7&8/52 Honey Sage Bourbon Cocktail & Candied Ginger Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Not a meal. Not saying it couldn’t be. There’s fruit in it.

Susie Homemaker I am not. I’m not particularly tidy. I avoid cleaning, which means I let things go until crisis point (eating off orphaned plastic container lids and going sockless) or we have company arriving. I enjoy cooking and baking, but cuisine is one of the first priorities to go when adulting gets to be overwhelming. Any military wife will tell you that popcorn or cereal can be a meal (ANY meal) during deployment or any other service member absence (it’s never JUST a deployment). I like to think I have perfected the art of lazy feeding when my husband is gone and the three of us (plus dog) are left to our own devices. My crowning achievement was the invention of “Big Bowl of Food”, where, writhing in the throes of a back injury, I desperately assembled a lunch of snack items (crackers, raisins, nuts, Cheerios, fruit snacks?, pretzels) in a – you guessed it – big bowl and plopped it on the coffee table with two cups of milk and let the boys have at it. It’s become one of my most requested creations.

In fourteen days, this house has seen three injuries above the neck (all on the same kid, looking into having him fitted for a helmet), three days of fever (other kid), and mild flu-like symptoms (Mommy). Only the dog remains unscathed. Meals these past two weeks have been of the lazy variety. Store-bought rotisserie chicken with noodles and steam-in-the-bag broccoli for three nights, a standby meatball recipe that lasted until no one ever wants to see a meatball again (especially Meatball, who doesn’t care for them in the first place), and teriyaki chicken have pretty much seen us through, augmented with a couple of trips through the Chik-fil-A drive-thru. *Bonus recipe for teriyaki chicken: Pour one bottle Soy Vey Teriyaki sauce into slow cooker. Add 4-5 skinless chicken thighs (boned or not, doesn’t matter), cook on low for 4 hours. Serve with rice.* I’m patting myself on the back for not resorting to Big Bowl of Food and celebrating with the cocktail I had wanted to make when I did the Maple Bourbon Rosemary Cocktail.

Honey Sage Winter Bourbon Cocktail

As usual, my edits are in bold.

Honey Winter Bourbon Cocktail with Honey Sage Syrup No need to say honey twice here, honey. Winter Bourbon Cocktail with Honey Sage Syrup or Honey Sage Winter Bourbon Cocktail.

Honey Sage Syrup I halved this recipe knowing I barely had enough Bourbon for one cocktail

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 10-12 Fresh Sage Leaves


  • 2 ounces Bourbon Normally, I prefer Buffalo Trace for cocktails but it is extraordinarily difficult to find in Southern Maryland. I found it ONCE in our local booze-selling grocery but had just bought some Makers Mark and couldn’t bring myself to buy more Bourbon and now I’m kicking myself. 
  • 1 orange peel
  • 1 fresh sage leaf
  • 3 Tbsp honey sage syrup
  • Servings: 3 Nope. Three teetotaling 85 pound gymnasts, maybe, but these quantities make ONE decent drink. 


Bring the water, honey, and sage to a boil in a pot over medium high heat. Reduce to
lowand simmer 3 minutes. Turn off heat and let syrup cool.
You’ll have extra syrup unless you’re mixing for a crowd. Mine is in an airtight container in the fridge.

Fill a short glass with ice. Pour bourbon and cooled syrup over ice. Twist your orange peel directly over glass until you see the oils release. Place in glass with bourbon, stir, and garnish with a fresh sage leaf.

It really was the “Last Pass” for that bottle of Bourbon. Plane etchings adorn all of our barware. Naval Aviation wife problems.

Doing this again, I would muddle an orange slice in a shaker with the syrup and then add ice and bourbon and shake until the shaker is cold, then pour over fresh ice before adding the twist and the sage leaf. This cocktail improved as the ice diluted it and I’d rather just start there. Plus, it was a bit flat until I enhanced the orange.

This cocktail is not sweet so if you like sweeter drinks, feel free to add more honey. Eh, being almost HALF syrup makes this drink quite sweet. It’s also quite strong because the honey is the only mixer, but it certainly doesn’t need to be any sweeter. 

I’d love to try it again soon, but I used the last of our Maker’s Mark (and even had to augment with a splash of Pendleton), and I’m not sure this is worthy of the Blanton’s. Besides, I need the Blanton’s for the fast-approaching Julep Season.

I have a bit of a grocery neurosis. Whenever I come across a hard to find ingredient, it gets stuck in my head, and the next time I see that ingredient, I stock up. Like a squirrel getting ready for winter. (I’m still so mad about not buying that Buffalo Trace I saw IN NOVEMBER.) In this manner, I found myself sitting on close to a pound of candied ginger. That’s a LOT of candied ginger, even for a relatively prolific baker. So, cocktail in hand, I went to Pinterest to find a new way to use some of it up. I’d been craving cookies for a while and always have plenty of chocolate on hand (second grocery problem, I rarely leave the store without chocolate), so this recipe for Candied Ginger Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies from the Minimalist Baker caught my eye. The recipe uses sea salt chocolate, which I didn’t have on hand (but now I’ll stock up the next time I see it!) but I do have sea salt and chocolate, problem solved.

Candied Ginger and Sea Salt Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Pillowy chocolate chip cookies with tiny little flecks of homemade candied ginger and sea salt dark chocolate. I would not describe my results as “pillowy”. Tasty, certainly, but pillowy, no.
Author: Minimalist Baker
Serves: 30 cookies
1 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground ginger
pinch salt
1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3/4 cup sea salt dark chocolate, chopped I used chopped dark chocolate and then added a half tsp sea salt to the dough, then sprinkled a few flakes of sea salt on each cookie
1/4 cup candied ginger, chopped

CANDIED GINGER If you feel like making your own candied ginger, here’s how. That would have defeated the purpose for me, though. If you bought candied ginger, skip to the next bold text.
4-5 small-medium pieces fresh ginger
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
To candy ginger, peel and thinly slice fresh ginger, then add to a saucepan with equal parts water and sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes.
Next, drain and place ginger on a plate or other flat surface to dry, preferably overnight but at least 5-6 hours. Lastly, toss in white sugar.

Let’s get down to business.
To make the cookies, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cream butter and sugars together. Then add egg, vanilla and mix again.
Add dry ingredients a little at a time, mixing as you go. Lastly, fold in chocolate chunks and chopped candied ginger.
Scoop into rounded 1 Tbsp. balls and place on cookie sheet. Here’s where I put a few flakes of San Juan Island Sea Salt on each cookie. I’m partial to this brand but unless you have a connection to the Puget Sound, it’s hard to find. Any sea salt will do. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until set in the middle – they should hardly be brown. I will try chilling the scooped dough next time. my cookies came out flatter than I wanted them. Still delicious, but not very pretty. Also, in this manner, you can scoop and FREEZE the dough then store it in a sealed bag in the freezer and bake the cookies in single serve batches!fullsizeoutput_2b29
Leave on the tray for a few minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container or bag for up to 4 days. Alternatively, place in freezer to store longer. These did not last 4 days. Storage was not a problem. 6 thumbs up because two of our thumbs were on a business trip and missed out.


4/52 Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour

I knew I’d get behind on this blog. I expected to last more than 4 weeks. In fairness, I have made several dishes lately, but hesitate to call many of them “new”.  Also, for all its virtues, the InstaPot does not make particularly attractive food. Let’s get to it: last week’s post, started a week ago and wrapped up today.

fullsizeoutput_27bdYes, I’m counting this one. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Okay, I was being mostly sarcastic last week but with the world going to hell in a handbag, booze is now an acceptable dinner (#alternativefacts). Maybe I’ll whip up a batch of the cheese bread to go with this. Probably not, though, because I don’t think it will last that long. I also made a dessert this week. I’ll share my secret if you keep reading.

I’ve not slept well, I’ve a million and three stressors in my life right now, many of my own creation (two are fighting on the porch right now), and I’m making a reliable standby for dinner (maybe recipe 4.5, but not today). I’m a bourbon girl and had wanted to do a sage bourbon cocktail (we have what can nearly be described as a sage tree in our kitchen) but alas, it requires an orange peel and this house hasn’t seen an orange since I made fruitcake over Thanksgiving weekend. So, Pinterest to the rescue, I found one that uses lemon (the world’s saddest lemon just happened to be rolling around in our produce bin, probably since Christmas), rosemary (happy day! we also have a slightly out-of-control rosemary shrub), maple syrup (one of the four Elf food groups! Told you this could be a meal), and bourbon.

Sad lemon, happy results!

Here is the original recipe. It makes 2 drinks. I had planned to make the original recipe so I could give it a fair review (and also because halving 3/4 of a shot of syrup seemed like a hassle) but our lemon was SO SAD that I could only squeeze one ounce of juice from it, even with my incredible citrus press(courtesy of EJ Moore).



For one sour:

  • 1 small sprig rosemary plus one for garnish

    Equipment, front to back: weekday shaker, weekend shaker, citrus press. Yes, those are my Hemingway books on the window sill. They feel at home near the bar.
  • 2 ounces of bourbon (recipe called for 3 shots, a shot and a half is 2.25 ounces, which is too tedious for a weeknight cocktail)
  • 1 ounce lemon juice (again, recipe called for 1.5 shots, and 1.125 ounces? please)
  • half an ounce of maple syrup (because decimals, again. And make sure you’re using real maple syrup here)

Crush the large sprig of rosemary in your hand and add it to the shaker. I muddled the rosemary in the shaker. I’d rather have the aromatic oils in my drink than on my hands.
Add the bourbon, lemon juice, maple syrup and ice to above the level of the liquid and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. I guess it was about that long? I shake until the entire shaker feels ice cold. I think I saw that on Good Eats.
Strain the mixture into rocks glasses containing large cubes of ice and garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs. I wanted a little more rosemary essence so I rubbed a sprig around the rim of the glass before dropping it in the drink. 

I would definitely make this again. Though I’d prefer to make the whole recipe or even double it for guests. Then I could use my weekend cocktail shaker. I like that with a few adjustments, you could make this as sweet or as tart as you like on the spot, since the maple syrup dissolves readily into the cocktail.

UPDATE: I did end up making the cheese bread. And I actually followed the recipe this time and things turned out much better than before.

For dessert, Super Secret Brownies… here’s your reward for reading all the way to the end:

Buy a box of Baker’s Unsweetened Baking Chocolate and follow the recipe printed inside (conveniently, the ingredient list is printed on the outside so you don’t have to hit the grocery twice). Omit nuts if your children, like mine, don’t like “those little yellow things.” I substitute chocolate chips.

I’m actually doing a legit meal this week. Standby for recipe #5.