About a month ago, long time customer, friend and occasional benefactor Jim N. was having breakfast at the Cafe and told me about a review of Black Walnut Bourbon he was doing for foodandwineblog.com. Not being a huge fan of the black walnut, it appealed to me as a potentially interesting ingredient rather than a libation. That impulse was borne out in Jim's review.
A bottle of Dancing Pines Distillery's Black Walnut Bourbon Liqueur appeared on my desk just a few days later. What a delightful surprise (and I seriously hope Jim doesn't expect to get it back because I'm a little smitten!). DPBW is a bourbon-style liqueur that is quite tasty although a bit sweet and the strong, musky taste of black walnuts is subtle but distinct.
I've got a long list of things to try with my one precious, hand-crafted and numbered boutique bottle of booze. Among them barbecue sauce, congealed salad and buttercream frosting.
But today we have Black Walnut Cupcakes and they are fabulous! Bourbon liqueur replaced the liquid in the cake recipe and a little splash in the ganache - how could this go wrong? Oh, my. These are soooo much better than "not wrong"!
Unlike the ubiquitous sweet, fluffy cupcakes that giggle "lick me", these little beauties are dense, dark chocolate with a bitter chocolate ganache that, with a sultry side glance, coos "bite me". Not the prettiest cupcake I ever made, but definitely the most seductive.
And lest you think the papers are a leftover from St Patty's Day, they are in fact a little homage to the the hard, smelly, finger-staining husks of the black walnut.