Chocolate Black Cat Macarons

October 31, 2022

So here it is Halloween! I can hardly believe. Once again, I’ve taken a break from blogging since Easter. Last year I did have a good excuse – major home renovation. This year? I got nothing. I won’t even try. But perhaps you will forgive me when you take a peek at these divine, spooky sweet Chocolate Black Cat Macarons I’ve whipped up for Halloween 2022! These sinful little delights boast a crisp outer shell surrounding a lusciously chewy center filled with a silky, dark as your soul, decadent chocolate ganache.

Halloween has always been 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! Our modern holiday of Halloween, actually has Irish origins. Today’s 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)

Yeasted Irish Barmbrack Bread (traditional Halloween/Samhain)

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

To the more whimsical offerings such as:

White Chocolate Mummy Pretzels

Halloween Cookies & Cream Owl Cupcakes

Mini Mummy Brownie Bite Cupcakes

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

Fireball Cider Cocktail

Or this Roasty Toasty Cocktail

A few year’s ago I managed to combined whimsical and boozy altogether in my Halloween treats with these adorable – I mean terribly frightening Itsy-Bitsy Tipsy Spider Cupcakes.

or how about these Black Velvet Frankenstein Cupcakes

A couple of years ago, I had a howling good time making these little rascals:

Reese Cup Werewolf Cupcakes

I loved making these boo-tiful Spooky Ghost Cupcakes!

And last year’s offering was these diabolically delicious <a href="http://<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iLOaolI8Fgc&quot; title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>Malted Chocolate Devil Cupcakes!

So yeah, I’m breaking out of the cupcake mold this year by going with these Black Cat Macarons!

Macarons can be notoriously finicky to make. I was definitely worried that the trick might be on me when I set out to make these, but I had taken efforts to get everything right. My egg whites were aged overnight, my bowls were wiped squeaky clean and I had sifted, pulsed in a food processor and sifted again. I had thoroughly read the recipe several times over. I found watching this video from Sugar Geek Show was also very helpful as far as my batter folding technique.

Truth be told, I didn’t get these to come out perfect the first time. My shells were cracked. Could’ve been I didn’t let them age enough to form the proper skin. Could’ve been I over mixed. Not sure. Yet, I persisted and Voila! So don’t despair ya’ll. Macarons are difficult, but not impossible! I think they are without a doubt worth the effort. And the good news is that even the ones that don’t look purty, still taste delicious!

All right, now that you’ve done all your prep work, get ready to make some amazing bakery quality level Chocolate Macarons! Now I realize I didn’t give you much time to get these done for Halloween – seeings how today is actually Halloween and this recipe calls for aged egg whites. But think of it this way, you will be more than ready to make these spooky macarons next year, or you could just leave the ears and kitty faces off and still be able to enjoy these fabulous treats. The choice is yours. I suppose if you are a real rule breaker you could just make these without aging the egg whites – but you didn’t hear that from me! I did make these Baileys & Coffee Macarons once and did not use aged egg whites. They came out just fine but from what I hear, aged egg whites are the preferred ingredient. But what the heck- Halloween is the perfect time for being naughty! Bake up a batch of these tricksy spooky darkly delicious Black Cat Macarons before the sun sets today! Happy Halloween ya’ll!

Chocolate Black Cat Macarons

  • Servings: 18
  • Difficulty: moderate - attention to detail required!
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Sugar Geek Show – design inspired by Posh Little Designs

Ingredients:

For the Shells:

  • 50 grams almond flour
  • 114 grams powdered sugar
  • 7 grams cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 57 grams egg whites aged overnight in the fridge and brought to room temperature
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 28 grams granulated baker’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the ganache filling:

  • 2 ounces heavy cream
  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Royal Frosting:

  • 1 Tablespoon meringue powder
  • 2 Tablespoons warm water
  • 120 grams powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • green and black gel or powdered food coloring

Directions:

Preheat oven to 320ºF and line a 1/2 baking sheet with parchment paper and a macaron template or a macaron silicone baking mat as I did.

Sift together the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and almond flour, twice if not blended.

Pulse the mixture in a food processor 8-10 times to make the almond flour mixture even finer and texture and to blend the ingredients together. 

Whip the egg whites on low to frothy consistency and slowly add the sugar in thirds.

Once the egg whites turn white and you can see some lines forming in the surface from the whisk, add cream of tartar, whipping on medium until soft glossy peaks form.

Add the vanilla to the meringue during the soft peak stage. Then continue whipping on medium-high until you get stiff peaks that start gathering and bunching on the inside of the whisk.

Add 1/3 of your almond mixture to the meringue. Fold your spatula under the batter and around the edges and then cut through the center until almond flour is mixed in. Continue with the rest of the almond flour and folding until homogenous. (see video)

Gently press the spatula on top of the batter while you turn the bowl to take out some fo the air from the meringue. Continue folding around the outside edge until the batter forms a ribbon and moves like lava. 

Your meringue is ready when it forms a ribbon off the spatula and the batter that settles almost dissolves all the way back into the rest of the batter but still leave a bit of a line. 

Place the majority of the batter in a piping bag fitted with a 1/4 inch piping tip – like a Wilton #12 or Ateco #802. Place a tiny bit of the batter in a separate piping bag fitted with a small round tip. This will be to add the ears to your macarons.

Pipe small rounds about 1″ in diameter on the macaron template.

Go back and using the second piping bag fitted with the small tip add the triangle ears to the top edge of every other macaron round, being sure that the ears level with the height of the round batter.

Drop the pan onto the table 5-6 times from about 5″ above the table to release bubbles. Use a toothpick to remove big pockets of air trapped under the surface. Use a very small amount of water on your fingertip to smooth any rough spots. 

Allow to dry, uncovered until a crust forms on the surface. About 30 minutes – 2 hours or until a dry film develops over the surface of the cookie. For humid areas put a space heater nearby to help dry the cookies faster. 

Bake at 320ºF for about 14-15 minutes or until lightly browned. If not quite brown baked, bake for an additional 1 minute. Cooled cookies should pull away from the parchment paper without sticking. If they do stick, they were not baked enough.

For the Ganache:

Place all the ingredients into a heatproof bowl and microwave for one minute. Let sit for 5 minutes then whisk until smooth. Heat for another 15 seconds if not fully melted. Place into the fridge for 20 minutes then whisk until smooth. It should be the texture of peanut butter.

For the Royal Frosting:

Combine water and meringue powder in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add extract and whisk on medium high for about 2-3 minutes.

Mix in powdered sugar until combined.

The icing will be very thick. Add warm water a few drops at a time until the icing is the consistency of toothpaste. 

Divide the thick toothpaste like icing into 2 bowls

Add black food coloring to bowl 1 until desired colors are achieved.

Mix well. 

Transfer finished black icing to a piping bag and seal closed.

Add green food coloring to bowl 2 until desired color is achieved. 

Mix well.

Transfer finished green icing to piping bag and seal closed.

For Assembly:

Once shells have cooled, evenly pipe rounds of ganache into the center of the bottom of each macaron shell. Top with “earred” shells to create a sandwich.

Decorate top “earred” shell with royal frosting to make cat’s eyes and whiskers. Or use mini M&M’s for the eyes as I did. You can draw the pupil on with food safe markers and stick the eye to the macaron by adding a small dot of royal frosting on the back.

Enjoy!

Happy Halloween!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Black Cat Macarons:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Food Processor

Simple Baker Silicone Baking Mat for Macarons

Oxo 3-in-1 Egg Separator

King Arthur Flour Almond Flour

Ateco disposable piping bags

King Arthur Baking Company Black Cocoa– This is how I got the deep dark color of the macaron shells without using food color

Vanilla Bean Paste

Wilton Icing Colors – Gel will not thin icing


Hornazo de Salamanca

April 16, 2022

Woah! Here it is nearly Easter already! Yesterday was Good Friday to be specific. So anyone who knows me, knows that yesterday I was busy baking my Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns.

They are so tasty and if you bake them on Good Friday, they actually have some magical properties. With the past few years we’ve had, I need all the magic I can get! For my featured Easter delicacy this year I am sharing a recipe from Spain. Hornazo de Salamanca is a yeast bread which has been stuffed with spicy chorizo, hard boiled eggs and serrano ham.

Yummy right?! Think of it as a large empanada or a Spanish meat pie.

And this bread is not only delicious, it has a fascinating, rather bawdy story to tell as well. Bawdy and Easter? Yup. But before I get into all the salacious details, let me give you a roundup of all the Easter Breads from years past. You see, I have been on a roll (ha ha – you’ll get it with the next few words) making Easter Breads (get it? roll…bread…) from around the world. I was tempted to stray from my Easter Bread path last year by this stunning Malted Chocolate Easter Cake.

But a couple years ago I gave you Polish Babka.

And the year before that was Cozonac – Romanian Easter Bread.

Don’t forget my  Italian Easter Bread:

Or that amazing Tsoureki from Greece:

There was the Slovak Paska:

And then quite a few years ago, I tried my hand at this impressive Russian Kulich:

But let me get back to that Hornazo de Salamanca. This bread is pretty easy to make. I have included a link at the bottom of the recipe for a handy video that shows you how it is done. The video is in Spanish, but you’ll definitely benefit rom seeing all of the steps. And for me, the video was essential for figuring out how to do the top lattice decoration.

The filling used in the video is slightly different than what I used in that I did hard boiled eggs rather than marinated pork loin fillets. But as is usually the case with traditional recipes, each and every household likely has its own version, which is great. You can customize it to your particular taste. Don’t like spicy chorizo? Use a milder sausage. Do be aware, this bread does need to rest for a few hours before serving, so it would actually be best if you bake it the day before you want to serve it.

Truth be told this bread is not actually eaten on Easter, but rather it is enjoyed on the Monday after Easter in the provinces of Salamanca and Ávila. Folks there take a loaf or two of freshly baked hornazo and maybe a bottle or two of good wine out to the countryside where it is enjoyed with family and friends. The reason why they do this on the Monday after Easter is where that bawdiness I mentioned previously comes in.

Alrighty, so here we go. Apparently was back in the mid 16th century, Salamanca was a university town and had quite the flourishing red light district. When King Felipe II visited, he became concerned that all of this illicit activity this would distract the men of the town away from their religious observations during the Lent season. So, he decreed that the Padre Putas (father of whores), a cleric who had been appointed to look after the welfare of the working girls (I swear, I am not joshing you at all! This was an actual coveted appointment back in the day.), would accompany these ladies across the Tormes River outside of town, where they would remain until Easter was over. On the Monday after Easter, the students of the town, who had no doubt been very lonely this whole time, decorated boats which the Padre Putas and his lovely charges would board for their welcomed journey back across the river to the town. Many folks would be waiting on the river bank for their return and made a bit of a picnic out of it bringing this Hornazo with them to share. This festival is called Lunes de Aguas (Monday of the Waters), but it actually a bit of a play on the word aqua. Enagua in the word for petticoat. So really it was a celebration of Monday of the Petticoats!

So there you have it! A risqué Easter story and a delicious bread filled with eggs and sausages. Seems about right huh? I hope you were as amused with this bit of history as I was and that you will bake up some tasty Hornazo de Salamanca for Lunes de Aguas. Happy Easter ya’ll!

Hornazo de Salamanca

recipe slightly adapted from: Cocinando a mi manera

Ingredients:

For the bread:

  • 750 grams of all purpose flour
  • 150 ml of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup +1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
  • 125 ml white wine, room temperature
  • 125 ml warm water (around 95°F)
  • 8.25 grams instant yeast
  • 10 grams salt
  • generous pinch of sugar
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature and beaten

For the filling:

  • 300 grams serrano ham
  • 300 grams chorizo
  • 6 hard boiled eggs, sliced or chopped as you prefer

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.

Place warm water, olive oil, butter and white wine in a bowl and stir together. Then add the sugar, salt and 2/3rds of the beaten eggs. Mix well.

In another large bowl, place flour and yeast. Stir to combine. Make a depression in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour the liquids into the well and start to mix, incorporating flour from the sides until a dough begins to form. Turn the dough out onto a floured countertop and continue kneading until a soft pliable ball forms.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a cloth. Let rise until doubled in size, roughly 1 hour.

Turn the risen dough out onto a floured surface and pat into an approximate 12″ circle. Cut a bit of the dough off and set aside to use for the top decoration. Divide the remaining dough in half.

Roll one of the dough halves into a roughly 15×13″ rectangle. Transfer the rolled dough to the prepared baking sheet. Trim any excess dough from the edges so that it fits on the tray.

Arrange the ham, chorizo and hard boiled eggs over the dough, leaving a 1″ border.

Roll the other bit of dough out to a slightly smaller rectangle to fit on top. Place it over top of the filling and then press the edges to seal completely, either folding or crimping with a fork.

Roll out the dough you have reserved for decorating the top of the Hornazo. Cut little slashes in rows, offsetting one row slightly from the row above it to form a lattice pattern. Take a look at the video link at the bottom of the recipe to see how this is done. Or you can simply criss cross strips of dough or come up with another decoration that you prefer.

Paint the top of the Hornazo with the reserved egg wash. Prick the dough evenly with a fork to allow steam to escape.

Place the Hornazo in the preheated oven and bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until it is golden brown.

Remove from the oven and let cool. It is best to let it rest for a couple of hours before serving.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Hornazo de Salamanca:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer by Thermoworks

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Dough Scraper


Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes

March 17, 2022

Woo-hoo! Today is St. Patrick’s Day!!! And as per usual, the last post of my St. Patrick’s Day recipe run features a cupcake. And oh what a cupcake it is! Are ya’ll ready for this? Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes!!! Get out, right?! So, instead of making the traditional Tres Leches cake, I made a version of it in portable cupcake form and my innovation did not stop there. Oh no. I replaced one of the Leches with Baileys Irish Cream. The result is an incredibly decadent Baileys drenched dream, just perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

As I mentioned, I have always ended my St. Patrick’s Day run of recipes with a cupcake offering. Last year it was these zingy Irish Whiskey Ginger and Lime Cupcakes

The year before Baileys made an appearance in these Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

and who can forget my Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Guinness takes the stage here with these Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting

One year I even turned Scáiltín, which is an old fashioned Irish milk punch into a cupcake with these Malted Scáiltín Cupcakes

And I was able to squeeze Guinness, Jamesons and Baileys into these boozy Chocolate Whiskey Dipped Irish Cupcakes

Phew! That is a lot of cupcakes! But let me get back to our featured treat today: Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes. Tres Leches literally means 3 milks. A Tres Leches cake is an ultralight sponge cake, similar to an Angel Food Cake, soaked overnight in a mixture of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk and cream and then topped with a whipped cream frosting. It is popular in Mexico and Latin America as well as here in the States. For St. Patrick’s Day, I thought it would be fun to replace the regular heavy cream in the leches mix with Baileys and I was not disappointed. These moist Baileys bombs are to die for!

These cupcakes are easy to make, but you’ve got to have a bit of patience to get all of that Baileys milk mixture to soak in. After poking holes in the cupcakes with a fork, I put the Baileys soak in a decorating squeeze bottle and slowly drizzled it over the tops of the cupcakes allowing it to soak in as I went. I must admit, when I saw the volume of the Baileys soak (I used all but about 3/4 – 1 cup of the liquid. The leftover is awesome in your morning coffee!), I thought there was absolutely no way that the cupcakes could hold it all. I thought when I undid the cupcake wrapper there would be an absolute flood of liquid. But nope, after an overnight rest in the fridge, it was all impossibly absorbed and the cupcakes magically transformed!

So there you have it. These Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes will definitely steal the show at any St. Patrick’s Day celebration. So what are you waiting for? Get baking! I wish everyone a safe, healthy and happy holiday! Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daiobh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day)!

Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes

  • Servings: 24 cupcakes
  • Difficulty: easy - but time needed for the Baileys/milks mixture to soak in to cakes
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Perfect Tres Leches Cupcakes

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 5 large eggs, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/3 cup whole milk

For the Baileys Soak:

  • 1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup Baileys Irish Cream

For the Frosting:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Baileys
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • cocoa powder to dust over top

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Line two 12-count muffin tins with foil cupcake liners. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl and set aside. Separate egg yolks and whites into separate bowls.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and 3/4 cup of the sugar on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until creamy and light in color. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture, mixing until just combined. The batter will be thick.

Transfer the batter to a large bowl and set aside. Wash the bowl of your stand mixer. Add the egg whites to the clean bowl and beat with the whisk attachment on medium-high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.

Gently fold the egg whites into the cake batter so as not to deflate the egg whites. Use an 1/4 cup scoop to evenly divide the batter between the cupcake liners.

Bake for 15-16 minutes until golden brown on top and the cupcakes bounce back to the touch or a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean. Cool completely.

Pierce the tops of each cupcake several times with the tines of a fork to create holes down into the cupcakes. Whisk the sweetened condensed milk, evaporated milk, and Baileys together, then transfer to a squeeze bottle. 

Soak each cupcake with the milk mixture, a little at a time, until most of the Baileys mixture has been soaked up. (You might end up with about 3/4 cup liquid left over). It may seem like too much liquid at first, but if you do a little on each cupcake, then let it soak in while you move on to the others, you can return to the first ones and repeat the process a couple of times until most of the milk mixture has been soaked up. Refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

Beat the heavy cream, Baileys, powdered sugar, and vanilla bean paste in a bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon onto the tops of the soaked cupcakes. Dust with cocoa powder and top with chocolate pearls if desired.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Baileys Tres Leches Cupcakes:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

Sugar Belle Bottle Coupler Set

Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste

Valhrona French Chocolate Pearls – This is what I used to decorate the top of the cupcakes. It is a crispy bit of cereal coated in dark chocolate. This link if for a much, much bigger bag than you would need for just this dessert, but I wanted to let you know what I had used.


Whiskey Butter Tarts

March 16, 2022

Whiskey Butter Tarts! With a name like that how could this dish be anything other than amazing?! Seriously, I love every single word. Whiskey. Butter. Tart. Fantastic! And let me tell you, these little devils live up to their name! You’ve got the buttery shortbread pastry, the gooey caramel like center and the crunchy chewy top along with a zing of Irish Whiskey flavor thrown in for good measure. Are you drooling yet?

I got the recipe for these delectable little darlings from one of my best friends, Theresa Storey, who just happens to also be a best selling, award winning author! A couple of years ago, Theresa published her first cookbook where you can find the recipe for this scrumptious treat along with over 100 other delicious seasonal fruit recipes. It is called Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

Theresa runs a business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. She grows much of the fruit and vegetables she uses in her preserves at her family’s orchards at Derryclough and in the walled vegetable garden at her parents 18th Century castle, Glenwilliam.

Her award-winning preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. The Green Apron has won 15 Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards, 7 International Great Taste awards and is listed not only in McKenna’s Guide, but also in Georgina Campbell’s Guide. The Green Apron is also now offering workshops on sustainable living, preserving and bee keeping.

Theresa’s book, Fruit on the Table is a top 10 best-selling cookbook in Ireland , has won a Gourmond award there and has been selected to compete for an International Gourmond award. In her book, Theresa follows the seasons and tells you how best to keep fruit on your table all year round. It is an absolute treasure trove, filled not only with her family recipes for jams, jellies and chutneys but it also runs the full gambit of meals, including recipes for cocktails, snacks , mains and going all the way through to desserts. And it doesn’t stop with the mouthwateringly delicious recipes, Fruit on the Table also gives you the low down on growing your own fruit, the ins and outs of preserving, tips on foraging as well as drying fruit. I’m proud to be sharing this recipe from her book. I have shared quite a few over the years, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And speaking of those Green Apron recipes that I’ve shared before, let me just remind you of a few. A couple of years ago, I kicked off my St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon with her Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream.

I told you about her Batley Cake

which I filled with her deletable boozy Irish Whiskey Marmalade (also used to fill these tarts.

And this year, I’m sharing Butter Tarts. Truth be told, her recipe is for Canadian Butter Tarts. I just made them boozy by throwing in a few glugs of good ole Irish Whiskey! She also bakes her tarts in a traditional bun pan. I’ve shared a link for one below. I wanted a smaller little two bite tart, so I decided to make up a batch in a mini muffin tin and was very pleased with the results.

I’d wager you will be delighted as well. These treats are wonderful with a cup of tea, coffee or maybe a glass of whiskey if you’d prefer. They are amazing hot out of the oven, but a pleasure anytime. The perfect little nibble for your St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Whiskey Butter Tarts

  • Servings: 48 mini muffin sized tarts/
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe very slightly adapted from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

***The pastry ingredient amounts listed are if you plan to make the tarts in a mini muffin tin as I did. If you are using a proper bun pan or full sized muffin tin, half the pastry ingredient measurements. Keep the filling measurements the same no matter what sized baking tin you choose.

  • 220 grams (8 oz./ 2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 450 grams (1 lb) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water

For the filling:

  • 3 Tablespoons Irish whiskey
  • 170 grams (6 oz.) raisins
  • 340 grams (12 oz.) light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 30 grams melted butter, slightly cooled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Place raisins in a bowl and pour 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey over them. Set aside and allow the raisins to plump up.

Place the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Scatter the butter, cut into 1/2″ cubes, over the flour. Process until it resembles sand. Remove from processor and place in large bowl.

Add the cold water, 1 -2 Tablespoons at a time, mixing after each addition until the pastry holds together. You will likely not need all of the water. Turn the pastry onto a work surface and knead until smooth. Flatten into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8″ thickness. Using a fluted cookie cutter, cut circles slightly larger than the holes of a mini muffin tin. ( I used a 2 1/2″ cutter) Try to cut out all of the pastry circles in one go if you can. The pastry is a bit persnickety when you attempt to re-roll it.

Line the wells of the muffin tin with the pastry circles.

Whisk the sugar, eggs, melted butter, vanilla bean paste, cornstarch and cinnamon together, mixing until smooth. Fold in the whiskey soaked raisins. (Do not drain the whiskey off, add the raisins and whiskey)

Half fill the tart cases with the sugar mixture, taking care to stir frequently as the raisins will settle to the bottom.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes until the filling is set and pastry golden. Let cool for a few minutes before removing them from the tins onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Do not allow them to cool completely in the muffin tins as they may end up sticking.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Irish Whiskey Butter Tarts:

Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Nonstick Twelve Hole Shallow Bun Tin


Vegetarian Cottage Pie

March 15, 2022

Now here we go! Comfort food at it’s finest! Today I give you – Vegetarian Cottage Pie! This mouthwatering pie is chock full of a savory mix of Guinness drenched french lentils, leeks, mushrooms, carrots and peas and topped with dreamy creamy crunchy tangy mashed potatoes! I swear you will not miss the meat at all!

You can pretty much find Shepherd’s Pie on most menus of any Irish pub you visit. Technically Shepherd’s Pie is made with lamb. If it doesn’t have lamb, such as the lamb shoulder found in Chef Cathal Armstrong’s pie that I shared with you a few years ago:

Or lamb mince, like Chef Gordon Ramsey prefers:

then it is called a Cottage Pie.

Today’s dish gets rid of the meat altogether, instead letting a melange of mushrooms and hearty thyme flavored Le Puy lentils stand in, and might I add, steal the show!

The Mashed Potato topping used here is superb as well, with sour cream and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese providing a delightful tangy umami taste. Those flavor packed potatoes get even more magical when baked as you get a crispy crunch, followed with the creamy interior in every forkful.

Just so you know, the Husband has proclaimed this his favorite, over all of the Shepherd/cottage pies he has every sampled. High praise ya’ll! You simply must make this for your St. Patrick’s Day party!

Vegetarian Cottage Pie

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

recipe adapted from: Samantha Seneviratne via New York Times Cooking

Ingredients:

For the mash topping:

  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered (about 3 large)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ½ cup packed grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (Parmigiano-Reggiano is not vegetarian, so if you are strict vegetarian and not just doing a Meatless Monday, make sure you use a vegetarian cheese) or vegetarian Parmesan, divided
  •  Freshly ground black pepper

For the filling:

  • 3/4 cup french lentils (you can use other lentils, but I prefer Le Puy, which hold their shape with cooking)
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces sliced mixed mushrooms, such as button, cremini, and shitaake
  • 1 large leek, white part only, thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  •  Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can of Guinness Beer (14.9 ounces)
  • 1 can of le sueur small peas (8 ounce) drained

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375° F.

In a large pot, bring a gallon of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil over high heat. Add potatoes to boiling water and boil for about 15 to 20 minutes, until fork tender. Drain potatoes well. Using a potato ricer, rice the potatoes into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix on medium low for one minute. In a small saucepan or a microwave oven, heat 6 tablespoons of the butter and milk together until butter melts. Add the hot butter mixture to the potatoes and beat until just combined. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth. Set aside 1 Tablespoon of the 1/2 cup of Parmigiano, then add the remaining amount to the potatoes. Mix on medium high until creamy. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

Place the lentils, thyme and 2 cups of the broth in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Bring to a simmer with 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce the heat and continue to cook the lentils, partly covered, until they are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer the lentils to a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in the 10-inch skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until they are deep golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add leeks, carrots and garlic, and continue to cook until tender, another 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the tomato paste and stir, cooking until it is well combined, another 2 to 3 minutes. Sprinkle flour over the mixture, stir and cook for 1 minute. Add the can of Guinness, cooked lentils and drained can of peas. Cook until thickened. Remove thyme stems.

Transfer lentil filling to a 2 quart casserole dish or 11″x7″ baking dish. You could use a 13″x9″ dish if you prefer but I prefer to use a smaller pan so the the filling layer is deeper. Dollop the mashed potato topping over the filling and spread into an even layer. Or add the potatoes to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe a fancy design over the top as I did. Sprinkle the 1 Tablespoon of remaining Parmigiano over the top. Place the dish on a parchment paper lined baking tray and transfer to the oven. Bake the pie until the potatoes have begun to brown and the edges are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!


Irish Brown Bread

March 14, 2022

Hearty Irish Brown Bread, slathered with salty butter. YUM! It’s great with both savory or sweet toppings and is a perfect accompaniment to any soup or stew. It has an incredibly satisfying crunch to it when toasted. Delicious! This dense, craggy bread may not be for you if you prefer something akin to Wonder bread, but if you like the whole grain experience, this bread is to die for. And, guess what? It is very easy to make.

Traditionally, brown bread was made with whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. This version is enriched with a bit of sugar and butter as well as some baking powder for a bit of extra lift. I use a special blend of Irish Flour from King Arthur Baking company, rather than just plain whole wheat flour. I also brush the loaf with melted salted butter and sprinkle with just a bit of sea salt before I pop it in to bake. Oh and don’t forget to cut a cross in the top as well. Some folks say this helps the bread cook evenly. I’ve also heard it is done as a blessing to keep the devil away. My favourite reason is that you cut a cross in to allow the fairies to escape!

I have no doubt you will be pleased as punch with this wholesome Irish Brown Bread. And don’t forget to slather on that rich salty Kerry Gold Butter!

Irish Brown Bread

  • Servings: One large 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Baking

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (439 grams) King Arthur Irish-Style Flour
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons (25 grams to 35 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups (340 grams) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) melted butter plus a bit more for brushing over top
  • flaky sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk and the butter. Stir together until blended — some lumps will remain.

Turn the dough out onto a floured board and knead about 10 times, or until it all holds together.Form the dough into a large ball, flatten slightly and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Cut a deep cross in the top. Brush melted butter over the top of the loaf and sprinkle with flaky sea salt.

Bake the bread for approximately 40 minutes, or until it tests done (a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center will come out clean).

Remove the bread from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. Serve with sweet butter and a dollop of marmalade, if desired. Or alongside some Irish Stew or Cottage Pie.

Store, well-wrapped, for a couple of days at room temperature; freeze for longer storage.

Enjoy!


Irish Whiskey Cake

March 13, 2022

Alrighty! Here we are at day 2 of my annual St. Patrick’s Day recipe blog-a-thon. And I’ve got a great recipe to share with you today – Irish Whiskey Cake! This moist and flavorful, boozy spice cake is shot through with pecans and enveloped in a warm buttery whiskey glaze.

All you Irish Whiskey lovers – this one is for you! We’ve got whiskey in the cake and on the cake! Hooray! And this cake is super-dooper easy to make. I almost feel like I’m cheating somehow. But here is the secret – you just go buy a box cake mix and then doctor it up a bit. The results are just wonderful whiskey perfection!

Now the original recipe called for applying the whiskey butter glaze over three days. I have found that you can achieve pretty much the same taste by applying the glaze over three hours instead. You just want all that buttery whiskey goodness to be able to soak into the cake. I think you can do that over a few hours vs. days. I do also poke some holes in the cake to facilitate maximum whiskey absorption.

Did I just say “maximum whiskey absorption”? Yup, sounds about right for St. Patrick’s Day Festivities! This delicious Irish Whiskey Cake will serve a crowd. So there you are, sorted for the St Patrick’s Day potluck!

Irish Whiskey Cake

  • Servings: 16 slices
  • Difficulty: easy - but allow 3 hours for whiskey glaze to soak in
  • Print

recipe adapted from: Taste of Home

Ingredients:

  • 1 package spice cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1-1/3 cups coarsely chopped walnuts, divided (I used pecans instead)

For the whiskey glaze:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup Irish whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300° F. Grease and flour a 10-in. tube pan or bundt pan.

Place all of the ingredients, with the exception of the nuts in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and mix for2 minutes. Fold in 1 cup the nuts, reserving 1/3 cup for later. If you are using a bundt pan, sprinkle remaining nuts in the bottom of the prepared pan and then add the batter. If you are using a bundt pan, sprinkle the nuts over top of the batter once you have added it to the pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 60-65 minutes. Cool in pan.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes. Cool 3 minutes.

Take a wooden skewer, toothpick or swizzle stick and poke a scattering of holes in the cake. Pour one-third of glaze over top of cake, allowing some to flow over sides down into the pan. Let stand 1 hour. Remove from pan. Reheat the glaze if you need to and brush another third over the cake. Wait one additional hour and then brush the remaining glaze over the cake. Allow the cake to cool completely and then cover.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Irish Whiskey Cake:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Duncan Hines Spice Cake Mix – This is for a box of 2, so you’ll be ready to go when everyone requests you make this cake again!


Guinness Punch

March 12, 2022

Alright! Let’s get this year’s St. Patrick’s Day recipe party started. And I’ve got just the thing to get it going – Guinness Punch! Coming to you straight from Jamaica, this creamy cocktail is absolutely perfect for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations! Now I realize right about now you might be thinking, “Uhh, what does Jamaica have to do with St. Patrick’s Day?” Well, let me tell you. I turns out that 25% of Jamaican citizens claim Irish ancestry. Irish emigration to Jamaica started in the early 17th century with sailors and merchants. It picked up significantly after England took Jamaica from the Spanish and needed to populate their new colony. Large numbers of the Irish were transported unwillingly as slaves and indentured servants under Oliver Cromwell. Today, folks of Irish ancestry make up the 2nd largest ethnic group in Jamaica after Jamaicans of African ancestry.

Guinness Punch in Jamaica is often made with Supligen, which is a milk based nutritional drink. I have substituted whole milk. Easy to make, you can whip up several batches and have them chilling in the fridge before your guests arrive. I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of this tipple when I came across the recipe, but after tasting it, I am a complete convert. This Guinness Punch is amazing! I love the sweet creamy milk pared with just a hint of bitter from the Guinness. I am particularly looking forward to warmer weather (that might be the only time you will ever hear me say that) because you can swap out the milk for some vanilla ice cream or wait….maybe a scoop of chocolate ice cream….or even coffee ice cream!!! That is going to be one off the hook milkshake! Folks at your St. Patrick’s Day festivities will not be able to get enough of this delicious, creamy and silky smooth cocktail. So what are you waiting for? Get those blenders out and whizz up a batch of Guinness Punch! And don’t forget to check back here tomorrow for another scrumptious St. Patrick’s Day recipe. I’ll be posting one each day leading up to the big day!

Guinness Punch

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

recipe slightly adapted from: Vice

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups / 340 ml Guinness
  • 1 cup / 250 ml Whole milk
  • ½ cup / 120 ml sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tablespoons Rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (for garnish)
  • whipped cream (for topping)

Directions:

Place first 5 ingredients in blender and pureé. Let chill in fridge for 1 hour. Serve over ice with whipped cream topping and freshly grated nutmeg garnish.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Guinness Punch:

Breville Fresh & Furious Countertop Blender


St. Patrick’s Day Recipe Roundup 2022!

March 11, 2022
Sneak peak! Make sure to check back to get all the details on the tasty mystery treat (for now anyway) pictured here!

Oh my goodness ya’ll…St. Patrick’s Day is only 7 days away. Tomorrow I will be starting my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. Yup, I’ll be sharing one lovely Irish-y recipe everyday with you, right up to the big day Thursday March 17th! Now I think managing to publish one recipe daily for six days straight is a pretty impressive feat. But, a few years ago I was completely mad and used to start on March 1st and do a new recipe each day until March 17th. That is why you can find over 100 delicious St. Patrick’s Day recipes on my blog. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions this year. Today I thought I might inspire you with some of my favorite St. Patrick’s Day dishes from years past. We’ll start it off with some bread:

And here are some drool worthy mains:

I wouldn’t want to forget the sides:

And take a peek at these decadent desserts:

And last but not least…something to wash it all down with:

Is your mouth watering yet? Quite the galleries of goodies if I do say so myself. And there are many more recipes to be found on my blog as well as six new ones starting tomorrow! Don’t miss out!

P.S. I tried to get links to the recipe added to the pictures, but with my limited skills, was unable to make it work. You can find links to the pictured recipes in the gallery captions. Sorry ’bout that!


Butter Mochi

March 7, 2022

So I don’t know if ya’ll have ever tried Butter Mochi but it is absolutely delish! Both tender and chewy with rich butter and vanilla flavors, you will be hooked with your first nibble! Butter Mochi hails from Hawaii and is kind of like their version of a brownie. It is made with glutinous rice flour and that is what gives it both its soft pillowy marshmallowy center as well as its chewy crackly crunchy top crust. A true texture sensation!

I could not find Mochiko in my local grocery stores and got a couple boxes on Amazon. I have included a link below. Once you have the rice flour, these bars come together quickly and easily and will serve a crowd. I chose not to mix in any coconut as the Husband doesn’t care for it, but would wager coconut would be a great addition for any coconut lovers out there.

If you have never tried this treat, my descriptions are probably not doing it justice. I’ll admit, it doesn’t really look very exciting, rather it looks pretty plain and simple. But don’t be fooled, it will deliver big time on taste and texture. You’ve got to trust me, it is not really like any dessert bar you’ve experienced. We are big Butter Mochi fans around here and wager you will be too!

P.S. Just a reminder – in just 4 days my St. Patrick’s Day recipe blog-a-thon gets going. See one delicious recipe a day all the way up to the big day – March 17th! And if you just can’t wait and want get a jump start on those Irish-y recipes, take a look at my St. Patrick’s Day recipes from previous years. Just click on Runcible Eats/Recipes on the top navigation bar and scroll down to the very bottom. You’ll find ’em under the heading “St. Patrick’s Day”. And believe me, there’s a ton of them!

Butter Mochi

  • Servings: about 24 squares
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Pastry Love by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:

  • 4 1/2 cups (1 pound/455 grams) mochiko (glutinous rice flour or sweet rice flour)
  • One 13.5 -14 ounce (375 to 390 gram) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (360 grams) whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cup (335 grams) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick/115 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs (about 150 grams) at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) sweetened shredded coconut *optional*

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Generously butter a 9X13 inch baking pan. Set aside.

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the mochiko, coconut milk, milk, sugar, melted butter, eggs, baking powder, salt and vanilla bean paste. Whisk together until smooth. Add the shredded coconut if you are using it and whisk it in. Let the batter sit for about 15 minutes at room temperature for the rice flour to full absorb the liquid.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes, rotating the pan midway through the baking time, until the top of the cake is golden brown and the mochi feels firm when you press it in the middle. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Cut the mochi into small pieces about 2X2 inches square, and use a small spatula to remove them from the pan. Place each piece in a small muffin paper or on a piece of parchment or waxed paper.

Butter mochi can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also freeze them; put them in a 325° F oven for about 20 minutes to revive and get a little chewy and caramelized on top.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Butter Mochi:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Mochiko Sweet Rice Flour

Vanilla Bean Paste

Pastry Love by Joanne Chang – LOVE this cookbook!


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