Unrequited love and homemade (dairy-free) Baileys

“Do you know what it’s like to love someone without it ever being returned?”

I love this line from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov. There are few amongst us who don’t know what it’s like to love someone without it ever being returned. Unrequited love is one of the great tragic storylines. And a reminder that the ability to feel things deeply is both a blessing and a curse. The line makes me want to read Chekhov or at least perhaps, attend one of his plays.

But I’m not about to start on Chekhov, at least not quite yet. For the past few months, I’ve been suffering through Wuthering Heights, the ultimate unrequited love story. I’m reading this for the second time. I first read it as a teen, although I find it hard to believe I had the patience then, because as an adult, I’ve found this book both challenging and tedious. I must have speed read it when I was in high school, glossing merrily over everything, just hoping true love would prevail. This time around I’ve had to read most of it twice in order to keep all the anguish straight. I finish one chapter, start the next, and have to go back to the previous one to remind myself of the most recent convoluted plot twists.

The whole book relies on the nurse/nanny to tell the story. The all-knowing nanny who is lurking at every corner and who has never missed a single thing in the history of Wuthering Heights. As much as I love the whole tragic mess, I wonder if Emily Bronte would have found a publisher if she’d tried to publish this book today.

Tonight I’m going to finish the last chapter – already knowing the ending. I can’t wait for it to be over and then find something far more frivolous to read. I’m guessing that won’t be Chekhov, who apparently had a preoccupation with death.

Enter the Baileys. Whether you’re suffering from the February blahs or unrequited love or a preoccupation with death – – a drink might just be medicinal and Baileys is a good tonic for many things.

Last year I posted a recipe for home-made Baileys that I’ve had since my university days. Every now and then I make a batch but I always feel badly for dairy-free- daughter – since the recipe calls for both sweetened condensed milk and cream. Then I saw a reference to home-made sweetened condensed milk using coconut milk powder. I’ve just tried this and love it! Making your own sweetened condensed milk is brilliant – it’s less expensive and you can control the amount and type of sugar you use. This also makes it suitable for a vegan diet. Hurray!

Both the recipe for Baileys and the recipe for home-made sweetened condensed milk follow…

Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk – dairy-free or not (adapted from a recipe in Chatelaine magazine)

  • 1 cup coconut milk powder (I used Mr. Goudas Coconut milk powder which I found in the international food section of my grocery store) OR 1 cup of dried milk powder
  • 1/2 cup natural raw sugar (I used organic cane sugar but you could use regular white sugar, brown sugar, or whatever sweetener you prefer)
  • 1/3 cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Place the raw sugar in the blender. Cover with the boiling water. Add the coconut milk (or dried milk) powder and vanilla. Blend until completely mixed and emulsified. Use this entire quantity in the Bailey’s recipe – or refrigerate and use as you would use tinned sweetened, condensed milk.

Homemade Baileys Irish Cream – dairy-free

  • 1 quantity of homemade dairy-free sweetened condensed milk from the recipe above (or 1 can sweetened condensed milk for non dairy-free version)
  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk (or cream for non dairy-free version)
  • 1 cup Irish whisky or rye whisky or vodka
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder or one shot of espresso

Mix the ingredients together and pour into an empty bottle. Will last a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. (Actually I cannot be sure this is true – lasts about three days in my refrigerator before it is gone.)


36 thoughts on “Unrequited love and homemade (dairy-free) Baileys

  1. Oh I could feel the angst, I haven’t read Wuthering Heights since high school and I have only glanced at excerpts of Chekhov. The Baileys I have made and love but never made sweetened condensed milk, I really love that. You have inspired me to make a batch (of both)! Good for what ails ya!

    1. It was my first time making sweetened condensed milk too. Love that I can make a dairy-free version for my very allergic daughter.
      And yes – Baileys is perfect for whatever ails you! winter ails me at the moment…. we have feet of snow!

  2. Just today I thought “I wonder what Lindy is up to…” well, well here you are making a vegan baileys! Ha! Isn’t it funny how we gather certain information and draw conclusions about how someone is spending their time? The only thing you are doing is reading Emily Bronte and drinking dairy-free Bailey’s! Right?! 🙂 Love your condensed milk! Must make some and I have some rye whiskey in the cabinet too. I’m curious what could possibly be frivolous in your opinion…

  3. Seana – that’s so sweet. Thank you! I think of you in Seattle too. And I think about Whidbey Island and the mussels I ate there last summer in a biker bar overlooking Puget Sound. So freaking fantastic.
    But as for what I’m doing – my life is absolutely ridiculous. This is what I’m doing when I’m not trying to digest a few pages of Wuthering Heights and drinking Baileys: packing up and leaving one home, writing, renovating an old urban cottage (1840s limestone townhouse), working, house hunting, dog-walking, trying to do a bit of yoga, and about to leave for Mexico. When I come back – I’ll be two weeks from homeless with a staggering amount of furniture and household effects to find storage for. More Baileys will be required….

    1. Oh – next up on the reading list – my Spanish phrase book, The Long Road Home by Gail Caldwell, and The Best Food Writing of 2013. And I’m reading Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own with a couple of friends – we’re reading it out loud as we share a bottle of wine and appetizers. A chapter at a time. Such a great way to read an intense book. I love this!

      1. Why did I not receive your response? I kept wondering why I didn’t hear from you…thinking I must of offended you. 🙂 I came to visit your blog today, looking for a new post, and saw you actually did reply! You do have a wonderful life Lindy and I’m thinking you must be in Mexico right now! Hope you are enjoying some nice fermented agave beverages! Lovely way to enjoy a nice book.

      2. The crazy thing is Seana – that when I saw your comment and went to my blog – I noticed a bunch of comments I made WERE missing – not to you – but to other people. I seem to have ongoing issues with comments. Not sure why. But you could never offend me – I love hearing from you.
        Not in Mexico yet – leaving next week – cannot wait to stretch out in the sun….

      3. And again Lindy, this comment was buried in my archive and you just sent it last night. What’s going on here?! Well, I better start checking my archive on a regular basis. Glad to hear from you and enjoy the heck out of Mexico!

    1. LOL – I’ve applied for a name change for her. And the other one can be Pepper-Free. Also catchy. We can call them Dairy and Pepper for short. To list all of Pepper’s allergies (and intolerances and general finickiness) would be too much, perhaps? xo

      1. “General finickiness”? Surely you jest.
        Love the above recipe and story. I really don’t think I’d have the patience for Wuthering Heights (or Emily Bronte in general).
        Love you! Xoxoxo

  4. Oops- I’ve been sprung. Sorry about that. How are those white chocolate and walnut shortbreads getting along?
    As for the patience for Wuthering Heights – you have the patience for Anne Michaels so I’m sure you could manage a little Emily Bronte….

  5. Now you’re making me sigh. I love Wuthering Heights, but I haven’t read it since I was younger. Chekov is so cold to his characters. It was Jhumpa Lahiri’s latest book that set me off. I think you and I need to have more of these wonderful spiked sweet drinks (love love this recipe) and shun all of literary history for a moment.

    1. Amanda – you and I do need to have more wonderful sweet spiked drinks!! And then we could discuss books – I have not read any Jhumpa Lahiri and I must. I’ll start with The Namesake. Love the literary food for thought. xo

  6. You are more disciplined than me. I was given Justine to read by Lawrence Durrell – I had read it several decades ago, second time round I decided my life was too short to struggle through it and gave up.
    Love your dairy free Baileys. In England I find the coconut milk powder in Chinese supermarkets as I have yet to find it in supermarkets over here.

    1. Maria – so interesting that you would say that. I used to love Lawrence Durrell. Haven’t read him for years either. It’s so funny when you go back to things we sailed through earlier in life. I wonder – has my attention span deteriorated that much? Or have the times changed? Both I guess. But in truth – I think I just glossed over so much when I was younger. This time, I was determined to read Wuthering Heights carefully – but oh my – what a slog!
      And thank you for the point about coconut milk powder – I should make a note of that in the post. Love hearing from you. Hope the rain in England has relented.

      1. As I type the wind is rattling down the chimney and the rain is beating at the window. The rain is relentless at the moment. Devon and Somerset are really struggling.
        I think it’s because as you get older, time is more precious – as I sat reading Justine I just couldn’t enjoy it and felt my time would be better spent reading something else. Perhaps it is because we have so much choice today and can buy any book we like.

  7. a vegan condensed milk? this might be a real game changer as I try and “go vegan” in my cooking to accommodate my husband’s diet preferences. I have a homemade Bailey’s recipe flagged from a year ago, but haven’t made it since it uses heavy cream, and I don’t want to be “stuck” consuming all the Bailey’s 😛 Thanks for posting this one!

    1. Yes – never get stuck consuming all the Baileys. What a chore! I hope you made the vegan version and loved it. I have no idea why I’m finding this comment three months AFTER you made it. One of the great mysteries of WordPress is how my comment section works.

      1. haha, it’s funny that you wound up finding this comment. I’ve been all over the place w/ no real kitchen to call my own, but it is definitely still on my “to make” list. Making me want to pour some Bailey’s in my coffee right now 😉

  8. I’ve yet to read Wuthering Heights, but I feel like one of the great things about books (and any art form for that matter) is that they can take you to places you don’t want to go, places you aren’t comfortable in. I don’t know if that is the case with Wuthering Heights, but I imagine leaving behind the world of Hollywood endings and requited love is something difficult for all of us to do. To know that in the end nothing will work out happily? Yeah don’t want to go there, even if it may be important to do so from time to time.

  9. This reminds me of two things. 1. I haven’t had Baileys since drinking ‘Ducks Farts” in my twenties (layered shots of Baileys, Kailua and Grand Marnier) but should revisit this old friend. 2. I must make time to read more, even if just a little bit in between life’s crazy schedule. Have fun in Mexico. My Dad lives in Ajijic, Mexico.

    1. Stacey – I’m finding this comment three months later. But I had to laugh about Ducks Farts. I knew that combo of layered liqueurs as a B52. And yes – time to revisit that old friend! Also yes to finding time for more reading. That along with… more time for more solitary, aimless walking and thinking. More time for travel. More time for more time away from the computer! Going now to Google Ajijic, Mexico! xo

  10. Homemade Bailey’s?! Really!? Oh, I have got to try this. It must be fabulous. And how cute would that be in a lovely little bottle and handing it out as gifts!
    Ah, Chekov… haven’t read since my college days, but you’ve reminded me that perhaps I should. After Wuthering Heights, you need something light and fast. How about “Where’d you go Bernadette”, by Maria Semple. Quick and enjoyable!

    1. LOVE the book suggestion. Thank you. As for Chekhov – I’m thinking seeing one of his plays might be a better route for me. A little less intense perhaps!
      Hope you love the Baileys. Perfect for Valentines Day perhaps?! Cheers….

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