WHISKEY CANDIED BACON:
10 slices bacon
1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey or whiskey of your choice
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
MACARONI & CHEESE:
1 pound macaroni pasta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
2 cups milk
3 cups medium or sharp cheddar cheese
4 slices provolone cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup Jack Daniel’s to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer until reduced to 2 tablespoons. Remove from heat. On a plate, combine brown sugar and cayenne. Dip bacon into Jack Daniels and then press each side into brown sugar mixture to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 7 minutes, then flip and bake for about 5 minutes. Watch the bacon so it doesn’t burn!! (The sugar will run all over the pan, and the bacon with have a shiny lacquered look.)
Remove the bacon to a plate coated with non-stick cooking spray to cool completely. Chop bacon; set aside.
Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. Drain pasta; set aside.
While pasta is cooking, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour, and whisk to combine. (You will have a tight roux.) Add 1 tablespoon Jack Daniel’s and whisk into roux.
Whisk in 1 cup milk until combined. Add remaining milk. Whisk frequently until sauce thickens and begins to bubble.
Add cheeses; whisk until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth. Add paprika and salt and pepper to taste.
Pour sauce over pasta, and add bacon. Stir until pasta is completely coated in sauce. Add more salt and pepper if desired.
Watch your bacon like a hawk! The sugar can go from awesome to burnt quickly if you’re not paying attention.
NOTES FROM JAMES
I totally skip the candied bacon and just air fry the bacon and chop it up. The flavor it adds is wonderful. I am a little heavy handed with the Jack Daniel’s (only when cooking!!!) It will burn off once it cooks down. It freezes well.
1 cup of butter (2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 cups sifted Cake Flour
3 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup bourbon (I like Maker’s 46 or Four Roses Single Barrel)
1 package of Jell-O French Vanilla pudding
Cream butter, gradually add sugar, creaming until light and fluffy. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Add eggs one at a time to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture alternately with milk and flavoring, beating after each addition until smooth. Add package of French Vanilla pudding, and bourbon and mix well together. Pour batter into a greased 12-cup bundt pan. Bake at 350º for 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove and place on a wire cooling rack with wax paper under and let cool before putting on the glaze.
Bourbon Glaze #1
2 sticks of butter
1/2 granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup Karo syrup
1 cup of bourbon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in saucepan until lightly boiled (do not overheat). Add powdered sugar slowly with a wire wisk then add granulated sugar. Once dissolved under low heat, add brown sugar. After the brown sugar has dissolved, add Karo syrup. Keep stirring with wire wisk. Bring to a light boil. Add bourbon and bring to a boil while stirring with a whisk. Remove from heat and wisk in the vanilla extract. Add more powdered sugar or use less bourbon for a thicker glaze.
Drizzle and brush the glaze over the cake. Continue to brush the cake with glaze that has ran down the side. Let dry and serve.
Bourbon Glaze #2
2 cups powdered sugar
A few tablespoons of milk
A few tablespoons of bourbon
I use a measuring cup to put all the ingredients then mix with an electric hand mixer to get the glaze to the thickness I desire. Place wax paper under wire rack. Place cooled cake on the wire rack and pour glaze over cake until completely covered and let it dry.
Hello everyone! I am in Chicago again this weekend. It is bitterly cold here. I will never complain about it being 50 degrees in Oakland again. That is a heatwave compared to here. I am here visiting my mom who has lung cancer. She is in good spirits and comfortable. She told me last night that I was not was not invincible and that I needed to rest. She is right as our mother’s are always right. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. Much love to everyone.
My big brother celebrated his birthday yesterday and I got too sleepy to post anything last night. My brother has a special (crazy) love for animals. In the photo above, the family dog, Trekkie, celebrated his 14th birthday in grand style. After all these years, even Trekkie understands the tradition and happily cooperates for at least a few minutes. If you need your pet trained to celebrate their birthday, just call my brother…lol! Big Bro! Happy Birthday and Much Love!
This little guy came into my life when I was 13. It was a great honor to be an uncle at such a young age. This photo was taken during a visit when we lived in West Virginia. He was almost a year old and we totally bonded. We played, laughed, I changed his diaper, and even bathed him before his bedtime. I have watched him grow into the fine young man he has become. Fast forward a few years and this little guy is married today and I am very excited and proud. I wish much love, blessings, and happiness for all your years.
My niece is just as adorable and full of energy today as she was when she was born 25 years ago on this date. Surprisingly, she actually wants to go to here for her birthday. I keep a big stash of photos for just the right occasion and this one is perfect. Notice that she is holding her “My Little Pony” doll that her uncle gave her.
She is my heart and my partner in crime. We have the most colorful and fascinating conversations. I am proud of everything you are and all that you will become. With love always…your favorite uncle!!! Happy Birthday!!!