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TIP OF THE DAY: Summer Naked Cake With Stone Fruits

The summer’s selection of stone fruits are begging for a naked cake. June through September is prime stone fruit season in the U.S.


Stone fruits are members of the Prunus genus, and include:

  • Apricots
  • Cherries
  • Lychees
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Olives
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Cross-breeds such as apriums, plumcots and pluots
    A stone fruit, also called a drupe (it’s , is a fruit with a large, hard stone (pit) inside a fleshy fruit. The stone (pit) is often thought of as the the seed, but the seed is actually inside the stone.

    Most stone fruits are native to warmer climates. That’s why in the U.S., much of the local supply comes in July and August.

    A drupe is a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed. Not all drupes are stone fruits.

  • Nuts such as almonds, pecans and walnuts are examples of the seeds inside the stones. They’re also drupes, but a type in which we eat the seed inside the pit instead of the surrounding fruit.
  • The coconut is also a drupe, as are bramble fruits such as blackberries and raspberries.
  • Not all drupes have single large stones. Raspberries are a good example. To see their stones, the fruit has to be carefully broken open. Then, the tiny stones can be seen inside (that’s why raspberry “seeds,” or drupelets, are so crunchy). They are called stones because botanically, the seeds keep their covering (called an endocarp)— not because the seeds are large and hard.
  • Avocado is actually a berry, not a stone fruit (more). Berries are a different genus in the same botanical family as drupes.
    More for botany lovers: Drupes are members of the Rosaceae family—the rose family—which includes shrubs as well as other prominent fruits in non-drupe, genuses, such as apples, loquats, pears, quinces and strawberries.

    Naked Cake is just the thing for summer. It requires no frosting on the sides (although some bakers like to use a thin swath.

    Here’s more about naked cake, with plenty of photos of different presentations.

    You can make any layer cake, but we prefer our homemade pound cake recipe (it’s more buttery). And guess what: box mixes don’t save time. The Kitchn did side-by-side tests; here are the results.

    What you do save is a wee bit of clean-up, although we just stick the measuring spoons and cups in the dishwasher.

    It’s different with whipped cream. Home-beaten cream is so luxurious, but does take 10 minutes. If you’re time-strapped, grab a couple of cans of Reddi-Wip.

    Round cake layers are more elegant to present, but loaf cakes are easier to slice. To use a loaf cake, cut two slices and put the filling and fruit on the bottom; add the top layer and the sauce.

  • Pound cake or yellow butter cake (from scratch or a mix)
  • Sliced stone fruits (an assortment is the way to go)
  • Filling: lemon or other curd, custard, instant vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream
  • Topping: fruit puree* While photo #1 uses chocolate sauce, we think summer is too heavy for the cream-based chocolate/butterscotch/caramel group, and suggest a raspberry purée
  • ________________

    *While photo #1 uses chocolate sauce, we think summer is too heavy for the cream-based dessert sauces (chocolate, butterscotch, caramel). A berry purée is just right.


    Stone Fruit Naked Cake
    [1] A couple of cake layers, sliced fruits and whipped cream or fruit purée are a light, luscious summer dessert (photo Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Naked Cake Fresh Figs
    [2] Does light swath of icing make this a semi-naked cake? This recipe, from Wife Mama foodie, is a spice cake topped with fresh figs.

    Mixed Berry Naked Cake
    [3] A mixed berry naked cake is also a summery treat (photo Wife Mama Foodie | Facebook).

    Betty Crocker Pound Cake Mix

    [4] If you don’t like to measure, use a box mix. But The Kitchn proves it’s not a time saver (photo courtesy Betty Crocker) .

    1. COVER the bottom layer with the filling, followed by the fruit. Add the top layer and press lightly. Add the topping and you’re ready to eat!

    This recipe is especially good with blackberries, boysenberries and raspberries. You can use fresh or frozen berries. Frozen is less expensive, and once you mix the purée with sugar and lemon juice, you can’t tell the difference.
    Ingredients For About 1 Cup

  • 12 ounces (approximately 1-1/2 cups fresh or defrosted frozen berries†
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, less or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice

    1. SORT and wash the berries (or thaw if frozen). Drain, cap and de-stem unsweetened berries.

    2. COMBINE the berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; process to a smooth purée, about 30 seconds. NOTE: Puréeing may be done in a blender or a food processor. If using a blender, make sure that any seeds are not ground so finely that they will pass through the sieve.

    3. POUR the mixture into a fine sieve set over a bowl. Use a rubber spatula to stir and press the purée through the sieve. Discard the solids. Taste and add more sugar if necessary. (Editor’s note: Less is more when it comes to sugar.)

    4. REFRIGERATE in a non-reactive container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 2 months.

    †When making purée from frozen fruit, let the berries thaw in a colander over a bowl. Once the berries have thawed, pat them dry before blending. By draining the berries first, you get a thicker purée.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: How To Make Better Waffles

    BLT Waffles
    [1] BLT Wafflewich, a waffle sandwich (photo courtesy Elegant Affairs Caterers).

    Waffle Cup Salad
    [2] Waffle cups aren’t just for sundaes. Use them to hold a crisp, healthy veggie salad (photo courtesy Joy Cone Company).

    Fancy Chicken & Waffles
    [3] You can take a gourmet approach to chicken and waffles with little touches like these (photo courtesy Honey Butter Fried Chicken | Chicago).

    Smoked Salmon & Caviar Waffles

    [4] Smoked salmon on top of scallion-dill Greek yogurt. If you’re flush, add some caviar, as they do at Tsar Nicoulai.


    The ancestor of waffles dates back to the Neolithic age; the ancient Greeks invented the practice of cooking them between two hot metal plates.

    But the waffle iron we know today, with the honeycomb pattern, was invented by some nameless hero metalsmith in the 13th century. Here’s the history of waffles.

    National Waffle Day is August 24th, a good reason to enjoy a warm, fragrant, crusty waffle.

    And a good reason to go beyond the original, simple waffle with maple syrup, to some of the more creative ideas below.

    First, some tips from Krups, makers of small kitchen appliances including waffle makers, on how to make the best waffles.


    1. Read the instruction manual before plugging in the waffle iron. Unless you use your waffle iron often, brush up. You need to know more beyond pushing the ON button.

    2. Treat the batter gently. Don’t mix it too quickly or vigorously. Use a slow, even tempo to get the right consistency, or your waffles will be tough and chewy.

    3. Don’t lift the lid while the waffles cook. As tempting as it may be to peek, it lets out steam needed to fully cook the waffle.

    4. Don’t use cooking spray on your waffle iron. Instead, cover the surface lightly with vegetable oil, using a basting brush or a paper towel. You’ll get a better crust on the waffle; and perhaps more importantly, Your waffle iron will last much longer. Chemicals in the sprays can affect the surface over time, and cause even more sticking.

    American, Belgian, Brussels, Liege, Hong Kong, and more: If you’d like to know the different types of waffles, take a look.


    Some would say that any waffle is a good waffle, and we wouldn’t disagree. Others have never had anything beyond a plain waffle with maple or pecan syrup, butter and a side of bacon or sausage.

    Let us provide some inspiration:

  • Look beyond plain wheat and buttermilk waffles to the more complex and interesting world of cornmeal, multigrain and whole wheat waffles.

    Just as those breads are generally more interesting than plain white bread, you may find that you enjoy the waffles more.

  • Don’t add sugar to the batter: It’s added sugar you don’t need. You’re already topping a sweet waffle with syrup, jam, ice cream and fudge sauce or other sugar product that’s sweet enough, plus fruit.

    The analogy is toast topped with jam versus cookies topped with jam—leave the sugar out. With savory waffles, definitely use a mix that has no sugar; or mix your own. It’s just flour, baking powder, water and a pinch of salt.

  • Get creative with toppings. Let your imagination be your guide. Our list below is only the beginning for whatever inspires you. Who says you won’t invent a great barbecue beef waffle, cornmeal guacamole waffle, kimchi and shredded pork waffle, nacho waffle, pickled tongue waffle or spicy poached egg waffle? (In fact, those all sound pretty good to us right now!)


    These recipe ideas work for any meal:

  • BLT Waffle (photo #1): A regular or cornmeal waffle, topped with sliced romaine hearts, tomatoes and bacon. Serve with Caesar dressing (recipe.
  • Chicken & Waffles: A Southern classic. Generally made with a regular or buttermilk waffle, fried chicken breasts and brown gravy or sawmill gravy*. But we prefer it on a cornmeal waffle topped with a sliced grilled chicken breast, sauteed onions and peppers and a spicy gravy—add a teaspoon of Colman’s dry mustard to a basic white gravy recipe. Here are some “gourmet” chicken and waffles recipes (photo #3).
  • Ham & Cheese Waffles: A regular or whole grain waffle, with your favorite ham and cheese with dijon mustard or balsamic glaze. Or, mix balsamic glaze into regular mustard or mayonnaise)—recipe.
  • Malted Waffles:Malted Waffle: For a flavor lift, add 2-3 tablespoons of malt (the same kind you use for malted milk) to your basic recipe or mix.
  • Crunchy Nutty Waffles: Add your favorite nuts and seeds to the batter, or sprinkle them atop a plain waffle. Garnish with Greek or fruit yogurt.
  • Oatmeal-Nut Waffles: The “better for you waffle.” if there is such a thing, with whole grains and protein-packed nuts.
    Serendipity Waffle
  • Serendipity Waffles: “Serendipity” is our word for leftovers. Anything you have in the fridge can be made into an exciting waffle topped with a sauce—cheese, tomato, mushroom or your favorite gravy.
  • Smoked Salmon Waffle (photo #4): We love a cornmeal waffle topped with smoked salmon, sour cream or crème fraîche, chopped chives (onion lovers can substitute chopped red onion) and dill.
  • South-Of-The-Border Waffle: A cornmeal waffle (white or blue corn) with a small dice of jalapeños in the batter. You can serve this with maple syrup for breakfast/brunch; and with queso (cheese sauce) or a queso-salsa blend for other meals.
  • Waffle Salad Bowls (photo #2): Waffle cups are not just for sundaes. Fill them with apple slaw, Asian chicken salad, broccoli carrot slaw, carrot and raisin salad, chicken salad with grapes, shrimp salad, etc. (recipes.
  • Waffle Stew: One of the oldest embellishments for waffles is to top them with your favorite stew. Garnish with grated cheese, chopped green onions and a dab of sour cream and/or a bit of mashed potatoes. Serve with a side of colorful mixed steamed vegetables and a big salad: a great way to make leftover stew special.
  • ________________

    *Sawmill gravy is a white gravy or béchamel sauce with added bits of mild sausage or chicken liver; the roux is made from meat drippings. It is also called country gravy. See the different types of gravy.



    Top savory waffles with:

  • Eggs: eggs and bacon, Eggs Benedict, sausage and eggs.
  • Cheese: blue cheese, goat cheese, melted mozzarella or other melting cheese.
  • Chicken: fried, pulled barbecue.
  • Fish/seafood: caviar, seafood (crab, lobster, scallops, shrimp), smoked salmon and other smoked fish, with a fresh dill garnish.
  • Pizza waffles: mozzarella, ricotta, marinara and favorite toppings (don’t forget the anchovies!).
  • Paté: garnished with cornichons, redcurrant jelly, fig jam or cherry preserves.
  • Tex-Mex: avocado, black beans, black olives, corn, crema (sour cream), guacamole, red onion, salsa, shredded or crumbled cheese.
  • Sandwich fixings: BLT, ham and cheese.
  • Thanksgiving fixings: cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, turkey and gravy.
  • Vegetable: asparagus with hollandaise sauce; mushrooms, spinach and Mornay sauce (béchamel with gruyère).

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles: Another great base for PB&J. Here’s the recipe.
  • Trail Mix Waffles: Top with nuts, dried fruits, coconut and granola.
  • Tricolor Chocolate Chip Waffles: Update the standard with dark, milk and white (or butterscotch, cappuccino or PB chips).
  • Wholesome Waffles: Top whole-grain waffles with nonfat yogurt, fresh fruit and nuts or seeds (chia, flax, pumpkin).

  • Candied Pecan Waffles: Top waffles with Candy roasted pecans, chopped pecans and whipped cream, syrup optional. Alternatively, you can mix the chopped nuts into the waffle batter.
  • Cheesecake Waffles: Combine two treats in one recipe.
  • Chocolate Waffles: Here’s a recipe.
  • Hot Fudge Sundae Waffles: Serve with ice cream, top-quality fudge sauce, strawberries, nuts and whipped cream.
  • Key Lime Mousse Waffles: Here’s a recipe for any citrus mousse you desire.
  • Lemon Berry Waffles: Top with lemon curd (or other fruit curd) and seasonal berries. Garnish with whipped cream and fruit sauce (either puréed berries or a fruit syrup).
  • Orange Blossom Waffles: Add mangoes, mixed berries, and nutmeg cream. Here’s the recipe.
  • Sticky Bun Sundaes: Top with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream, raisins and walnuts, garnished with a sprinkling of cinnamon and brown sugar (mixed). Add a very light drizzle of caramel sauce and whipped cream.

  • Candy: brittle, toffee chips.
  • Chocolate: chips, ice cream, syrup, shaved chocolate.
  • Cream cheese: with chocolate chips, jam.
  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt: with sundae toppings.
  • Fall & winter 1: raisins or other dried fruits, sautéed apples or bananas, maple syrup.
  • Fall & winter 2: pumpkin pie filling, whipped cream, caramelized nuts and nutmeg garnish.

    Peanut Butter & Jelly Waffles
    [5] For lunch: a PB&J wafflewich. Here’s the recipe from Cait’s Plate.

    Smores Waffles
    [6] For dessert: S’mores waffles. Here’s the recipe from Posie Harwood for King Arthur Flour).

    Banana Split Waffles
    [7] Who needs a banana split dish? Roll the ingredients in a waffle. Here’s the recipe from Krusteaz).

    Blueberry Cheesecake Waffles

    [8] Blueberry cheesecake waffles. Here’s the recipe from Cafe Delites.

  • Fruit: seasonal fresh fruit, caramelized fruit, fruit butter, fruit chutney, fruit curd, marmalade or preserves with whipped cream.
  • Fruit yogurt: with fresh fruit and fruit syrup or cinnamon syrup.
  • Sweet spreads: nut butter, Nutella, with coconut or honey and whipped cream.

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    COCKTAIL RECIPE: Blackberries = Purple Cocktail = A Delicious Smash!

    Blackberry Smash Cocktail Recipe
    [1] Watch the sunset with a Blackberry Smash.

    Bourbon Peach Smash Recipe
    [2] A Bourbon & Peach Smash. Here’s the recipe from Imbibe Magazine (photo courtesy Imbibe Magazine).

    Tequila Sage Smash Recipe
    [3] This Tequila & Sage Smash is served in a tall glass with ice cubes (photo courtesy Imbibe Magazine).

    Basil Hayden's Bourbon

    [4] Basil Hayden’s Bourbon is made in small batches by Beam Suntory (photo courtesy Basil Hayden’s).


    The only problem with this stunning cocktail is that kids will clamor for it.

    Otherwise, it’s deliciously refreshing summer smash (double entendre: smash is the name of the cocktail category). Just make it in a kid-free environment.

    The recipe came to us from Basil Hayden’s Bourbon. It was crafted by mixologist Benjamin Schiller of Chicago, who called it the Market Street Smash (a local reference).

    It’s easy to make, and it comes with a history (below).

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
  • ¾ parts simple syrup
  • ½ part fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 fresh blackberries plus 3 for garnish)
  • Garnish: mint sprig

    1. COMBINE all ingredients in a mixing tin and muddle the blackberries. Add ice, shake and strain over crushed ice inri a rocks glass.

    2. GARNISH with a sprig of mint and 3 blackberries.

    Smash is a family of easy-to-make cocktails that generally include a:

  • Spirit
  • Sweetener
  • Herb
  • Seasonal fruit
  • Crushed ice
    Imbibe Magazine calls them “those fruity, icy concoctions that highlight the best of the cocktail season

    The Cocktail Novice notes, “It’s like a Mint Julep with seasonal fruit.” Adds Imbibe: “a smash is a julep, but a julep is not always a smash.

    Here are Cocktail Novice’s recipes for:

  • Gin, Cucumber & Basil Smas
  • Jalapeño Tequila Smash
  • Strawberry Lemonade Smash
  • Whiskey Smash
    From Imbibe Magazine:

  • Añejo Smash (with tequila)
  • Bourbon & Peach Smash
  • Pepper Smash (with aquavit and bell pepper)
  • Philly Smash (with rye, Averna [herbal liqueur] and seasonal berries)
  • Ranger Smash (with whiskey and Cocchi Americano, a quinine-laced aperitif)
  • Rhubarb-Thyme Smash
  • Tequila & Thyme Smash

    Per Imbibe Magazine, one of the earliest examples of a smash is a julep recipe in Jerry Thomas’ 1862 The Bartender’s Guide.

    Thomas doesn’t mention the cocktail by name, but his definition of the julep “clearly lays the foundation for the future of the category.”

    Thomas, who literally wrote the book—the first cocktail recipe book—begins by calling the julep a “peculiarly American beverage” that is most popular in the South.


    He qualifies that a “real Mint Julep” must be made from a dozen mint leaves, a spoonful of white sugar and “equal parts peach and common brandy,” topped with crushed ice (and he acknowledges that there were many versions in existence).

    In 1888, barman Harry Johnson distinguishes the smashes from the julep, and includes four distinct smash recipes:
    “His Old Style Whiskey Smash is a casual concoction of sugar, water, mint, “small pieces’ of ice [crushed or shaved ice] and one ‘wineglass’ of whiskey (about 2 ounces). He added that to a glass with ‘fruits in season,’ gave it a mix and served it with a julep strainer.”

    Subsequent cocktail books include the smash in the category of juleps. In 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book mentions a choice of spirits: “Either Bacardi Rum, Brandy, Gin, Irish Whisky or Scotch Whisky as fancy dictates” [source].

    “His Old Style Whiskey Smash is a casual concoction of sugar, water, mint, “small pieces’ of ice [crushed or shaved ice] and one ‘wineglass’ of whiskey (about 2 ounces). He added that to a glass with ‘fruits in season,’ gave it a mix and served it with a julep strainer.”

    Subsequent cocktail books include the smash in the category of juleps. In 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book mentions a choice of spirits: “Either Bacardi Rum, Brandy, Gin, Irish Whisky or Scotch Whisky as fancy dictates” [source].

    Our fancy this summer is a Blackberry Smash.

    (Why is it called a smash? Our guess is that in the days before crushed ice machines, the ice was smashed with a hammer.)


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Put Fruit On Your Sandwiches

    You put cranberry sauce on turkey sandwiches, don’t you? Mango chutney on chicken or cheddar sandwiches? Goat cheese or brie with fig jam?

    How about fresh fruit?

    Fruit and cheese, a perfect complement on a plate, do equally well on a baguette, croissant or other bread.

    Lush stone fruits are a perfect complement, particularly ripe and juicy nectarines, peaches and plums. (With a sandwich, even barely-ripe works).

    In the cooler months, turn to apples, grapes, pears, orange, raisins and other dried fruits, including coconut.

  • Slice or dice the fruit as you prefer.
  • Consider turning fruit and berries into a compote.
  • You can also turn the fruit into a spread, by pulsing in a blender or food processor. Add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg.
  • In an hour, you can pickle the fruits, alone or with onions.
  • Grill, toast, pan-fry or use your panini press as you wish.
  • Before adding the top slice of bread, sprinkle some raisins or dried blueberries/cherries/cranberries and nuts on the filling.
  • Try a sweeter condiment: honey mustard, mayo mixed with a bit of jam, mostarda. As appropriate, use a drizzle of balsamic, honey, even barbecue sauce
  • Play with different breads: not just whole grain, but baguette, brioche, ciabatta, croissants, Portuguese sweet bread (like King’s Hawaiian), etc.
  • Add fresh herbs: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, rosemary or other favorite.
  • Sweet onion adds a counterpoint, as does a bit of heat: cracked black pepper, sliced or minced chiles, red pepper flakes.

  • Blue cheese with peaches or nectarines
  • Brie with apricots, blueberries, fresh basil and a honey drizzle
  • Creamy blue (Castello, Dolcetta, St. Agur) with peaches or nectarines
  • Cotija or feta with guava
  • Feta with watermelon and basil
  • Goat cheese with mixed berries (blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries) and a honey drizzle
  • Goat cheese with stone fruit: apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums
  • Goat cheese with fresh figs
  • Mozzarella with cantaloupe, basil leaves, optional pimento
  • Mozzarella or burrata with fresh figs (or any fruit)
  • Smoked gouda or smoked mozzarella with plum

  • Blue cheese and pear
  • Brie with apple, grape, mango or pear on baguette
  • Cheddar and Granny Smith apple, with a sprinkling of raisins and toasted pecans/walnuts
  • Chicken, egg or tuna salad (or curried chicken/tuna/egg salad) with grapes; with Delicious or other sweet apple; with kiwi or pear
  • Cream cheese with any fruit: apples, berries, grapes, pears, etc.
  • Fried paneer or halloumi with mango
  • Goat cheese with dried fruits, figs, raspberries, strawberries and optional chopped pistachios or toasted pecans
  • Grilled cheese or panini with Granny Smith apple and caramelized onion
  • Grilled proscuitto with mozzarella with fig (fresh, dried, jam)
  • Grilled tofu and pineapple with a drizzle of barbecue sauce.
  • Ham and cheese with pineapple
  • Mozzarella with sliced strawberries and a balsamic glaze drizzle
  • Waldorf chicken salad (with apples, grapes, celery, chives and toasted walnuts) on a croissants

  • Grilled gjetost* cheese (photo #5) with apples on cinnamon-raisin bread
  • Grilled brie on pound cake with fig jam
  • ________________

    *Gjetost (JEE-nust) is a unique, caramelized, fudgy cheese that some say tastes like dulce de leche or a Sugar Daddy. A blend of cow’s and goat’s milk is boiled until caramelization occurs, then packed into blocks. The taste is super unique but If I had to compare it to something, I wo.

    This recipe from Good Eggs was the inspiration for today’s tip. The recipe was adapted from one in Samin Nosrat’s cookbook, Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat: Mastering the Elements of Good Cooking.

    This recipe works well as a wrap and go sandwich for lunch or snacks.
    Ingredients For 4 Sandwiches

  • 1 log goat cheese
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 pound peaches (substitute nectarines)
  • Cilantro or other herb

    Goat Cheese & Peach Sandwich
    [1] For a sweet touch, add fruit to your sandwiches. The recipe for this goat cheese, peach and cilantro baguette is below (photo courtesy Good Eggs).

    Mixed Stone Fruit
    [2] In the summer, head for the stone fruits. Slice ‘em, dice ‘em, picked ‘em (photo courtesy Washington State Fruit Commission).

    Bowl of Grapes
    [3] Grapes are available year-round. Pick red grapes for more color, and be sure they’re seedless (photo courtesy Sun World).

    Mixed Berries
    [4] Berries are a treat on cheese sandwiches. Even if they’re not sweet enough for eating plain, no added sugar is needed on a sandwich (photo courtesy Green Giant Fresh).

    Gjetost Norwegian Cheese

    [5] Gjetost, a caramelized cheese from Norway that tastes like dulce de leche.


    1. SLICE the baguette into 4 pieces, and slice each in half. Toast as desired.

    2. SLICE the log of goat cheese into 8 coins.

    3. SLICE around the hemisphere of each peach, and twist to pull apart. Remove the pit, and slice the peach into wedges.

    4. PICK the cilantro leaves from their stems.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Layer 2 slices of goat cheese onto four of the slices of baguette, and top with a few peach wedges and cilantro leaves. Top each sandwich with another slice of bread, and serve.


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    RECIPE: Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch

    Frozen Milk Punch
    [1] What’s better than Bourbon Milk Punch on a hot day? Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch, with ice cream instead of half and half (photo courtesy Bourbon House | NOLA).

    Bourbon Milk Punch
    [2] Traditional Bourbon Milk Punch, made with half-and-half instead of ice cream (photo courtesy The Cocktail Project).

    Bourbon Milk Punch

    [3] Make Bourbon Milk Punch even more festive by using your coupe glasses (photo courtesy Bread Booze Bacon).


    This recipe was a big hit this weekend chez nous (we add the French in homage to the heritage of New Orleans, which was founded in 1718 by the French as Nouvelle-Orléans).

    This recipe is from one of the popular restaurants of the Brennan family, Bourbon House.

    Bourbon milk punch is a local specialty in New Orleans. When the restaurant opened in 2002, Dickie Brennan and his team set wanted to create a noteworthy versopm pf Bourbon Milk Punch.

    “Through much trial and the occasional error,” says the website, “the Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch was born.” [Editor’s lament: Why don’t we ever get in on these trial and error tastings?]

    The Bourbon House inspiration: add vanilla ice cream to create Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch.

    The final recipe combined house-made vanilla gelato and Old Forester Bourbon in a frozen daiquiri machine.

    Where Magazine New Orleans included the drink on the list their “30 Favorite Things About New Orleans.” Tales of the Toddy has voted it the “Best Milk Punch.”

    And now, the Bourbon House team invites you to create it drink at home, using your blender. The regular milk punch version from Brennan’s restaurants is below.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 4 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 1 cup Old Forester bourbon (or substitute)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup
  • Garnish: dash of nutmeg

    Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into rocks glasses and garnish with nutmeg.

    For a taller, colder drink, add ice cubes to a collins glass.


    This, and other cognac-based milk punches, often use Napoleon brandy, a designation for a brandy or cognac aged at least five years. Feel free to use VSOP; with all the cream and sugar, the nuances of the Napoleon will be covered up.

    If you don’t like or don’t have brandy, you can substitute bourbon, rum, whiskey and even tequila.

    RECIPE #1:

    Ingredients Per Drink

  • 2 ounces/4 tablespoons brandy or cognac
  • 4 ounces/1/2 cup half & half
  • 1 ounce/2 tablespoons simple syrup* (recipe)
  • 1/4 ounce/1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg

  • Cocktail shaker and ice


    1. COMBINE the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

    2. SHAKE vigorously and pour into a chilled old-fashioned glass. Garnish with nutmeg.


    *We prefer less sweetness, so we reduce the simple syrup by half. We also had homemade cinnamon simple syrup on hand, a nice added twist.

    Milk punch is in the category of drinks made with milk or cream: Brandy Alexander, Classic Ramos Gin Fizz, Grasshopper, Irish Coffee, Mudslide, Pink Squirrel, White Russian, and many others (hey—another idea for a themed cocktail party: cream-based cocktails).

    The recipe combines brandy or bourbon with milk, sugar and vanilla extract, and a typical garnished of grated nutmeg.

    Milk punch was popularized in the 17th century by Aphra Behn, one of the first English women to earn her living by her writing. At the time, all types of punch were served from a punch bowl.

    The milk punch of the era was made with cream curdled with lemon juice. Those recipes gave way to milk punches that use(d) fresh milk or cream, like egg nog—which is a milk punch enriched with eggs.

    Milk punches—egg nog or other—became holiday and celebratory traditions (for example, Mardi Gras).

    In modern-day New Orleans, milk punches vie as brunch drinks with the Bloody Mary, created in 1940 in New York City (Bloody Mary history).

    There are as many recipes for milk punch as for anything else, but for Mardi Gras we serve up the recipe from Brennan’s, a favorite New Orleans restaurant since 1946.

    For a 17th-century-type recipe, try Benjamin Franklin’s recipe. He used brandy and included lots of lemon juice (which curdled the milk).


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