Brandy & Brown Butter Strawberry Shake

I mean, do I even need to describe this one? Did you READ the title? Booze. Brown butter. Ice cream. And yes, I do realize that it is February. But just look at how awesome this would be as a shared shake for your Valentine! Or have some friends over and have a boozy shake night with a funny movie. Or take inspiration from me, who despite doubling the recipe and adding two straws for the sake of the photo, continued on to drink that whole thing as a dinner one night.

This recipe is another collaboration with Marie Teckmyer, who crafted her own version of a boozy shake. Make both and let us know whose is better! Or just love us both equally and spare me the stress of a competition. That works too.

We are both using local ingredients in our shakes. I used an awesome cocktail mix called Summer Crop by Molly’s Crafted, a local small batch mixer company here in Cleveland. As you might expect from the name, it’s like summer in a bottle, and I’ll take my summer any way I can find it right now. I’m also using the delicious ice cream from Mitchell’s, another local favorite. None of these companies are sponsoring this post, they just make great products. If you don’t live in the Cleveland area, you probably have your own great local brands you could support.

Okay, I’ll stop distracting you from shake-making. Carry on.

You will need:

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp nonfat dry milk powder
  • Half a pint of good vanilla ice cream
  • 1.5 ounces Cognac brandy
  • 3 ounces Molly’s Crafted Summer Crop
  • Chocolate, whipped cream, cookies, etc. for garnishing

To make the brown butter:

Begin melting the butter in a pot over medium heat. Sprinkle the dry milk powder over it with a spoon so that it doesn’t just form one giant clump, then whisk it through juuuust to make sure. Let that cook for a few minutes until you notice the milk solids turning brown. Those solids are where most of that toasty flavor come from in brown butter, which is why we’re using only those.

As soon as they look brown, like in this thoughtfully provided photo,

remove the pot from the heat. Pour the whole affair through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to strain out that beautiful brown deliciousness. Reserve the clarified butter part for another use. You can see me demonstrating what the separated results should look like in this second convenient visual aid.

I will say that if you don’t have milk powder, there will still be some milk solids in your butter, but to be honest, it probably won’t yield enough to really make a difference to your shake unless you’re making a whole stick of brown butter. You can omit the brown butter part entirely if you must, but only if you want a lot less sunshine in your life.

To make the shake:

Firstly, make sure you plan your garnishes ahead of time. If you’re just doing some whipped cream and chocolate shavings or something, you’re good to go. I, however, prefer shakes with as many garnishes shoved in as possible. I mean, you’re making a boozy butter milkshake, let’s not pretend this is the time for calorie restraint. Things like chocolate rims on the glass, that double-helix I piped inside of mine, etc. need to be done ahead, since you don’t want to be flipping glasses upside down once they’re full of shake.

Alright, so you’ve got that out of the way. Make sure your ice cream has softened on the counter for 5-10 minutes. Note that I called for GOOD vanilla ice cream. I used Mitchell’s Vanilla Bean, so I’d definitely recommend that if you live in the Cleveland area. If not, just get something with actual visible flecks of vanilla in it. None of that yellowish vanilla ice cream that comes in the giant tubs for middle school ice cream socials. Your brandy deserves better.

Okay, and now for the actual shake-making, which is ridiculously easy. Are you ready? Throw your softened ice cream, brown butter solids, brandy and Summer Crop into the bowl of a blender or large food processor. Blend just until smooth and clump-free but not too thin. And you’re done. Pour it into a glass immediately and add any remaining garnishes.

This recipe can easily be expanded for parties. Although personally if I were making this for a party, I’d probably serve them in smaller quantities as little shooters or something.

If you make this shake, be sure to tag me on Instagram @nhubble or use the hashtag #followthatfork so I can see your spin on it!

Brandy & Brown Butter Strawberry Shake

  • Prep Time: 10h


  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 pt good-quality vanilla ice cream
  • 1 1/2 fl oz Cognac brandy
  • 3 fl oz Molly's Crafted Summer Crop


To make brown butter:

  1. Begin to melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Sprinkle dry milk powder over the butter and whisk to break up any clumps that form.
  2. Continue to cook for a few minutes, whisking as the milk solids color. Once they are lightly browned, remove the pot from the heat.
  3. Pour brown butter through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to separate the solids. Set aside the solids to use and reserve the clarified brown butter for another use.

To make the shake:

  1. Let the ice cream soften on the counter for 5-10 minutes before dumping it in the bowl of a blender or large food processor.
  2. Add the brown butter solids, brandy and Summer Crop mix to the ice cream. Blend just until combined, making sure there are no big lumps of ice cream.
  3. Pour into a glass, garnish and serve immediately.


Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Black Olive Oil

Ah, soup season. How I love thee. Especially for those of us in the north, hot soup is the perfect dinner for a winter night. Not only does it warm you up, but it usually yields a lot. Soups are also easy to whip up with only a few ingredients and are very leftover-friendly, so they’re great for when you aren’t able or willing to go to the store. This particular soup is rich and earthy and very adaptable. This recipe feeds 4.

My favorite way to make it is with black olive oil and za’atar. Black olive oil is pretty expensive and difficult to find, but it is surprisingly easy to make. It has a much stronger, salty flavor than traditional olive oil. Za’atar is a middle eastern spice blend that has a unique flavor to it. It usually contains sesame seeds, sumac, salt, and thyme or oregano.

Continue reading Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Black Olive Oil

Mulled Wine Poached Pears

Well, Christmas is over. And so begins that terrible part of the year where the rest of winter drags on without any of the festive holiday stuff. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Just because the holidays are technically over doesn’t mean we can’t keep enjoying some of the things that are typically reserved for December. And by “some of the things,” I mean mulled wine. Obviously.

So, is leftover mulled wine a thing? It tends to be for me, but I suspect that might just be thanks to my insistence on making it in such large quantities. If you have some too, then great! Use it up with this. If an elf snuck in and drank all your wine, or if you never made it to begin with, you can just make a new batch with the recipe below.

You also probably have some extra pears hanging around from a giant box a long distance relative sent you, right? I’ll assume yes. Here’s a great use for them.

Continue reading Mulled Wine Poached Pears

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

So, I know Thanksgiving is still a couple days away. And yes yes, most of you have the whole thing about not “skipping over a whole holiday” and doing Christmas too early. But excuse me. Target has had Christmas stuff out for like a month and a half now, and I spend about half my life at Target. So, yeah, I’m ready for Christmas.

And you know what the best part of Christmas is? The cookies. Although I would also have accepted family, gifts, lights, music, hot chocolate, fireplaces, drinking or general merriness, if only that had fit into what I’m building to here. That’s right, gingerbread! Continue reading Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Caramel Apple Cider Bread

Almost exactly 2 years ago, I posted a recipe I created in order to use up extra hard cider, and to satisfy my love of bread. I would still recommend you try that recipe, since it remains one of my favorites. But I have now updated it with a sweeter variation, fitting of the candy-centric Halloween holiday.

I once again worked with the wonderful Marie Teckmyer of Happy Hour Collection to bring you a collaborative food and cocktail pairing. We wanted to do something to combine the ideas of candy, apples, and a fun, darker element that would really work well for any Halloween parties you may be hosting, as well as for the fall season in general. Both of our recipes begin with the same homemade caramel sauce.

Continue reading Caramel Apple Cider Bread

Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn

Happy International Bacon Day! In honor of this magical day for people around the globe, Marie Teckmyer, owner of Happy Hour Collection, and I have collaborated to bring you recipes utilizing this much beloved icon of the pork world.

If you’ve ever made caramel corn, you know that it’s easy to make and that, more importantly, it usually yields a ton. The caramel itself can be a little tricky if you’ve never made it before, but this recipe skips that step, making it even easier. Thanks to the sugar found in maple syrups, you can actually substitute it for the water and the sugar (and typically vanilla) you would usually use for a caramel. It will still look and taste like traditional caramel corn, except it has the additional subtle flavors of maple and, in this case, smoke. 

I got the syrup I used in this recipe from Marie’s store here in Cleveland called Happy Hour Collection. If you’re from the area I would definitely recommend going in to pick some up, because you’ll probably find several other things you didn’t even know you needed in your life. At least, I always do.

If you aren’t close to Cleveland you can still buy the syrup online here. I quickly became a little obsessed with it and have been trying to use it in everything lately.  Marie actually has a recipe for a bacon old fashioned on her blog that uses this syrup. She also has a great explanation of fat-washing alcohols, so if you’ve never tried that before check out her post to find out how to do it. Fat-washing is pretty easy and gives you a lot of room for creativity in your cocktail making. Continue reading Smoked Maple Bacon Popcorn