Highly Alcoholic Butterbeer

Those who have known me for 5 minutes or more will attest that my love affair for all things Harry Potter transcends normal fandom.

This is more than just a “I-stayed-up-until-midnight-to-get-all-of-the-books-on-their-release-date,” sort of love. Sure, I’ve done all the normal fandimonium things — read all the books, saw all the movies, went to every midnight release (in costume).

No, this is much, much more.

I’ve made Harry Potter-themed baked goods. I have a memory box with trading cards, ticket stubs, and HP stationary. I am currently drinking water from a Gryffindor cup. There is a chocolate frog on my bedside table. I named my first dog after a Harry Potter character.

Padfoot, a.k.a Sirius Black

But nothing is more elusive to this muggle’s mind than the perfect pint of butterbeer.

Little is known about this magnificent beverage. HP devotees will travel far and wide to sample the J.K. Rowling approved recipe at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando. Indeed, this winter I was one of them!

My best friend Amanda and I sampling the offerings at the Hog’s Head Bar

Being the natural negativo that I am, I was expecting something hokey that amounted to not much more than glorified cream soda. But oh boy, was I wrong. I mean, it was like a mild cream soda, but it was topped with this thick, rich, creamy, fluff-like topping. Oh man, it was goooooooooood.

Since I’ve recently dabbled in infusing my own vodka and crafting my own cocktails, I knew that the second I returned home from HP World (i.e., paradise), I would be finding a way to make an adult (alcoholic) version of this magical concoction.

But I quickly became dismayed while looking at recipes that involved too many ingredients (really, there’s no need to be infusing butter with cloves), were not the correct color or thickness, or frankly didn’t have enough alcohol.

More specifically, I was most interested in recreating the frothy topping, which my best friend and HP companion quickly compared to liquid fluff. Since she was with me when sampling the real deal, we made it our mission the next time she came to visit to really nail down an out-of-this-world butterbeer cocktail.

Lucky, we hit the nail on the head with our very first attempt, and in both of our humble opinions, it stands up to the official, Rowling-sanctioned virgin version. We both have slightly different tastes (Amanda loves her stuff SWEET), so the recipe gives a little wiggle room for making it your own.

I’ve now tested this recipe on a half dozen in-the-know participants and it has won top marks across the board. What really sets this recipe apart is the foam topping that makes the butterbeer look like actually frothy beer from a tap. Be careful with this one, it goes down easy, but it packs a punch!

Butterbeer

  • 1 – 2 oz. butterscotch shnapps, depending on how sweet you want it (I prefer 1 oz.)
  • 2 oz. whipped cream flavored vodka
  • 6 oz. cream soda
  • 1 large spoonful marshmallow fluff + just a smidge of butterscotch shnapps
  1. In a tumbler, mix together the ice, schnapps, vodka, and cream soda. Strain into a chilled clear pint glass.
  2. In a small container, use a fork to whip together marshmallow fluff and a smidge of shnapps (a dab of cream soda also helps break it down really well) — keep whipping until liquid and easily pourable (2-3 minutes). Pour on top of butterbeer as the “head.” Enjoy!

Snitch Cake Pops!

Like all good kitchens, we have an extensive baking cabinet in our apartment. My roommate keeps it well stocked; she is our resident baker extraordinaire. Me on the other hand? I’m afraid of the baking cabinet. There are very precious few things that will motivate me to venture into it. Friends’ birthdays? Eh, maybe. Holiday cheer? Perhaps. Harry Potter? HELL YES.

I. love. Harry. Potter.

I cannot get enough. I waited in line at midnight to get every single book since Numero Three. I dressed up as Harry Potter on at least four occasions. I cried when I finished the last book. I’m pretty sure I went through an extensive depression in middle school when I realized life would never be as cool as it is in Harry Potter.

And now, the last movie is here and the Harry Potter franchise is coming to an end. I don’t quite know what to do with myself.

Amazingly, the other day I stumbled upon the most amazing sight. Food Gawker was showing a post for Golden Snitch Butterbeer Cake Pops. I nearly fell out of my work office chair in excitement. This would be the perfect way to pay homage to Harry Potter… in edible form.

Amy from amyBITES is the genius that came up with this concoction. She is my hero. I want to be her when I grow up. I firmly believe you don’t mess with perfection and Amy is far more qualified to lead you through this process than I am, so today’s post is going to be strictly photos from my cake pop adventure. For the recipes and instructions, you should follow Amy’s extensive instructions on:

Snitch Cake Pops
Butterbeer Cake
Butterbeer Frosting 

As someone who never bakes, I knew this was going to be quite the challenge to tackle.

The first challenge was locating the necessary ingredients. Cake pops require candy melts and other fancy baking equipment. Despite living in the city, the nearest place that sells candy melts was a 25 minute drive away. I had to rent a car. Yep, that’s dedication.

The recipe also calls for butter flavoring, which I imagined to be kind of like butter extract. Where does one find these things? Well, not at the craft store, that’s for sure. Shaws? Nope. Stop & Shop? Nope. Trader Joe’s? Nope. I settled for butter flavored flakes…you know, the stuff people who watch their cholesterol use on their baked potatoes.

Ooooo doesn’t that just look like snow? Powdered sugar is my favorite!

The principle of cake pops is easy peasy! Baked cake + batch of frosting + candy coating = cake on a pop. However, as I came to learn, there’s a pretty exact art to many of the finer points of the process. No foolin’ around here!

One such example is the science maintaining the delicate ratio of cake to frosting when rolling the balls. As Amy describes, the balls should be moist enough from the frosting to stay together, but not so much that the balls become heavy and slip down on their sticks. Ruh roh… disaster waiting to happen.

Amy said she used her entire batch of frosting for the cake pops, so naturally I assumed my outcome would be similar. But strangely, after just a few dollops of frosting, it seemed like my cake balls had become potentially too saturated. Bwahhhh!

But huzzah, for awhile, it appeared that everything worked out okay anyway! As you can see above, I was able to make a nice, solid, candy-coated pop.

But as the pops were left to dry, and later as I added wings, many of the cake balls fell down on the sticks, pushing the lollipop stick through the top and ruining the balls. With the wings, my pops just became too heavy. Sadtimes. :(

I got about 5 good looking snitches out of the bunch, which I promptly froze and took precautions to protect. The rest of the pops I packed away safely so that I could assemble the wings just before serving them. This allowed me to save many from an unfortunate goring.

The whole process took the better part of a day, but it was a pretty darn exciting project! They sure turned some heads when my roommates and I brought them to the Harry Potter showing with us!

Would I do it again? For Harry Potter…you betcha!