Homemade Liqueurs


The season of giving has arrived and I just love the idea of homemade gift’s. Homemade jams, pickles, infused vinegar and oils, jewelry, soaps and liqueurs. I love them all!

Homemade liqueur is so simple to make and is so delicious! My two favorites are Kahlua and Amaretto.

Both of these liqueurs are yummy on their own or you can use them to create a mixed drink, pour over vanilla ice cream or add to a cup of hot cocoa.


I like to search for pretty and unique bottles for my liqueurs that can be used for other things long after the contents have been enjoyed.

I came across these recipes in the local paper’s (The Oregonian) food section many years ago. Both are totally yum! Take some to your next holiday party to give to the host. Make some extra to have on hand for your own holiday events as well.


Cheers! and happy holiday giving.

Homemade Kahlua:

  • 1/4 vanilla bean
  • 1 fifth vodka (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1/3 cup good quality instant powdered coffee ( I used espresso powder)
  • 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 2 cups sugar

Split vanilla bean and add to vodka. Let stand 24 hours.

Add boiling water to coffee, cover and let stand 2-3 minutes. Add cocoa, sugar and corn syrup, stir until dissolved. Cool. combine with vodka. Place in bottle or jar with lid. Let mellow for at least a week. Yields 2 fifths (about 6 cups).

Homemade Amaretto:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2-1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1-1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1 fifth vodka

Mix water, and sugars in a large saucepan. Boil 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add vanilla and almond extracts and vodka. Pour into bottles. Yields 2 fifths.

Orange Liqueur:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups brandy
  • 2 fresh navel oranges

Place sugar in a large jar, add brandy.

Perforate orange and thread with string. Suspend orange from lid over brandy mixture for 5 days with lid on.

Remove orange. Stir sugar if necessary. Perforate and suspend second orange 5 days. Remove orange and store liqueur in an airtight container. Yields about a pint.



Mom’s Cornbread


Nothing warms the soul like a big pot of homemade soup or chili and a hot skillet of cornbread straight from the oven.

I have tried many a cornbread in my lifetime, and all of them were good, but there is just nothing as good as mom’s cornbread. I’m not sure what she does to it but you can just taste the love.

And it’s always best when it’s fresh out of the oven, slathered with a pat of butter. I like to crumble some into my chili as well. Yum!

Here’s mom’s recipe. I’m not sure where it came from originally but it is my favorite. She also uses this cornbread in her cornbread dressing for thanksgiving.

Mom’s Cornbread:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sifted flour
  • 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons bacon fat

Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter cast iron skillet and then sprinkle with a bit of cornmeal. Heat pan in the hot oven.

Beat egg and then mix in remaining ingredients until smooth. pour batter into the hot skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes until done.

Cut into wedges and serve with butter.


Pecan Pie Bars


Thanksgiving is almost here, you know what that means……. Pie! I love me some pie! Mom always made Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Pie. The pecan is my favorite! But I always have a sliver of each. (I don’t want to discriminate!)

What kind of pie does your family serve? What is your favorite? I don’t think that I have met a pie that I didn’t like!

Since I won’t be doing the traditional Thanksgiving feast this year (my brother is taking us out to a restaurant), I decided to make these pecan pie pars to munch on for dessert. That way I can get my pie fix and send a few pieces home with my brother. (if there is any left!)

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These Pecan Pie Bars are a great addition to the plethora of desserts served at the Thanksgiving table. I like to add these to my holiday cookie trays as well and give them as gifts.

The original recipe for these Pecan Pie Bars comes from the “A Taste of Oregon” cookbook. I made a couple of changes to the recipe this time. First, I added more nuts (because, who doesn’t want more nuts!) and threw in a few chocolate chunks. Then, I omitted the maple glaze on this batch.

They are absolutely delicious either way you make them. The crust is similar to that of a shortbread and the topping is like a traditional pecan pie with a maple glaze to top it all off.

Here is the original recipe but change it up as you like it. Try them with a big dollop of freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream on top. Yum!!

Pecan Pie Bars:


  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter


  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups dark corn syrup
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans


  • 1/8 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon maple extract
  • milk

Crust: Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in brown sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until well mixed. Pat evenly into bottom of well-buttered 9×13 inch pan and bake 325 degrees F for 12 minutes.

Filling: Beat eggs until well mixed but not too light. Add brown sugar, flour and salt. Blend. Add corn syrup and vanilla. mix well. Pour over the partly baked crust and sprinkle with pecans. Return to 325 degree F oven and bake 40-45 minutes. Cut into squares while still warm.

Icing: Blend butter, powdered sugar, maple extract and add enough milk to make a thin consistency. Drizzle over the top of cooled cookies.