Aida Gets Cooking with Booze

By: Roberto Ferdman
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From little balls of bourbon candy to big bottles of whiskey,  Aida gets a sip of alcohol-infused artisanal foods tonight on FoodCrafters .

It all starts with the spirits, and Scott and Todd Leopold have been making some of the best at the Leopold Bros Distillery. The two may use an old-fashioned method to make their whiskey, but the Colorado-born brothers are loaded with timeless tips and recipes to get the most out of your bottle.

If you prefer your whiskey straight, Scott and Todd remind that you should always add a bit of water or an ice cube. Adding even the smallest amount of water helps open up the whiskey and release aromas that would otherwise remain dormant!

If you'd rather enjoy a refreshing whiskey cocktail, Scott and Todd have some mean mixes to wow your friends. Try the Cherry Old Fashioned:

Cherry Old Fashioned

1 1/2 oz. Whiskey

1/2 oz. Orange Liqueur
1/2 oz. Cherry Liqueur
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 sugar cube

Gently muddle sugar cube, a splash of water, bitters, and orange peel in an Old Fashioned glass. Add whiskey and a few large ice cubes, then stir. If you can't find Cherry Liqueur at your local liquor store, you can purchase it online. (Courtesy of Leopoldbros.com.)

But spirits aren't all Aida will be investigating. She'll also be heading out to where Ron and Jane make their famous bourbon Happy Balls. These chocolate-coated bourbon balls are so good that they've inspired some seriously sweet recipes, like David Domine's Bourbon Ball Torte that's topped with loads of Happy Ball goodness.

Bourbon Ball Torte

One of Kentucky's most famous confections, the bourbon ball has a rich butter cream center with whiskey and pecans wrapped in a smooth chocolate coating. My favorite bourbon ball is the Happy Ball, a candy made at the Old Louisville Candy Company. The recipe for this rich chocolate cake has been designed to feature them as an ingredient in the filling and as a garnish on the top.

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
½ cup boiling water
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
¾ cup bourbon
2 cups heavy cream
½ cup powdered sugar
16 large bourbon balls
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Break the chocolate into pieces and mix it with the boiling water until completely dissolved. Let cool. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and 2 cups sugar until fluffy and pale yellow. Continue beating and add the egg yolks, one at a time, until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate mixture and vanilla and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Combine the buttermilk and bourbon. To the butter-chocolate mixture, add 1/2 of the flour and then 1/2 of the milk, continuing to mix and scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining milk and flour and mix on medium-high speed until smooth. Be careful not to over beat the batter. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites at high speed until stiff peaks form. Slowly fold the egg whites into the batter and pour into 4 buttered and floured 9-inch round pans. Bake on the center rack for 20 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool. Invert pans and turn out cakes.

To begin assembling the torte, use a very sharp, serrated knife to cut off the tops of the cakes to produce 4 even layers. Whip the 2 cups cream with powdered sugar to form very stiff peaks. Chop 8 of the bourbon balls into small pieces and add to the whipped cream. Chill for at least 1hour so the filling can set up and support the weight of the layers. Brush away excess crumbs from the tops of the cakes and place one layer on a large, flat plate. Top with 1/3 of the filling and spread out to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Add the next layer and repeat the process. Refrigerate the cake for at least 2 hours. For the last stage of assembly, scald the 1/2 cup cream and add to the chocolate chips, whisking until completely melted and smooth. Transfer the cake to a wire rack over a baking sheet and pour the glaze over the cake to coat completely. Cool again, and once the ganache surface has solidified somewhat, decorate the edge with the remaining bourbon balk. (Courtesy of David Domine.)

Make sure to tune in Mondays at 10:30pm for an all new episodes of FoodCrafters.

Want to know where she's going next? We've got all the upcoming spots and shops right here.

Find David Domine's Bourbon Ball Torte recipe in the cookbook 'Splash of Bourbon' and visit Leopoldbros.com for more tips and recipes from Scott and Todd.

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