Epic Chocolate, Porter & Potato Cake

March 7, 2014

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Anyone have any leftover mashed potatoes? It is rare that we have them leftover, usually gobbling them all up without a second thought. Yet it does occasionally happen. Truth be told I have started making ridiculous amounts of mashed potatoes when I actually do make them, for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have bee known to eat a whole bunch of mashed potatoes in one sitting. Second reason, I am always hoping there will be leftovers so that I can make them into potato farls the next day. And now I have another reason to scheme for leftovers. Believe it or not, I used leftover mashed potatoes in this Epic Chocolate, Porter & Potato Cake. Epic is the perfect word to sum up how I feel about this cake. Rich, chocolatey, moist and delicious! And with spuds and porter as featured ingredients, what cake could better boast of its Irish origins.

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I found this recipe at Bibliocook, the blog of award-winning Irish food writer and broadcaster, Caroline Hennessey. If you haven’t stopped by this great blog, you really must go take a peek. Caroline’s husband is one of the owners and brewers at Eight Degrees Brewing.  I first tasted one of their beers a couple of years ago at the Dingle Food Festival . My friend Theresa, being a fan of that craft brew, had brought along several of their beers for my husband and I to sample and we were instantly hooked. We are eagerly awaiting Eight Degrees arrival in the States. Make sure you keep it in mind if you are planning a trip over to Ireland. Indeed Caroline recommends that their Knockmealdown Porter, be the porter used in this Epic cake. And believe you me, I really wish I could have gotten ahold of a bottle, but alas, none was to be found in Virginia. So I decided to go with a locally brewed porter, looked to Baltimore Maryland (only about 1 hr or so away) and settled on DuClaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Jesus Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter, a decision which I am not second guessing after tasting this amazing cake. All of the malty, chocolate, espresso and peanut butter notes of that porter really shine through in every decadent forkful.

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I love that this cake is really no fuss/no-nonsense. It comes together quickly and easily. And since Caroline had mentioned that its taste improves a bit with age, I made it the day before I was planning to serve it and then just frosted it before folks arrived. And even though I frosted the entire cake, it really isn’t necessary. I think simply spreading a thick pillowy cloud of that cocoa dusted cream cheese filling would be sheer perfection. So why did I frost the entire cake? Well, it looks like it is time for a true confessions moment. The original recipe called for a 23cm round cake tin. Of course here in the States, we never really got into that metric system thing and still do everything in inches. I quickly figured out that 23 cm is a 9″ pan. However, I grabbed a cake pan that was only 1 1/2″ tall. It really needed to be at least 2″, so there was a bit of batter overflow happening when I baked it. No big deal as I had the cake tin sitting on a baking sheet, which caught the spillage. However, the edge of my cake ended up looking a bit raggedy. So I made the executive decision of covering my mistake with that scrumptious frosting and no one would be the wiser. Which they weren’t…until I spilled the beans here. Oh well, live and learn and always use taller cake tins when possible!

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I served this substantial cake up at one of my husband’s band rehearsals and it easily fed a flock of hungry musicians, some of whom had seconds, raving about it all the while. I guess I do have even more of a reason to make extra mashed potatoes now. I’m going to have to arrange to have 20 lb. sacks delivered to my home soon if I’m not careful. The 5 lb. ones just won’t do anymore!

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Epic Chocolate, Porter & Potato Cake

recipe slightly adapted from: Bibliocook

Ingredients:

  • 75 grams dark chocolate – it’s worth using 70% here
  • 225 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 200 grams caster sugar (caster sugar is the same as superfine sugar)
  • 220 grams light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 75 grams mashed potato (either cook some potatoes and mash them or used leftover mashed potatoes)
  • 250 grams all-purpose flour
  • 25 grams unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 150mls porter – I wish I could have used Eight Degrees Brewing Company’s Knockmealdown Porter, but I used Duclaw Brewing Company’s Sweet Baby Jesus! Chocolate Peanut Butter Porter

For the Cream cheese icing:

  • 200 grams cream cheese
  • 50 grams butter
  • 50 grams confectioners sugar, sifted

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 ° F and line the base of a 9 X 2″ round baking tin.

Melt the chocolate and allow to cool.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Mix in the melted chocolate and mashed potato.

Sift the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda together. Gently mix into the cake batter in three additions, alternating with the porter.

Spoon into the prepared tin, leveling the surface with the back of the spoon, and bake for 1 hour – 1 hour, 10 minutes or until the cake feels springy and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

To make the icing, beat the cream cheese and butter together until smooth, then mix in the confectioners sugar. Spread over the cold cake, dusting with a little sweetened cocoa.

Enjoy!


Irish Onion Soup with Irish Cheddar Soda Bread Croutons

March 6, 2014

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I don’t know how the weather is in your neck of the woods, but around here there is really no sign of Spring. That groundhog varmint was right and we have been firmly in the grip of an arctic vortex with temperatures lower than they have any right to go here in the supposed southern state of Virginia. The latest go round of snow and frigid temps really had me craving a big bowl of French Onion soup. But since St. Patrick’s Day is nigh, I decided to Irish it up a bit. Just how do you do that you might ask. Well, how about adding in a splash or two of Irish Whiskey (you know my brand by now right – Jameson’s) and a glug or so of Irish Stout.

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This is where I’m going to get a little tricky on you though. I know a veritable river of Guinness has been flowing out of my kitchen lately. It is the Irish stout that is most widely known and I’m a fan. However, I went to college in Cork, Ireland and in that part of the country, Guinness is not King. Murphy’s Irish Stout– aka The Rebel Stout holds court there. You see Murphy’s Stout is similar to Guinness but a bit less heavy and with fewer bitter notes. It has been brewed in Cork since 1856. Why is it called “The Rebel Stout”? That has to do with its County Cork origins. Historically, Cork has been known as the Rebel County, a name it acquired due to the prominent role it played in the Irish War of Independence (1919-21) as well as the fact that it was an anti-treaty stronghold during the Irish Civil War (1922-23). Murphy’s Irish Stout is widely distributed outside of Ireland and you could likely easily find it at your local grocery, especially this close to St. Patrick’s Day. Next time you see it, grab some and give it a taste. You could even do a stout tasting with Guinness, Murphy’s and a few of your local brews. Sounds like fun huh? But I guess I should get back to this soup. Having spent all that time in Cork, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t give Murphy’s a shout out.

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I used it for this Irish Onion soup and I couldn’t have been more pleased! The malty notes from the Murphy’s Irish Stout gave this soup quite a rich and deep flavour. Yet, it still wasn’t quite Irish-y enough for me. So instead of topping my onion soup with the usual toasted french baguette slice, I baked up some mini Irish soda bread loaves which I split in half and used in lieu of the french standard.

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Topped with grated Kerrygold Cheddar Cheese, you have a crouton worthy of this hearty Irish Onion Soup. guaranteed to warm you on the most polar vortex-y of days.

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Irish Onion Soup

recipe adapted from: The Fox & She

Yield: 8 servings

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 medium yellow onions, sliced in rings
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup Irish Whiskey (Jameson!)
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • Pinch kosher salt, plus 2 teaspoons
  • 1 cup Stout Beer, Murphys or Guinness
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 12 cups beef stock
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Thick slices Irish Soda Bread (recipe to follow)
  • grated Irish Cheddar Cheese

Directions:

In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the butter, cook onions over medium to medium-low heat for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

Add whiskey, flour and pinch of salt. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.

Add Murphy’s (or Guinness) and simmer until reduced by 1/3, about 5 minutes.

Add broth, thyme, pepper and remaining salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove thyme sprigs.

Ladle into oven safe bowl and top with 1/2 of mini soda bread loaf and grated irish cheddar. Place under the broiler until cheese is bubbly and toast is browned. Be Careful! Some broiler are nuclear hot and will burn everything to a cinder if you turn your back for a second! (If you can’t do the broiler thing, just toast the soda bread, melt cheese over the top and then add to irish soup.)

Mini Irish Soda Breads

recipe adapted from: King Arthur Flour

yield: 6 mini loaves

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups (10 ounces) King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour (9 3/4 ounces) *
  • 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour
  • 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 1/3 cups (10 5/8 ounces) buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • flaked sea salt
  • melted salted butter to brush top of loaves

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda and salt. Using a mixer, a pastry fork or blender, or your fingers, cut in the butter until it is evenly distributed and no large chunks remain.

In a separate bowl (or in a measuring cup) whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and mix to combine. The dough will be stiff; if it’s too crumbly to squeeze together, add another tablespoon or two of buttermilk.

Knead the dough a couple of times to make sure it’s holding together. If you are making individual mini loaves, divide into 6 equal sized pieces. ( 5 ounces each).  Shape each it into a ball. Flatten the ball slightly, and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut a cross, extending all the way to the edges, atop each loaf.

Bake the bread in a preheated 400°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until it’s golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the bread from the oven, and brush the top with melted butter and sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Enjoy!

* If you don’t have time to order your King Arthur Irish-Style Wholemeal Flour and you aren’t in Ireland with immediate access to Irish Wholemeal Flour, you can substitute in 10 ounces of King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour

**Recipe will also make 1 large loaf of Irish Soda Bread if you would rather not be bothered with the mini loaves 🙂


Arán Spíosraí with Irish Whiskey Glaze

March 5, 2014

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Alright! Here we go on day five of my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-polooza with a recipe for Arán Spíosraí with an Irish Whiskey Glaze. Arán Spíosraí simply means Spice Bread and I think we all know what Irish Whiskey Glaze means. Isn’t that the look that your eyes take on after tasting a bit too much of your frosting recipe as you prepare it?  (Good old Jameson!) Well, in my defense, I had to make sure the recipe was good before I published it right? What kind of a cook would serve something up without tasting it? And some things require a bit more tasting than others…

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Anyhooo….This lovely quick bread can probably be thought of as more cake-like than bread-like. Quite sweet, it is chock full of chopped citron and raisins along with a veritable riot of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice ginger – hence the name. Very versatile, this bread is great for breakfast slathered in butter, equally welcome along with your afternoon tea or can be a simple yet tasty dessert topped with a bit of fresh whipped cream. And leftovers are not a problem. It holds up well in the pantry and I think the taste even improves a bit with age. Perfect to have a loaf on standby for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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Arán Spíosraí with Irish Whisky Glaze

recipe from: Bob Vivant

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup candied citron, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz. Lyles Golden Syrup ( can substitute 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup molasses or 2/3 cup light corn syrup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the Irish Whiskey Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment paper or grease it with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the raisins and candied citron. Make a well in the center.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Remove it from the heat and stir in the brown sugar and Lyle’s Golden syrup. Beat in the egg and milk until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Place batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool loaf on a rack for 20 minutes and then remove from the pan. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and whiskey. Allow the glaze to cool for 15 minutes. Spoon the glaze into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe glaze in pattern of your choice across top of bread.

Enjoy!


Guinness Braised Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili

March 4, 2014

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Please tell me I got your full attention at Guinness Braised Pulled Pork. I mean, if you’re anything like the husband and I, we were sold at those first few words. Truth be told, pulled pork all on its lonesome can stop us in our tracks. Must be that southern thing. But then this recipe goes on to add that magical word “chili”  at the end. What?!! Guinness, Pulled Pork & Chili all together in one recipe? Ohhhh yes! And let me tell you it is out of this world, over the moon deeee-licious!

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How could it not be? First of all, you take that big old hunk of pork butt, which actually is not from the hind end of the animal, but from the shoulder area (go figure), and you rub it all over with a wonderful spice mix, then you sear it and let it cook slowly in a sea of Guinness. Not only does the Guinness tenderize the pork, but the meat becomes deeply flavoured with that most famous of Irish stouts. Now you could stop right there and folks would be pleased as punch if you just served up that amazing pork as it is. But no, you then take that magical spicy, Guinness-y braising liquid and use it as the stock for your chili. Once the black beans and other ingredients are in the pot, you take that melt in your mouth pork, which you have shredded or pulled and stir it right back into the mix. Brilliant!

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Time for a bit of a disclaimer. I will say that this chili is quite spicy, which suited us perfectly. But you know how we are. If you tend to be a bit reserved in the spiciness area, you might want to add the chipotle peppers and adobe sauce slowly, tasting all the while, that way you can adjust it to your particular prefered level of heat. My husband LOVED this chili. And we were able to get several meals from this big pot. Besides just serving it up as chili, I wrapped it up in flour tortillas, added some cheese and made Guinness Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili Burritos, which were a hit to say the least! You simply must add this one to your catalog of chili recipes.

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Guinness Braised Pulled Pork & Black Bean Chili

recipe inspired by: The Beeroness

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3 lb. pork butt (pork shoulder)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 ounces Guinness (2 cans)
  • 2 cups beef stock

For the chili:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of petite diced tomatoes
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo, minced (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons adobo sauce from chipotle can (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

For Serving:

cheddar cheese, chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, jalapeño peppers, sour cream

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the spices.

Rub the pork butt on all sides with the spice mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Once hot, sear the pork on all sides until browned. Pour the beer and beef stock over the pork. Reduce heat to low. Cover pot with lid and allow pork to simmer away for about 4 hours.

Remove pork from pot and shred using two forks. Set aside.

Pour braising liquid into a gravy separator and let sit until pork fat has separated.

In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon oil in large Dutch oven. Add onions, red pepper and garlic and cook until soft. Sprinkle 1 tablespoons of chili powder over onion mixture and cook for 30 seconds or so. Add reserved braising liquid, sans fat, to the pan. It should be about 3 1/2 Cups worth of liquid. Add the black beans, diced tomatoes, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce. Stir the pulled pork into the mixture and mix until all ingredients are combined.

Let chili simmer for at least 1 hour before serving. I prefer to let it simmer for 1 – 2 hours and then refrigerate it overnight to allow all of the flavours to come together. However, it will be great served the same day!

Garnish with cheddar, cilantro, onion and sour cream. (or toppings of your choice)

Enjoy!


Traditional Irish Pancakes for Pancake Tuesday

March 3, 2014

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Hey…wait a second! Pancakes? Weren’t you expecting Pancakes yesterday with that Flapjack post? Well here they are today. But again, they are not the pancakes you may be used to in the States. These are Traditional Irish Pancakes and tomorrow, March 4th is Pancake Tuesday! Also know as Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday depending on where you might be standing at the time, this is the last day before Lent begins. So what does that have to do with a Pancake? Well, during Lent folks were supposed to abstain from eating any luxurious or decadent foods which included milk, butter and eggs. Making pancakes along with all of their traditional toppings was a good way to use up all of these forbidden ingredients before the period of fasting began. Traditional Irish Pancakes are thinner, more like a French crêpe, than those big, fluffy, cake-like buttermilk versions so often found in America. Traditionally, you will find these pancakes topped with lemon juice and a sprinkling of superfine sugar. However I’ve also heard of folks eating them with Lyle’s Golden syrup, jellies, jams, honey or Nutella, all of which seem more decadent to me than lemon juice and sugar.

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What did I get up to with mine? Well, I just happened to have a jar of Green Apron’s award-winning Chocolate Raspberry Preserves which I had squirreled away after my last visit to Ireland. The Green Apron is a small artisan preserve company located Derryclough, Ballingarry, County Limerick, Ireland, owned and operated by my friend Theresa Storey. All of the preserves they produce are shamefully delicious, but the Chocolate & Raspberry is my particular favourite. Last year, I made some Chocolate & Raspberry Buttermilk Doughnuts with them to kick off my St. Patrick’s Day countdown. I still drool a bit when I think back to them. If you are in Ireland and would like to get ahold of a jar, you can find the Green Apron in the Limerick Milk Market every Saturday. They also do some other markets and fairs from time to time, so check their Facebook page for updates. I’m afraid The Green Apron Preserves are not being sold in the States at this time, but if you visit Ireland, make sure to pay them a visit while there. So back to my pancakes. Those Chocolate & Raspberry Preserves seemed pretty decadent to me, so I broke out the jar that I had been hoarding away and schmeared  that jammy goodness all over a pancake or two. Yum!

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Guess you could say that I’m all set now for 40 days of deprivation…or not! (just wait until you see all the decadent creations I will be blogging about for the next 14 days…you’ll know there is no abstaining going on around here!) But I’m sure you all will be behaving quite virtuously, so I’m glad you’ll be able to have your last big hurrah for a while tomorrow with these indulgent Traditional Irish Pancakes.

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Traditional Irish Pancakes

recipe from: Irish American Mom

Yield: 12 – 15 pancakes

Ingredients:

for the batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 oz. ( 1/2 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 oz. (1/2 stick) butter, melted  (for frying)

toppings:

  • freshly squeezed lemon juice ( 2-3 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar (superfine sugar)
  • jams, Nutella, Lyle’s Golden syrup, honey

Directions:

Whisk flour and salt together in large bowl. Make a well in the center.

Mix eggs and milk together until fully incorporated.

Slowly pour milk mixture into well in dry ingredients bowl, whisking all the while. Continue mixing until you have a smooth batter.

Add melted butter and continue whisking until smooth.

Heat 8″ skillet over medium high heat. Brush pan with melted butter.

Pour approximately 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. Tilt from side to side until a thin layer of batter is achieved.

Cook until bubbles appear in batter and the top starts to look a bit dry – approximately 1 minute.

Flip pancake and continue to cook for an additional minutes.

Transfer cooked pancakes to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

When ready to assemble, pour 1 teaspoon lemon juice on each pancake and sprinkle with caster sugar. Or alternatively cover pancake with toppings of your choice. Roll each pancake up and devour!

Enjoy!


Baileys, White Chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio Flapjacks

March 2, 2014

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These Baileys, White Chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio Flapjacks are exactly what the doctor ordered today! But wait, I just realized that I might have confused a few of you out there in the blogosphere. You’re probably looking at the photo and thinking, “What Flapjack? That’s a granola bar. A flapjack in the States is a pancake.” Hmmm…perhaps. But in Ireland, that is a Flapjack. It is funny how sometimes even though everyone is speaking English, the words just don’t mean the same thing. For instance, in college once upon what seems like one million years ago, a bunch of us gals were sitting around talking about what fashion accessories we thought looked good on guys. I mentioned that I thought guys looked good in suspenders, which was met with much laughter. Drying her eyes, one friend went on to ask me “how do you get the fellas to wear them?” Somewhat puzzled I said “You just tell them they look good in them and they’ll wear them!” Met with gales of howling laughter. O.k. I thought, what gives? Well…it turns out “suspenders” in Irish-English are a garter belt used to hold up ladies stockings. They not the things that go over your shoulders to hold up your britches, which are in fact are not called suspenders in Ireland but are called “braces”, which I thought were just the things worn on snaggledy teeth to straighten them. Tricky huh?  Another memorable Irish-English faux pas on my part was when a male friend of mine said he was heading out in his car to drive downtown and I said, “Will you give me a ride?” Yeah…that string of words means something totally different from what I intended. (I’ll just let you figure that one out on your own…) Oh well, live and learn.

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So back to the subject at hand…these little delights are flapjacks. And the ones shown here a chock full of all sorts of yumminess like White Chocolate, Cranberries, Pistachios and – be still my heart – Baileys! But Flapjacks are very versatile, you can swap in or leave out whatever you like. Anyone for dark chocolate and coconut? If you are feeling particularly healthy one day, use honey instead of golden syrup and throw in a big helping of fruit, grain and nuts. (Guess you’d have to leave out the Baileys if you were going all healthy huh? shock, horror) It’s all up to you. And me? I like the combination I’ve come up with here, especially that sea salt sprinkled over the top to give it that sweet and salty taste sensation. Only complaint is they were gone in a flash. Luckily they are quick and easy to make, so I can just do another batch. And happily I did find a great use for all those crumbly bits that were left behind in the tin. I’ve been sprinkling them over my yogurt or Skyr (for those of you who read my recent Iceland post). Delicious! Nothing like a hint of Baileys first thing in the morning to get you going!

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Baileys, White Chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio Flapjacks

recipe adapted from: The Daily Spud

yield: 24 -26 flapjacks – depending on how you cut ’em

Ingredients:

  • 175 grams (12 1/2 tablespoons) unsalted butter
  • 50 grams dark muscovado sugar ( you can substitute in dark brown sugar)
  • 2 Tablespoons Lyle’s Golden Syrup ( you can substitute in light corn syrup or honey)
  • 2 Tablespoons Baileys
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 250 grams rolled oats
  • flaked sea salt

Directions:

Line a 9″ x 9″ baking tin with parchment paper.

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Place a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat and add the butter, sugar, golden syrup, Baileys and salt. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter and sugar have melted.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oats, pistachios, cranberries, and white chocolate. Make a well in the center and add the melted butter mixture. Mix until combined. Place oat mixture in baking tin and press it down with the back of a spoon or a spatula. Sprinkle flaked sea salt over pan.

Bake on middle rack in oven until golden brown, about 20 – 30 minutes. allow to cool completely in the pan before slicing.

Enjoy!


Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread & Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread

March 1, 2014

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Here it is March 1st already! That means today is the first day of my annual blog-stravaganza leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Yup…I will be publishing one Irish-y recipe every day until March 17th. This is the 3rd year that I have done this and if you are looking for some tasty Irish-y dishes for St. Patrick’s Day, I hope you will follow along here each day. But I should also mention that I have quite a back catalog of Irish-y recipes from the past years. Just click on Runcible Eats/Recipes at the top of the navigation bar and scroll down to St. Patrick’s Day to see them.  (or just click here and scroll down)

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This year we’re going to get underway with a great recipe for a quick beer bread using… you guessed it – Guinness! Now you know that a bread made with Guinness is going to be fantastic. Cooking anything with Guinness just seems to improve it whether it be a hearty beef stew or a rich chocolate cake. Guinness stout seems to give everything a real depth of flavour. And this Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread not only has yummy Guinness goodness in it, but it also has delicious apple butter added into the mix! I used some of my homemade Drunken Granny Apple Butter, but if you don’t have time to whip up a batch of your own, any store-bought apple butter will do in a pinch.  Being a quick bread, there are no rise times involved, so you’ll have two loaves out of the oven and ready for snacking before you know it. The bread is very moist and bursting with apple flavour. I like mine slathered in butter.

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The folks at A Spicy Perspective, the blog where I came across the original recipe, suggested that it paired well with a sharp cheddar spread. Apples and cheddar do taste great together, so I adapted a spicy cheddar spread from the folks at Cabot Creamery that I already had in my repertoire. Since this is for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to Irish it up a bit and used Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar Cheese and a bit more Guinness (of course). Folks loved the resulting Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread, both on the bread and on crackers as  well.

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This bread would work well with whatever St. Patrick’s Day feast you are preparing, but would also be very welcome at your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast table. Or as a mid-day snack to sop up some of those pints, I mean as a bit of pick-me-up. Make a couple of loaves today and don’t forget the Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread! (That’s one down and 16 more days to go!)

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Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread

recipe adapted from: A Spicy Perspective

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Drunken Granny Apple Butter, or your favourite Apple Butter
  • 12 oz. Guinness Stout beer
  • 1 Tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup (can substitute in 1 T Molasses)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 8 1/2 x 4″ loaf pans.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, apple butter, Guinness and golden syrup. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pans. Baked for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool bread in the loaf pans for 10 minutes before gently inverting on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread

recipe adapted from: Cabot Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups) *
  • 1/4 cup  Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Guinness Stout
  • Large pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)

Directions:

Place grated cheddar, sour cream, butter, Guinness, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in bowl of  food processor and pulse until smooth.

* You can substitute in another cheddar if you are not able to find Kerrygold. I will mention though that you should buy a block of cheddar and grate it yourself. Do not use bags of shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose or corn starch to keep it from sticking together and could cause your cheese spread to be less creamy than it could be if you grated the cheese at home.

Enjoy!


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