The Ultimate Nightcap
We obviously advocate cooking with alcohol. It can be a lot of fun. But when kids are involved one needs to know the facts. Several years ago, we had a dear friend and her 4-year-old daughter over for dinner. We ended a great meal with a signature dessert of ours – Bourbon Bananas Foster. I like to substitute bourbon for rum when I prepare it. All of us adults were under the same assumption, that the alcohol would burn off during the flambe process. We were wrong. Apparently there was quite a bit of residual alcohol left over. Let’s just say that the 4-year-old hit the sack early; I mean she was out. So, I thought that it might be a good idea to reference some facts about what actually happens to alcohol content when you cook with liquor.
Common assumption is that when you actually cook with any type of alcohol it is cooked off in the heating process. A study by a team of researchers at the University of Idaho, Washington State University, and the US Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Data Laboratory calculated the percentage of alcohol remaining in a dish based on various cooking methods. The results are as follows:
- alcohol added to boiling liquid – 85% alcohol retained
- alcohol flamed – 75% alcohol retained
- no heat, stored overnight – 70% alcohol retained
- baked, 25 minutes – 45% alcohol retained
So, armed with the facts, you can now keep pumping out all kinds of boozy treats. Just make sure the kids are put to bed. Actually, tonight that might be just what you want to do. Tuck those kids in, have your partner in crime start peeling some bananas and whip up our delicious Bourbon Bananas Foster. It’s quick and easy to make. Just reserve a little of that bourbon to be poured over one of our handcrafted whiskey stones, the culinary arts sure can produce a mighty thirst.
Hammerstone’s Bourbon Bananas Foster
- ¼ cup (½ stick) butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup banana liqueur
- 4 bananas, cut in half lengthwise
- ¼ cup bourbon
- 4 scoops vanilla ice cream
Combine the butter, sugar, and cinnamon in a flambé pan or skillet. Place the pan over low heat either on an alcohol burner or on top of the stove, and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the banana liqueur, then place the bananas in the pan. When the banana sections soften and begin to brown, carefully add the bourbon. Continue to cook the sauce until the bourbon is hot, then tip the pan slightly to ignite the bourbon. When the flames subside, lift the bananas out of the pan and place four pieces over each portion of ice cream. Generously spoon warm sauce over the top of the ice cream and serve immediately.