Salted Bourbon Brownies + Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream! #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

I happen to love the fact that Christmas season starts at 12:01 AM on November 1st. I love that I went to the mall the other day to get my shattered phone screen fixed (again), and was met with the comforting warble of Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald’s “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and a jolly See’s Candies employee handing out free chocolate lollipops. I love that as abruptly as the holiday magic begins, my kitchen turns into a buttery, chocolatey, flour-y wonderland where I retreat regularly to create and let the inspiration (and sugar) fly.

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

This year I’ve been going back to the basics which means cookies and brownies. I decided to re-formulate my Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe (hopefully, coming soon), and came up with the boozy brownie recipe I’m sharing today. I’m really excited about this one.

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Last year, I discovered the wonders of a good chocolate and bourbon pairing. I made Bourbon Hot Cocoa with a salted vanilla bean whipped cream that I’ve been dreaming about ever since. Now, I’m turning that into a brownie topped with the same whipped cream and I’m obsessed with the results. 

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

The most important component of this recipe is the butter. You have to use GOOD butter. Organic Valley’s Cultured Unsalted Butter is my favorite & so I’m partnering with them on this recipe! (They even gave me a coupon to share with you here!) The flavor and richness of the finished brownie is entirely affected by that butter and the way it mingles with REALLY good chocolate. Once the two unite, just…YES. Chocolate and bourbon will become your new “perfect couple” when it comes to homemade holiday treats.

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

Salted Bourbon Brownies With Organic Valley Butter - offbeat + inspired #ButterSeason

So here’s the recipe. You have GOT to let me know what you think.

Salted Bourbon Brownies
Yields about 12 large brownies

2 sticks of Organic Valley Cultured Unsalted Butter
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces dark chocolate chips and 6 ounces dark chocolate chips, separated
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup good bourbon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and butter & flour a 9×12-inch baking pan.

Melt the butter, 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips and 3 ounces of the dark chocolate chips in a medium heat-proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Allow it to cool for 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, stir (don’t beat!) together the eggs, coffee, vanilla, sugar and bourbon. Stir the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow it to cool to room temperature. The batter must be room temperature before adding the rest of the chocolate chips, or the chips will melt and ruin the brownies!

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, and stir into the chocolate mixture. Lastly, stir in the remaining 6 ounces of dark chocolate chips.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Once cooled completely, cut into bars and top with a dollop of Salted Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream (recipe below) just before serving!

Salted Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

1 cup of Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp kosher salt

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer until the cream thickens and can hold its shape. Don’t over-beat, or it will turn into butter!

This post was sponsored by Organic Valley, but all opinions/photos/recipes shared are of course my own!!

Mocha Sorbet

Mocha Sorbet-6

Warm weather is finally here! (At least it was for a few days until it promptly disappeared from the Chicago area in favor of the more familiar cold, gray days.) But regardless of the current temperature, there’s always a reason for frozen treats – especially ones that combine my two favorite ingredients: coffee and chocolate. I’m not sure there exists a better flavor pairing (but I welcome your ideas in case I’m missing something epic!). They’re a match made in recipe heaven…especially when the chocolate is dark and earthy the coffee bold and rich.

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Eggnog “White Russians”

Eggnog "White Russians" - offbeat + inspired

Winter cocktails are my favorite. They’re so cozy and rich! The thought of a cold glass of milk punch or eggnog makes me want to gather all the ugly sweaters I can, make one giant super sweater and climb into it with all my friends while we watch cheesy holiday movies and get warm by the fire. Yes, I’m weird, but you have to admit that sounds pretty amazing.

I’ve never actually crafted my OWN winter cocktail though, so this year I wanted to try a twist on the White Russian. I love the “grown up chocolate milk” aspect of this drink, so I stuck with that and changed it up a little bit by using eggnog instead of cream. It’s such an easy alteration, but the results are SO good. Hangar 1 Vodka with its authentically fresh, clean flavor pulls the whole thing together and gives it a perfect kick.

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One of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring adventures I’ve ever been on happened about 2 months ago in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Before I get into all the details, watch this highlight video! (I am SO excited to share this with you guys…)

How it all came together is kind of surreal, so I’ll try to keep that part brief without leaving anything out. The Jeep brand had been on the hunt for a few social media influencers to bring out to Jackson Hole to experience the mountains and the community, all from behind the wheel of the new Jeep Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Of course they wanted us to get to know the vehicle itself, but the whole thing was supposed to be more about an adventure. One that created memories and stories — the kind we would take with us and share over and over again. So when they initially reached out to me and asked what things I would anticipate doing in a setting like the Grand Tetons, this was me.

In that moment, I dreamed up my ideal visit to Jackson Hole.

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Homemade Butterbeer + A Trip to the Wizarding World - offbeat + inspired

Confession! I was SUPER late to the Harry Potter party. When the movies first came out, I was actually kind of annoyed by all the hype. I refused to see them in theaters and avoided family movie nights once they were out on DVD. I couldn’t even put my finger on why I was so against HP because I had no idea what the story was even about. But after all the buzz died down, I watched the first one…and was hooked.

All of my siblings love Harry Potter, so watching with them was a lot of fun. There’s so much to love about the story, the characters, the entire world they created. Before I digress into all the spiritual and philosophical parallels that really get me going, I’ll skip to the part where I got to visit Universal Orlando’s “Wizarding World of Harry Potter“, and experienced the BUTTERBEER. Cue heavens opening, angels singing…

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Coffee + Maple Spiced Nuts - offbeat + inspired-2

In our house, we always have a dish of mixed nuts set out. I guess I figure that if I have that out as a snack, I’ll be less likely to head towards the pantry for a handful of chocolate chips. (Although, truth be told, it doesn’t always work.)

In anticipation of the holidays, I opted to spice (and sweeten) things up a bit. These mixed nuts are sweetened with maple syrup and tossed with a few of my favorite fall spices. Of course, I add coffee to pretty much anything I can, so there’s also a hint of freshly ground coffee that takes the flavor to the next level.

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Pumpkin Spice Belgian Waffles + Toasted Pecans - offbeat + inspired

Life happens in phases. They can be marked by jobs, boyfriends, schools, hair colors, diets — anything and everything. I was recently reflecting on my own phases, and noticed that no matter how chaotic or calm, easy or hard, routine or ridiculous a time in my life was, there was always a constant. I could chronologically organize my phases according to what I was baking.

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Apple pie. It’s in a league of its own. And for such a highly revered dessert, it’s very forgiving. There are thousands of recipes and renditions of “traditional” apple pie being celebrated all over the country. From the type of crust, to the variety and cut of the apples, to the spices and toppings — apple pie lends itself generously to adaptation.

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Douglas Fir Spring Tip Whipped Sweet Butter - offbeat + inspired

Kristan Raines (of The Broken Bread) and I recently teamed up to create a few recipes infused with wildcrafted tea from Juniper Ridge. I’m so excited to be collaborating with this girl. She is incredibly talented, sweet as can be, and her recipes and food photography are hypnotizing. If you haven’t already checked out her work or followed her on Instagram, you must!

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Lavender-Honey Iced Latte

Lavender-Honey Iced Latte - offbeat + inspired-7

I’m a little obsessed with making flavor infused simple syrups (as evidenced by the excessive number of my recipes that include them in some form). The flavor combinations are endless and, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest and most fun ways to add variety to drinks like iced tea, lemonade, cocktails and of course, coffee.

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