own (here’s a DIY recipe) thinking that the almond would compliment the absinthe better. I was going to finish these absinthe cupcakes with a vanilla buttercream instead of using the absinthe glaze he had because I had this gut feeling that I couldn’t deal with that much anise. It turns out I was right: the anise flavor in the cupcakes was just way too overwhelming for me so I decided to tone it down by slapping chocolate frosting on it instead.
I think it’s better this way.
P.S. Don’t you love my last minute frosting job?
Shredded Brussels Sprouts with Parmesan
Man, I love brussels sprouts.
I made this great brussels sprouts dish that I wanted to share but I had some trouble figuring out how to shoot it for this blog because of the monochrome coloring. So today you get this because I gave up:
It’s really delicious. You just have to trust me on this.