Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

November 1, 2017

IMG_6561

So what in the world?!! I’m posting again so soon! Usually months go by between my posts. It must be some sort of Halloween miracle! It is just that I couldn’t wait to share these adorable Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider cupcakes with you. I made them for our Halloween festivities last night, but then ran out of time to actually post the blog about them. So even though Halloween is over, I’m sharing this recipe anyway. You’ll be all set for next year.

IMG_6547

These cupcakes not only look fantastic, if I must say so myself, but they also taste amazing. The cake portion is a moist Guinness chocolatey, coffee cake. And then it is frosted with a smooth and velvety Baileys Swiss Meringue Buttercream. Oh be still my heart…I am in Cupcake Heaven! No wait….I mean to say the torturous depths of Hell (it is Halloween right?).

IMG_6565

Halloween is my favorite holiday! I mean, think about it…You get to dress weird, drink booze and eat candy for dinner. In fact all of that fun stuff is encouraged. How could you go wrong on such a day! Halloween actually has Irish origins. Our modern Halloween celebrations are derived from the Celtic holiday of Samhain. Samhain was Celtic New Year. It was a harvest festival which marked the dying of the sun-god and a turning to the colder, dormant half of the year. On this night, the Celts believed the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead was at its lowest point. The dead could more easily travel back over to our side, and if we weren’t careful, we could accidentally wander over in to their world and be trapped-a good reason to stay close to home and bonfires, no doubt! This belief likely gave rise to our Halloween legends of ghosts, ghouls and witches wandering about on this night in particular. I’ve posted some great Halloween recipes in past years ranging from the historically based traditional recipes such as:

Soul Cakes (Traditional Halloween/ Samhain)

img_8703

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

img_3482

Irish Tea Barmbrack with a Whiskey Honey Glaze (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

img_3499

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

IMG_5094

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

img_3534

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

img_0006

As well as some wonderful boozy libations to kick your celebrations into high gear:

Fireball Cider Cocktail

IMG_5168

Roasty Toasty Cocktail

IMG_6529 (2)

This year’s Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes combine the whimsical and boozy together in one perfect Halloween treat! The little spider darlings (I mean horrible, terrible scary spiders) are fairly easy to make. I used two malted milk balls for the body and head (turns out Maltesers -the body- are slightly larger than Whoppers – the head), but you could also use a malted milk ball and a chocolate covered peanut. You get the idea. The legs are made with black candy melts. I piped them out onto parchment paper, let them harden and then attached them to the body with more candy melt. Then I used Wilton mini Candy eyes for their googly eyes. You could also probably use mini M&M’s here. And There you have it…. Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes!

IMG_6548

Truth be told I am terrified of spiders, so it is a bit weird that I decided to make these cupcakes. And  I’m not one of those girly girls that is scared of all bugs and mice and snakes. Nope, I pretty much like most bugs – mosquitos excepted – but it’s more hate where they are involved rather than fear. Snakes are pretty cool and I love mice. But spiders….no way!  I keep trying to make a treaty with them in which I will leave them alone as long as they are outside, but they are not allowed to come into my house. Rather than squish spiders that do venture inside despite the treaty, I show them mercy by capturing them and escorting them outside- all the while telling them that they must spread the word of our treaty to their friends. Those jerks agree at the time (spiders are full of deceit..), however once they get outside unscathed, I think they tell their little spider friends that I’m a softie and they shouldn’t worry about going into my house. Sigh….spiders are the worst! I’m just saying!

IMG_6577

Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes

  • Servings: 20 - 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Cake portion of the recipe from: Wife in Progress

Frosting recipe from: Handle the Heat

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Frosting:

  • 5 large (150 grams) egg whites
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 sticks (340 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys Irish Cream (or you could substitute Kahlua or your favorite)
  • green gel food coloring

For the Spiders: 

  • 24 Maltesers or Whoppers (Malted Milk Balls)
  • 24 chocolate covered peanuts or raisins (or just use another malted milk ball as I did)
  • 6 ounces Black or Dark Cocoa Candy Melts, melted
  • 48 (or more if you prefer – spiders sometimes have lots of eyes!) Candy eyes (small size)

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Frosting:

Wipe the bowl of an electric mixer with paper towel and lemon juice or vinegar to remove any trace of grease. Make a double boiler by placing the mixer bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.

Add the egg whites and sugar to the bowl, whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 140°F, or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and begin to whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl no longer feels warm, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add the butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated. Continue beating until it has reached a silky smooth texture. If the buttercream curdles simply keep mixing and it will come back to smooth. If the buttercream is too thin and runny, refrigerate for about 15 minutes before continuing mixing with paddle attachment until it comes together. Add the vanilla and salt, continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.

Add Baileys slowly, 1 Tablespoon at a time, and mix until well combined.

Add green food coloring gel to frosting until it reaches desired hue.

If you would like to make this frosting ahead of time, keep in airtight container in refrigerator for up to one week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Let come to room temperature and rewhip in the mixer with the paddle attachment before using.

When you are ready to frost the cupcakes, place frosting in pastry bag fitted with whatever tip you desire and pipe frosting onto cupcakes.

Melt 6 ounces of Candy Melts in the microwave. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Pipe “L” shapes onto the parchment to form spider’s legs. Let harden.

Place a Malteser “spider body” on the center of the frosting. Place the chocolate peanut “head” in front of it. Pipe dots of melted chocolate on the side of the spider’s body to hold the legs in place. Gently place 3 – 4 legs on each side of the spider. Use a dot of the melted chocolate to stick the eyes onto the head.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Itsy Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes:
Maltesers
Wilton Mini Candy Eyes
Merkens Dark Cocoa Confectionary Melts
Advertisements

Roasty Toasty Cocktail

October 30, 2017

IMG_6513It’s almost Halloween, which is my favorite holiday! And I have a great recipe to share with you – The Roasty Toasty Cocktail! Full of vodka and toasted marshmallow syrup, one small taste will conjure up autumn thoughts of Halloween bonfires and s’mores. It is just the perfect libation to sip while handing out candy to those adorable little trick or treaters. I must admit, it is a bit on the sweet side, so you’ll feel like you’re indulging in a bit of candy yourself. Why should the kids have all the fun anyway? But let me tell you… this candy cocktail is definitely for adults and has a much better kick to it than your average old Snickers bar! Guaranteed to keep you warm on the most chilly Fall evenings.

IMG_6529

I found this delicious cocktail recipe through a fun company called Cocktail Courier. A good friend got the Husband and I a subscription to it a bit back and we have loved it! The way it works is you select your favorite spirits, you know like Vodka and Gin and then the Cocktail Courier folks send you a box with everything in it that you need to create a fabulous cocktail at home.

IMG_6467

That’s right – you get the recipe, the booze, mixers and garnish all delivered right to your door (3,6 or 12 month subscriptions are available). Each kit makes 4 -12 amazing cocktails. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving! And Christmas isn’t very far away – so it might be a good gift idea for any boozy buddies you have. Or maybe you could just treat yourself! It’s never been easier to be a hip and happening bartender.

IMG_6531

Roasty Toasty

  • Servings: 1 cocktail
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe by: Cocktail Courier/ Laila Grainawi

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 ounces Vodka
  • .75 ounces Marshmallow Syrup
  • .50 ounces Manzanilla Sherry
  • 3 Drops Cherry Bark Bitters
  • Garnish: 3 roasted and toasted mini marshmallows

Directions:

Chill Rocks glass by placing in fridge/freezer or by filling with ice water and setting aside for 5 minutes.

Measure and add all ingredients (except for garnish) to Mixing Beaker

Fill Mixing Beaker with ice, stir contents by placing shaft of Bar spoon or teaspoon between your index and middle finger. Insert spoon into the beaker until spoon touches the bottom.

Stir for 15 seconds.

Remove Rocks Glass from fridge/freezer or if using ice water, empty the glass.

Strain the contents of the mixing beaker using Julep Strainer, into your Rocks Glass. Top with ice.

Create your garnish by sliding three mini marshmallows onto each skewer. Carefully toast your marshmallows using a lighter or kitchen torch. Place atop each drink.

Enjoy!

Roasty Toasty Cocktail brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Roasty Toasty:

Torani Toasted Marshmallow Syrup

Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters

Oxo Streel Double Jigger

Libbey Glass Studded Mixing Glass with Julep Strainer & pourer

Hiware 12 Inches Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon

 


Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)

April 15, 2017

IMG_6357

Happy Easter or since I’m going to go with Greek traditions this year, I should say Kali Anastasi (Happy Resurrection)! This year I’ve got quite a delicious treat to share with you: Tsoureki or Greek Easter Bread. Traditionally served at Easter, its three stranded braid represents the holy trinity and the red egg symbolizes Christ’s blood. This lovely enriched yeast bread is very similar to brioche or challah, but is spiced with Mahlep which is derived from cherry pits. This is what gives it a very distinct cherry/almond flavor. Yup…soft, moist & fluffy with an unforgettable sweet nutty flavor… now that is an Easter brunch winner if ever I’ve heard of one! But truth be told, what really sold the Husband on this recipe was the promise that it would make a superb french toast!

IMG_6359

I’ve done some really tasty Easter recipes over the years. Like this amazing Italian Easter Pie from last year:

IMG_4651

And I don’t want to forget this lovely Slovak Paska from a couple of years ago:

IMG_2710

Keeping up the International Easter theme, remember way back in 2012 I made this Russian Kulich (Easter Bread):

IMG_2724

And then there is that Easter classic Apple & Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns:

IMG_2431

There are just so many delicious Easter recipes to choose from. You just can’t go wrong! And this year’s offering is no exception. Now I will say, you do need to plan a bit ahead to make Tsoureki. You need to get ahold of some Mahleb. I have provided you with an amazon link below and I hear that Penzey’s Spices might also carry it. Luckily there is an amazing Greek Deli that we love, located right around the corner from our place in Richmond Virginia: Nick’s International Foods. They had an abundance of Mahleb available as well as some great greek easter egg dye which enabled me to get the loveliest red eggs out there! Nick’s authentic Mediterranean Market has been proudly serving Richmond since the late 1950’s and from its current location at Broad & Monroe since 1980. Not only do the carry your average small grocery store items but they also boast a huge selection of imported cheeses and specialty European ingredients not easily found elsewhere. And don’t even get me going about their deli! Delicious sandwiches and fantastic soups. Not to mention all the folks who work there are so friendly and helpful. You just feel right at home. So if you are in the area, make sure you check it out!

IMG_5554

But let me get back to this Tsoureki. This bread is pretty easy to make, especially since you break it up over the course of two days. On the first day you mix up the starter, make the dough and then you pop it into your fridge overnight so that it can have a long, slow rise. On the second day all you have to do is shape your dough, let it rise once again and then pop it in the oven to bake. Traditionally this bread is decorated with hard-boiled eggs which have been dyed red, symbolizing the blood of Christ. After the hard boiled eggs bake in the oven along with the bread, they are pretty much inedible, so although some folks decorate their Tsoureki with multiple evenly spaced eggs, I chose to only use one egg at the end of the braid. The way the Husband loves eggs, he would have cried if I had sacrificed any more eggs than necessary!

IMG_6394

Also, if you use a dyed egg when you bake the loaf, a bit of that red color will bleed onto the surrounding bread. If you are worried with the appearance, you can simply use an egg which has not been dyed as a sort of place holder. Then once the bread is out of the oven and cooled, simply swap it out for that vibrant red egg. And don’t skip rubbing the eggs with a bit of oil once they’ve been dyed. It really makes them look amazing!

IMG_6367

Once your dough is ready to be shaped, there are several ways to proceed. You can make one long braid as I did in the recipe shown below. Though I will say this makes a huge loaf of bread. I think the next time I make it I will divide it in half and make a couple smaller loaves. You can also shape the braid into a circle and put it into a 9″ cake tin to bake. Or you could make several smaller personal sized circular braids, which would be fun for a smaller Easter brunch. But definitely give this terrific bread a try. I can tell you right now that it is simply heavenly just slathered with butter. I’m sure the french toast we have tomorrow will be nothing short of divine! Happy Easter!

IMG_6355

Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread)

  • Servings: 1 large loaf or 2 -3 smaller ones
  • Difficulty: easy - but you need to plan ahead!
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

Starter:

  • 1 1/2 cups (177 grams) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup (227 grams) lukewarm (95°F) water
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

Dough:

  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups (298 grams – 418 grams) Unbleached all-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup (99 grams) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (18 grams) Baker’s Special Dried Milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground mahlep, or the same amount of vanilla extract
  • zest from 1 orange
  • 3 large eggs — 2 for the dough, 1 to brush over the loaf before baking

Optional Decoration:

  • 1 -6 hard-boiled eggs, dyed red
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil, for brushing the hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup halved almond (optional)
  • cinnamon/sugar (for dusting – optional)
  • honey (for glazing – optional)

Directions:

To make the starter: Mix the starter ingredients in a large bowl. Cover the bowl and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour. The mixture will initially be the consistency of thick pancake batter; after an hour it should be very bubbly, airy, and doubled in size.

While the starter rests, ready the dough. Melt the butter over low heat and set it aside to cool. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the flour with the sugar, dry milk, salt, mahlep and zest from one orange.

Mix 2 of the eggs into the risen starter. Stir in the cooled melted butter.

If you’re substituting vanilla extract for mahlep, stir it in. Add the flour/sugar mixture and stir until everything is incorporated.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups flour 1 cup at a time, as needed to make dough that’s stiff enough to form a ball but is also soft and slightly sticky.

Knead the dough — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — until it springs back when pressed gently with a floured finger. If kneading by hand, try to use only the lightest dusting of flour on the counter and on your hands. The more gently you knead, the less sticky the dough will seem. When done, place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours, or overnight.

The next morning, remove the dough from the fridge and knead it gently a few times, to deflate it.

Decide whether you want to make one braided loaf, two loaves, or a round braid. If you want to make the round braid, liberally butter a 9″ round cake pan. For the braided loaves, line a baking sheet with parchment.

Divide the dough into three pieces for the 9″ round or the single braided loaf. Divide dough into 6 pieces for the two loaves. Set them aside, covered with lightly greased plastic wrap.

If you’re using the dyed eggs, rub each one with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil and set them aside. 

Make three 16″ strands with the dough; pinch the ends together at one end. Braid for 4″ to 5″; tuck an egg into the braid. Continue to braid, placing another egg into the braid at 2″ intervals. 

Cover the shaped loaf with lightly greased plastic wrap, and let it rise at room temperature for 2 to 2 1/2 hours; if you’re using the round pan, the top of the loaf should be just barely level with the top rim of the pan. During the last 45 minutes of the rise, preheat your oven to 350°F.

To bake the bread: Lightly beat the remaining egg. Brush it over the loaf. (Alternatively, omit the egg wash if you’d prefer to brush the loaf with honey when it comes out of the oven.) Or brush the loaf with egg wash, sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over the bread and top with halved almond. If you’re baking a round loaf, press the last hard-boiled egg firmly into the center of the risen loaf. 

Bake the bread for 20 minutes. Open the oven door, reach in, and carefully press each egg farther down into the bread.

Continue to bake the bread for an additional 40 to 50 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 190°F. Tent the bread with aluminum foil for the last 30 minutes, to prevent over-browning. 

Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack. If desired, heat 1/4 cup honey with 1 tablespoon water until warm, and brush over the loaf. Let the bread cool completely before serving.

Enjoy!

Tsoureki brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Tsoureki:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Mahlab Spice

Hand Held Zester

Greek Red Easter Egg Dye

Whole Milk Powder or here from King Arthur


Irish Coffee Cupcakes

March 17, 2017

IMG_6233 (1)

Oh my gawd! It’s here, it’s here!! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, my last post of my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon features cupcakes. And today I’ve got not just any old cupcake…no siree! What I’ve got here are Irish Coffee Cupcakes. Can’t get much more St. Patrick’s Day than that!

IMG_6277 (1)

So obviously, I’m giving you that classic Irish cocktail in cupcake form. It is surprising that the Irish Coffee is fairly young when one considers coffee cocktails. It was invented in 1943. Way back in 19th century France,  folks were already quaffing “Glorias” which were a mixture of “coffee & strong spirits”. And Viennese Coffee Houses had been serving Pharisäers, sweetened coffee, rum & whipped cream, for quite some time at that point. So fast forward to 1943, Joe Sheridan was the chef at Foynes Port in Limerick when he invented this warming drink and served it to a gaggle of cold and wet tourists. Eventually Stanton Delaplane, an american travel writer, encountered the drink at Shannon airport and brought it back to the US, writing about it extensively. And what do you know, it caught on. Folks loved it then, and still love it now.

IMG_6245 (1)

The classic Irish Coffee consists of hot coffee, Irish Whiskey and sugar and is topped with thick cream which is floated on top of the coffee/whiskey mixture. Soothing, warming and utterly decadent, you just can’t go wrong with this elixir. Serve it on a luxurious holiday morning or as a lovely nightcap – perfect every time. And these cupcakes…yeah, they’re worthy of their namesake.

IMG_6320 (1)

Tender, moist coffee flavored chocolate cake – filled with a creamy dark and decadent whiskey chocolate ganache and then frosted with a light and airy Irish Whiskey Whipped Cream and topped with a chocolate covered espresso bean…

IMG_6341

 

Dear Lawd! This is not only perfect on St. Patrick’s Day, but awesome year round. So what are you waiting for, you can have these ready for tonight’s shindig in two shakes of a lambs tail.

IMG_6290 (1)

Now me, I’ve gotta get going…my blogging is done for a while. I’ve got some Patrick’s Day festivities to attend to. So see you in a week or so, Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

IMG_6254 (1)

Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Recipe from: Wife in Progress

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

  • 3/4 cups Guinness
  • 1/4 cup strong black coffee (or King Arthur Espresso Powder works well here)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 Tablespoon Jameson Whiskey

For the Whipped Cream Topping:

  • 1 small carton of whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Whiskey

Espresso powder (I used King Arthur Espresso Powder, but you could also use cocoa powder or even freshly ground nutmeg in a pinch) and chocolate covered espresso beans to garnish

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

In a large saucepan heat Guinness, coffee and butter together until it comes to a gentle simmer.

Add cocoa powder while whisking continuously to avoid lumps. Mix until smooth. Place in refrigerator to cool.

Place flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl. Set aside

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs vanilla and sour cream.

Once the Guinness/cocoa mixture has cooled, add it to the egg/sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, mixing on low speed until just combined.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup scoop, fill the lined cupcake tins.

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Whiskey Ganache:

Heat heavy cream until just shy of boiling.

Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Do not mix. Cover with lid and let sit for 5 minutes.

Stir the mixture starting from the inside and working to the edges. Add the whiskey and mix until incorporated

Let sit for 10 minutes or so at room temperature. The ganache should thicken a bit. You can pop it into the fridge for a bit to speed this process up.

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:

Pour cream and sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until Cream forms stiff peaks. Add Irish Whiskey to taste.

For Assembly: 

Once the cupcakes have cooled, cut out the center of each cake with an apple corer, knife or special cupcake corer tool, taking care not to cut all the way through the cake.

Place the whiskey ganache into a pastry bag and pipe into the cored cupcake to fill.

Spoon the whipped whiskey filling into a pastry bag and frost cupcakes.

Dust with espresso powder and top with chocolate covered bean.

Enjoy!
Irish Coffee Cupcakes brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)
Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Coffee Cupcakes:
Cuckoo Luckoo Gourmet Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans – This link is for a 1 pound box of these beans. To be honest, I got mine at my local Starbucks. They sell them in little 1/75 oz snack packs!

 

 


Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie

March 16, 2017

IMG_6111

You ever have those “oh my god, worlds are colliding” moments? I definitely experienced one when I saw a recipe for Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie. I think I literally said “shut up”, in my outside voice and everything!

IMG_6115

I mean I love Yorkshire Pudding and I love Shepherd’s Pie but the thought of putting them together has somehow eluded me. Well I couldn’t wait to give it whirl and boy oh boy was I glad I did. It certainly did not disappoint.

IMG_6106

I was inspired by the folks at Cooks with Cocktails, but being very set in my ways, I already had strong opinions about making both the pudding as well as the Shepherd’s Pie. So I did take their concept and then applied it to my own time tested recipes. My Shepherd’s Pie is an adaptation of Chef Gordon Ramsay’s version. (Please don’t tell him I changed one of his recipes – I must admit I am a bit scared of the Chef…). And I don’t remember where I originally found this Yorkshire Pudding recipe. The marriage of the two was just amazing.

IMG_6119 Let me tell you I was over the moon with this dish. Not only did I get to experience the golden puffed goodness of the Yorkshire Puddings but I also got to savor that rich Guinness spiked Shepherds Pie topped high with lashings of creamy mashed potatoes and gooey melted Irish Cheddar. Comfort food at its finest!

IMG_6126

With out a doubt, this is the dish to serve at your St. Patrick’s Day dinner. And it is so easy because everything can be prepped ahead of time, which gets you out of the kitchen and on to celebrating! You can make the Shepherd’s Pie filling and mashed potatoes earlier in the day or even the day before. The Yorkshire Pudding batter should be made and refrigerated for at least and hour before cooking, but can be made up to 24 hours ahead. After your guests have arrived, preheat the greased yorkshire pudding tins, make the puddings, stuff them with the pre-made Guinness filling and top them with the potato and cheddar. Then just pop them back into the oven until the filling is bubbling and the cheese has melted and there you have it. Dinner is served. Folks will surely swoon!

IMG_6103

Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd's Pie

  • Servings: 6 - 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe inspired by: Cooks with Cocktails

Ingredients: 

For the Mashed Potatoes:

  • 3 -4 large potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 -4 Tablespoons cream
  • salt & pepper to taste

For the Shepherd’s Pie Filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 pound (500g) minced lean lamb-or ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely grated
  • 1 large carrot, finely grated
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato puree
  • Handful of thyme sprigs, leaves picked
  • 1 sprig of Rosemary, needles chopped
  • 1 small can of le sueur very young small early peas
  • 1 cup + 1 Tablespoon (250ml) Guinness
  • 1 1/4 Cup (300ml) chicken stock

For the Yorkshire Puddings:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 1/4 cup flour

Grated Irish Cheddar & chives for sprinkling over top

Directions:

Make the mashed potatoes. Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot of water salted with 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain the potatoes. Put the cooked potatoes through a ricer into the bowl of a stand mixer. Add in the butter milk and salt & pepper to taste. Mix until light and creamy.

Next make the Shepherd’s Pie Filling. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan until hot. Season the meat and fry in the oil over moderate to high heat for 2-3 minutes. If the meat has released a lot of grease, drain off at this point. Return pan to heat. Stir the onions and carrot into the meat and then grate the garlic in as well. Add the Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, herbs and peas. Cook for 1-2 minutes stirring constantly. Pour in the Guinness and reduce until almost completely evaporated. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Now make the Yorkshire Puddings. Heat the oven to 425°F. Place one teaspoon of oil ( I used bacon grease, but a vegetable oil is fine) in each of the wells of a yorkshire pudding or popover pan. Place the baking tin into the oven once it reaches temperature. In a blender combine the eggs, milk, salt and flour. Blend well. Once the oil in the baking tin is very hot, pour the Yorkshire Pudding batter into each well, filling it 1/2 way full. Place the baking tin back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. I know you are going to want to open that oven door to check on the process of the puddings, but DON’T! You absolutely can not open that oven door until 20 minutes have passed! I’m serious!!! Check after 20 minutes, the puddings should be puffed up and brown. Let go for 5 more minutes if you would like it to be set a bit firmer. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

Assemble the puddings. Slice into the Yorkshire Puddings along the length, taking care not to cut all the way through. Place Puddings into oven proof dishes. Stuff with Shepherd’s Pie Filling and top with a good hearty dollop of mashed potatoes. I used a pastry bag to pipe the potatoes on because I was being fancy, but that is not necessary. Sprinkle each pudding with a handful of shredded Irish Cheddar Cheese. Place back in the oven until the cheese has melted and the filling is bubbling. Sprinkle with fresh cut chives. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Yorkshire Pudding Stuffed with Guinness Shepherd’s Pie:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Potato Ricer

Scanpan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid

Nordic Ware Grand Popover Pan – what I use for my Yorkshire Puddings

Oval Au Gratin Baking Dishes

 


Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

March 15, 2017

IMG_6179

Oh my goodness, St. Patrick’s Day is nearly here! Today I’ve got a great little treat to share with you – Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies! Yes siree, now we’re cooking with gas! Absolutely scrumptious buttery shortbread cookies, shot through with Pistachios and lashings of Baileys Irish Creme and then dipped in  Bailey’s laced Chocolate and dusted with more pistachios.

IMG_6178

Be still my heart! How could anyone resist these tempters?

IMG_6189

These boozy little devils will be welcome at any Patrick’s Day celebration and they’re portable so you can take ’em on the road with you – down to the local parade and then out to the afters parties.

IMG_6215

You definitely want to make sure you keep up your strength throughout the day’s festivities. These decadent little dickens are just the thing to keep you going. And if you’re in a sharing mood, no doubt you’ll be quite popular. Bake up a batch today.

IMG_6185

Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

  • Servings: 46 - 2 1/2
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Recipe slightly adapted from: Recipes From a Pantry

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

  • 250 grams (8.8 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 100 gram (3.5 oz) caster sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
  • 4 Tablespoons Baileys
  • 250 grams (8.8 oz) all purpose flour
  • 125 grams (4.40z) rice flour
  • 5 Tablespoons pistachios, chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon all spice
  • pinch of freshly ground nutmeg

For the chocolate/pistachio glaze:

  • 150 grams chocolate (your choice – dark, milk or a blend)
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys
  • 5 Tablespoons Pistachios (finely chopped)

Directions:

Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer and cream them together until light and fluffy. Mix in the orange juice and Baileys. Add the flours, chopped pistachios, salt and spices and continue to mix until a soft dough forms. If the mixture is not pulling away from the sides of the bowl and seems too sticky to handle, slowly add flour by the scant Tablespoon just until it comes together.

Divide the dough in two and flatten each into a disc. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least one hour.

Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C/Gas 3)

Remove one of the dough discs from the fridge and roll int out on a lightly floured surface until it is about 1/4″ thick. Cut cookies with sharp cutter and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Reshape, roll and cut any excess dough until it is all used. Place cut trays of cookies in fridge to keep cool until you are ready to bake them.

Bake shortbread for 12 -15 minutes, or until they are light golden brown.

Let the cookies cool on the tray from 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Once cookies are cool, combine the Baileys and Chocolate and slowly melt over a double boiler. Dip half of each shortbread cookie into the chocolate mixture. Shake the excess chocolate off and sprinkle with finely chopped pistachios. Set cookies aside until chocolate hardens. (Too speed this process, you can place cookies in the fridge.)

Enjoy!

Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links to Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

Norpro Nut Chopper

Norpro Scalloped Cookie/biscuit cutters

Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour

 


Drunken Pig in an Orchard

March 14, 2017

IMG_5806

Drunken Pig in an Orchard! Yes!!! What a great recipe title! Now it may surprise you that this does not actually refer to a drunken local lad, who after having one too many pints celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, stumbles into your orchard and can’t seem to find his way out… No, what I’m actually talking about here are cider cooked pork chops nestled into a savory sweet bed of apples and sauerkraut and covered in creamy Irish cheddar and nutty breadcrumbs. A dish which certainly evokes thoughts of Autumn, bonfires and the yearly apple harvest, but it also well suited for your St. Patrick’s Day feasting.

IMG_5697

All of the ingredients used in this dish are abundant in Ireland and have been part of the cuisine there for thousands of years. Indeed there is archaeological evidence which indicates that apples have been grown there for over 5000 years and cider making stretches back at least 2000 years if not more. We also know that wild boar was being consumed in Ireland as far back as 7000 BC. Now I will admit, I don’t know how Irish sauerkraut is. Certainly cabbage abounds there, so it wouldn’t be difficult to imagine it bunch of it getting pickled, or rather fermented – you know…kind of like those drunken St. Patrick’s Day revelers wandering about your orchard! Any hoo…sauerkraut is good for you, full of antioxidants and probiotics, not to mention vitamins B,C and K. So eat up!

IMG_5827

This wonderful sweet/sour/savory dish comes from my friend Theresa’s debut cookbook: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

book-cover-fruitonthetable

Theresa’s company, The Green Apron, is an award winning artisan preserve company which she runs from her family’s orchards at Derryclough located near Ballingarry, County Limerick in Ireland.

1

This year, I’ve been delighted to share her recipes for Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts, Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktails, Batley Cake and now her Drunken Pig in an Orchard. All of these gems, plus so many more can be found in Fruit on the Table. Certainly you must be convinced of how much you absolutely NEED a copy of her cookbook by now. T’would be an awesome St. Patrick’s Day gift for your favorite cook…just saying. And remember if you find yourself anywhere near Limerick Ireland on a Saturday, make sure you stop into the Milk Market and visit The Green Apron shop which is always chock full of Theresa’s award winning jams and preserves.

blas-silver-2014-pic-e1463574382426-1

That being said, I’ve gotta go now and shoo those tipsy hooligans out of the orchard!

IMG_5810

Drunken Pig in an Orchard

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen” by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 4 large cooking apples ( peeled, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons slight melted apple jelly or honey
  • 100 grams (3 1/2 oz.) walnuts (chopped and toasted)
  • 200 grams (7 oz) Irish cheddar (grated)
  • 110 grams ( 4 oz) fresh breadcrumbs
  • 900 ml (30 fl. oz) sauerkraut
  • 2 medium onions (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 4 – 6 pork chops
  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) cider
  • 1 Tablespoon wholegrain mustard or sweet yellow mustard

Directions:

Butter a large casserole dish and set aside. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5)

Put the apples, spices, salt, flour and jelly (or honey) in a bowl and mix together. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the walnuts, half of the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs together. Set aside.

Drain the sauerkraut in a colander and rinse it in water to ensure that all the vinegary liquid is gone. Set this aside too.

In a large frying pan, cook the chopped onions in the butter over a medium heat for about 5 minutes until they start to soften.

Add the pork chops and cook for about 5 minutes, until they are starting to brown.

Now add the cider and the mustard and cook until the chops are cooked through, which should take about another 5 minutes.

Add the sauerkraut to the frying pan and mix everything together, making sure the chops don’t fall apart.

Cook the whole lot until the cider has all reduced down and there is no liquid left in the pan.

Put half the apple mixture on the bottom of the casserole. Cover this with the pork chops and half the sauerkraut. Sprinkle with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the rest of the apples on the cheese, then the rest of the sauerkraut, then top with the nutty breadcrumb mixture.

Bake covered (I use tinfoil) for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Drunken Pig in an Orchard brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools and Ingredients for Drunken Pig in an Orchard:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Le Creuset Heritage Stoneware Casserole 9X12″

ScanPan Evolution Sunday Pan with Lid


%d bloggers like this: