For the third year in a row, I’m using each day in December to celebrate the rest of the best bites (and sips) that I didn’t get to blog about in 2014, posted in chronological order. Browse all of this year’s Best Bites, or look back at year-end Best Bites from 2012 and 2013.
Why it’s another 2014 Best Bite: In its first year open, modern beer hall The Radler has been a welcome addition to Logan Square. While the house-made sausages are certainly delicious, I more often pair my stein of beer with these crispy fried brussels sprouts. Sweet and gingery from crushed gingersnaps, squash puree, and candied ginger, they’re like none I’ve had anywhere else and let me enjoy the flavors of fall year-round.
The details: The Radler, 2375 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago.
Why it’s this week’s Best Bite: I made these cupcakes for a dear friend and coworker’s birthday this past week, in honor of a cocktail that we love to drink together. If you’ve never had one, a Dark & Stormy combines dark rum and ginger beer (or ginger ale, in a pinch), and is usually garnished with lime. I figured that these flavors would translate well into a cupcake, and through a bit of Googling, discovered that I wasn’t the first to have this idea. I went with the recipe that represented the two primary flavors with two distinct batters: one darker, with fresh ginger and molasses, and one lighter, with rum and citrus (I subbed in lime for lemon to stick with the traditional garnish). I finished the cupcakes off with cream cheese frosting – with more rum, of course – and a little more lime zest on top (the recipe called for crystallized ginger, but I’ve found that to be a little harsh for the less ginger-enthused, and the zest is more colorful anyway). I was very pleased that the cupcake really did seem to capture the cocktail. The cake stayed moist throughout, the cream cheese added richness, and all the flavors married together well. I got a lot of positive feedback from my coworkers too! You’ll find more photos of the baking process below.