Are You Mad for Dessert? You voted. I tested. Let’s get our Bourbon on!

Photo by Michelle Byrd

The winning recipe is a slightly modified version of an existing Ezra Poundcake recipe. To go directly to the original dessert recipe, simply scroll down and click on the link at the bottom of this post. Any modifications I made to the Ezra Poundcake recipe are noted in this post.

Hello Voters,

And your winner is . . . The Mad Men Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream with Salted Bourbon-Caramel Sauce and Buttercrunch Toffee!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seven of you voted (and I thank each and every one), and Mad Men won, 5-2. Poor ol’ Harry Potter’s treacle tart received no votes. He can lick his wounds with his box office millions.

Bourbon Fun Fact: Even if a foreign liquor meets all of the U.S. federal requirements necessary to create bourbon, it still cannot be referenced as bourbon. Bourbon has to be made within the U.S. 1.

Allow me a little pun for a tick. Was I mad to offer up the Mad Men-themed dessert?

As is my nature with recipes, I always let my stomach make the decisions first. This time was no exception, and that is exactly why I might be mad. When I offered up the Mad Men dessert option, did I look to see if I needed an ice cream maker? Did I look to see that a candy thermometer, which I did not own, was involved? Did I double-check to make sure I had the corn syrup I thought I had? Yes, of course answers are obvious. I also did not consider that I’d have to visit at least two stores for my ingredients—the grocery and the ABC store.

As a digression, I would like to address my thoughts on the ABC store. If you are out-of-state, ABC stands for Alcohol and Beverage Control, and it is the only store (in Virginia anyway) that can sell hard liquor.

  1. To make an extra store do what a grocery store can handle is costly and cumbersome. Keep in mind that I do not know the full history here.
  2. I feel cool when I walk into the hard liquor store, like I’m in a movie. Sometimes I am a bad ass brown-bagger about to jump onto a Harley, sometimes I am a desperate Bad Blake in Crazy Heart, sometimes I am just pathetic Ben Sanderson in Leaving Las Vegas. It’s not cool to be an alcoholic. It is interesting that the brown bag carries all this mystique.

Now, time for the Mad Men Recipe Verdict (score out of 10):

Michelle’s rating:                   7

Papa Byrd’s rating:               8

Baby Byrd’s rating:                Please! Did it involve sugar? Okay then.  

Photo by Michelle Byrd

Overall, I vote you do this:

1)      Buy your vanilla ice cream of choice.

2)      The toffee was Papa Byrd’s favorite item of the bunch. Make it if you want added sweetness. It was easy to make, but you know what’s even easier? Buying good-quality chocolates (i.e. Ghirardelli) and sticking the edge of one right into the ice cream mound, like a little flag.

3)      Definitely make the bourbon sauce. I used light cream and lite corn syrup because I had it available. These changes did not bother me.

Reasons for my suggestions, a la Byrd Notes:

On the Bourbon Vanilla Ice Cream: I absentmindedly assumed I could do an ice cream mix-in, or what some people call a “smoosh in.” (If you are familiar with The Jersey Shore, this is not the same kind of “smoosh.”) This is where you take pre-made ice cream, usually plain vanilla, and then lace in your ingredient of choice and then refreeze. Well, I wasn’t going to buy an ice cream maker. I ended up buying a lot of things for this recipe, but that’s where I stopped. I did a mix-in instead that I wouldn’t even suggest you do. If you want to make the ice cream, go ahead and make it. I’d love to know how it goes.

On the toffee: The toffee was easy and quick. It tasted better the day after it was made. Of course, with Papa B, no holds barred here. Toffee was his thang! Whether the toffee is really necessary to complete this dessert depends on your level of sweet tooth. Litmus: If other people make comments to you about how much sugar you put in your coffee, then go ahead and whip up this toffee. If not, you’re fine without it because . . .

. . . the caramel sauce is a must-have. This sauce was quick and easy and would definitely be cheap if you already have most of the materials. The bourbon does not cook down with this sauce, but it was not overpowering. A nice, warm shot of bourbon atop your ice cream–ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

Click here to get to Ezra Poundcake, the site full of fun recipes that houses this one:

BIG TIPS: Always read the entire recipe first and have fun. Happy cooking! Happy eating!



If you try this recipe or any others from the Ezra Poundcake sight, I’d love for you to post feedback.

1-Cowdery, Charles K. “How Bourbon Whiskey Really Got Its Famous Name.” The

         Bourbon Country Reader. 3.1 (1996). Limit Point Systems. 2007. Web. 22

Aug 2011.


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