Fudgy Nutella Brownies

February 5, 2023

Fudgy Nutella Brownies! I mean what more do I have to say? What ya got here is a rich, delightfully chewy chocolate brownie made even more decadent by the addition of smooth, creamy Nutella, not only to the batter but also generously drizzled in luscious swirls over the top! And then, just a sprinkle of flaky sea salt over the top puts you in a state of salty sweet bliss!!!

So I gotta ask….are there any Nutella fans out there? Cause let me tell you I love me some Nutella! I actually didn’t even know it existed until I was living in Ireland and my friend Theresa had a jar. I watched with amazement as she spread it over her toast. I was like “What! You can eat chocolate on toast!” I had no idea it was a thing. Yup, love at first bite.

It is not by chance that I’m blogging a recipe which features Nutella today. Today February 5th is World Nutella Day. This celebration of all things Nutella was started in 2007 by Sara at Ms. Adventures in Italy and Michelle at Bleeding Espresso as a day to celebrate, get creative with and most importantly, to EAT Nutella.

A couple of years ago, the founders have transferred Nutella Day to Ferrero the company who owns that most beloved spread. Take a peek at their Facebook page and see how folks are celebrating the day! I love Nutella so I usually try to participate with a Nutella laden recipe every year. One of my favorite Nutella creations was this Nutella, Double Chocolate & Banana Tart which was quite stunning if I do say so myself.

just looks at these delicious Homemade Banana Toaster Tarts drizzled with Nutella

And how do you like this big ole Malted Nutella & Biscoff Brownie Torte 

Then there was this gorgeous Nutella Star Bread:

And some amazing Nutella Chocolate Chip Babka:

And I don’t want to forget these irresistible Salted Peanut Butter & Nutella Sandwich Cookies – sweet salty bliss I tell you!

But let me get back to today’s amazing Nutella laden treat that delivers quite a chewy chocolate punch – these fantastic Fudgy Nutella Brownies.

I gotta tell ya’ll these are really easy to make, with ingredients you likely already have in your pantry. They come together quickly, so you can whip them up in a flash to your friends and family’s amazement! Are you looking for a snack to bring to that Super Bowl party? Look no further. This is it! But you don’t need a planned event to bake up a batch, just delight in this little indulgence all by yourself. I won’t tell anyone….

Fudgy Nutella Brownies

  • Servings: 8x8 inch pan - 9 to 12 brownies, depending how you slice 'em
  • Difficulty: easy-peasy
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recipe from: Yossy Arefi via New York Times Cooking

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup/113 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the baking dish
  • 4 ounces/113 grams bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup/296 grams chocolate-hazelnut spread, like Nutella
  • ⅔ cup/134 grams granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • ¾ cup/96 grams all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • flaky sea salt for sprinkling over top (optional)

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Combine the chopped chocolate and butter in a heat-safe bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir the mixture occasionally until melted. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine ¾ cup/222 grams chocolate-hazelnut spread, sugar and eggs. Mix on medium-high for 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. Add espresso powder and vanilla and mix briefly to combine.

Turn the mixer to low and stream in the chocolate-butter mixture. Mix until well combined, then fold in the flour and salt.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, spread evenly with a knife or offset spatula and spoon several dollops of the remaining ¼ cup/74 grams chocolate-hazelnut spread evenly over the top. Use a toothpick or skewer to swirl the spread and brownie batter a few times, leaving big streaks of the spread on the surface. Sprinkle flaky sea salt over the top if you are using.

Bake the brownies for 25 to 30 minutes, or until just set in the middle. A toothpick inserted into the center should pull out some moist crumbs.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Fudgy Nutella Brownies:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

King Arthur Flour Espresso Powder


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!
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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


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
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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
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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


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
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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!


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
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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!


Passion Fruit & Fresh Berry Pavlova

February 13, 2022

Betcha ya’ll are already set as far as your Valentine Day desserts huh? Well just in case you’re still mulling it over, look what I surprised my Valentine with: Passion Fruit & Fresh Berry Pavlova: A meringue cookie topped with a dollop of whipped cream, a slick of tropical passion fruit curd (of course passionfruit! what other curd would be perfect for Valentine’s) and a handful of lovely fresh berries!

This dessert is a dream for anyone who loves food with texture. You’ve got the crispy crunch of the outer meringue, the pillowy chew of the marshmallow-like middle, the silky layer of fluffy whipped cream and passionfruit curd followed by the sweet tart addition of fresh berries. So elegant and absolutely delicious, these easily made treats are perfect for your Valentine’s day festivities.

The Husband, who conveniently also happens to be my Valentine, generally doesn’t like any chocolatey super sweet sugar bombs that seem to be all the rage for this holiday.  Which is totally unlike me. That is exactly what I would want. Truth be told…in a the shape of a cupcake if all were going my way. Just saying…He, on the other hand, prefers fruit forward desserts such as this lovely Cashew Crusted Blackberry & Lime Tart:

Or these Luscious Lemon Squares,

And then there was that Poached Pear Tart with Lemony Cream.

One year, I was even clever enough to combine what he loves, a good Gin & Tonic, and what I love, cupcakes by making  Pink Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Cupcakes:

And last year, I was pretty sly with these Mimosa Butter Sweetheart Cookies. I really like cookies and was able to not only add some of his favorite jam into the mix with these, but was also able to get some champagne on deck. Always up for a glass of bubbles!

And just recently I did share a recipe for Cranberry Chiffon Pie which would be perfect for Valentine’s Day given its’ flirty pink hue.

But let me get back to the dessert of the day: Passion Fruit & Fresh Berry Pavlova. This dessert is not as popular in the States as it is in Europe, much to my dismay. It seems that it hails from either Australia or New Zealand. No one is sure which country can claim it and has been a source of controversy between the two. It was named in the honor of the Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova who toured the countries in the 1920s.

Pavlovas can be made in a 8 – 9″ cake size or as smaller individual serving sizes as I made here. I prefer the smaller sizes as you can keep the meringues in an airtight container and only pull them out to assemble right before you are ready to serve. They can not sit out for long though, so don’t assemble them until folks are ready to dig in.

The good news is that you can make the meringues the night before you need them and keep them under wraps until your fruit is sliced, the whipped cream is whipped and you are ready to assemble. One caveat – meringues do take a while to bake. With these you cook them at a low temperature for 3 hours and then turn the oven off and let the meringues just sit in there overnight. Then it is straight into an airtight container. But hey, Valentine’s Day isn’t until tomorrow. I bet you’ve got all the ingredients you need to whip these up today. Well, maybe not the passionfruit curd. But you could customize them to your own taste with a slick of your favorite curd or jam or leave that out altogether. They will still be scrumptious with just the luscious whipped cream and fruit. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Passion Fruit & Fresh Berry Pavlova

  • Servings: 8 individual pavlovas
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Pastry Love: A Baker’s Journal of Favorite Recipes by Joanne Chang

Ingredients:

  • 6 large egg whites (about 3/4 cup, 180 grams) at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups (250 grams) superfine sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, sifted after measuring
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 grams) heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar
  • Passion Fruit Curd, for topping
  • 2 pints (500 grams) fresh berries, the original recipe used raspberries. I used blackberries, strawberries & blueberries

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 175° F and place a rack ib the center of the oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside

In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed for about 1 minute. The whites will start to froth and turn into bubbles and eventually the yellowy viscous part will disappear. Keep whipping until you can see the wires of the whisk leaving a slight trail in the whites, 2 -3 minutes.

With the mixer still on medium, slowly add the superfine sugar in six to eight increments, whipping for about 20 seconds after each addition. ( It should take about 3 minutes to add all the sugar. When all the sugar has been incorporated into the egg whites, increase the speed to medium-high and beat for about 1 minute longer. The meringue should be fluffy and look a bit like shaving cream. Remove the bowl from the mixer and using a rubber spatula, fold in the cornstarch, salt and vanilla. The meringue batter will be gloppy and sticky-looking.

Using a 1/2 cup ice cream scoop or 1/2 cup dry measuring cup, scoop 8 mounds of meringue onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Use a large spoon to press a well into the center of each meringue mound, moving the spoon around in a circular motion to make a shallow depression in the meringue.

Bake for 3 hours, rotating the baking sheet a few times. Turn off the oven and let the meringues sit in the oven overnight.

The next day, remove the meringues from the oven and carefully peel them off the parchment. (At this point the meringues can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.)

When you are ready to serve, whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl with a whisk until it is soft and billowing. Do not over-whip or the cream will get grainy. It should look similar to the meringue when it was fully whipped.

Place each meringue on an individual serving plate or all together on a large serving platter. Spoon about 2 Tablespoons of the whipped cream into the center of each meringue. Make a depression in the cream, then spoon about 2 heaping Tablespoons of the passion fruit curd on the top of the cream. Crush some of the fresh berries and keep some whole and scatter evenly on top of the curd.

Passion fruit pavlovas should be served within 1 hour or so of assembling. (Once filled, the meringues get really soft after a few hours.)

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Passion Fruit & Fresh Berry Pavlova:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Pastry Love by Joanne Chang – LOVE this cookbook! Everything I have baked from it has been sensational! For this pavlova recipe, she actually gives you the recipe for homemade passion fruit curd. I sadly could not source any passionfruit, so turned to amazon to get a jar of it.

Tiptree Passion Fruit Curd


Cranberry Chiffon Pie

February 1, 2022

My oh my…will you lookie here now at this show stopping Cranberry Chiffon Pie! How fancy! But this pie isn’t just all looks. No indeed, it delivers on taste as well.

The crunchy graham cracker crust is filled with a lighter than air combination of tart and silky cranberry curd and luscious sweet Swiss Meringue. It is topped with gorgeous little sugared cranberries. Just Stunning!

Today is February 1st. This particular day lies half way between Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is St. Brigid’s Day. Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints along with St. Colmcille and St. Patrick. Beginning in 2023, Ireland will be marking her Feast Day with a new permanent Bank Holiday on the closest Monday to February 1st. Hooray! Who doesn’t like more holidays?!! According to Irish hagiography, Brigid was an early Christian nun & abbess who preformed many miracles. She also shares the name with an important Celtic goddess who is associated with the festival of Imbolc which was celebrated at this time as well, which suggests that the early church might have adopted the legends of the goddess and transformed them into the Christian persona. Interesting huh? I don’t know how many of you folks out there remembered to put a scarf out last night. You see on St. Brigid’s Eve you should always place a scarf or other piece of fabric outside.

When Brigid passes over the land that night she will bless it. You then can fetch it back inside the next day and thanks to Brigid, it has the power to protect and heal headaches, sore throats and fevers throughout the coming year! What with all the Covid still rampaging around, I wasn’t going to take any chances. My little scarf was frozen solid this morning, but is happily thawing away now, freshly imbued with healing powers. As I mentioned, today marks the festival of Imbolc as well as Candlemas, both of which are associated with fertility, fire, purification and weather divination. And speaking of weather divination, tomorrow my favourite varmint, Punxsutawney Phil, will be stepping out of his burrow at Gobbler’s Knob and letting everyone know if there will be 6 more weeks of winter or if instead Spring is on the way.

One extraordinary rodent!

I don’t know if good ole Phil will see his shadow tomorrow or not. If he predicts more winter, I am, of course, fine with that. But even if he says Spring is coming, I feel like I’ve at least gotten a taste of winter. So this is quite an auspicious time of year! I’m very happy to be marking another event today as well. February 1st just happens to be the 11th year anniversary of  the my cooking blog! Yup… Eleven years ago today I posted my first recipe. It was for Cream Tea Scones with Currants.

I’ve managed to do an anniversary post nearly every year since. Pretty impressive considering how slack I can be! Last year I shared the rich & creamy Ground Beef Chili with Chocolate & Peanut Butter. Get. out!

And the year before, I posted about these scrumptious Morning Buns!

One of my favorite recipes that I shared with you on an anniversary was: Model Bakery’s English Muffins:

Then there were those decadent  Banana Rum Muffins:

That jaw-dropping, over the top Crack Pie:

And who can forget that magical “caviar of the South” – Pasture’s Pimento Cheese. Keep this one in mind for the Super Bowl!

But let me get back to telling you about this Cranberry Chiffon Pie. I originally made this for Thanksgiving and it was indeed a hit. Of course it would also go great with a Christmas feast. But you know, I was thinking with it’s flirty pink hue it might also be great for Valentines Day, which is right around the corner.

That being said, I will warn you that this pie is a bit of a time commitment. I would recommend planning ahead and making it in stages. The crust one day. The curd the next and then maybe do final assembly on the third day. And you might want to make sure your dishwasher has been unloaded before you start. Man did I dirty of few dishes to make this little devil! But hey, this pie is so unique and delicious it was worth it! I would totally do it again.

Make sure you allow at least four hours for that filling to set up. It would be better if you could let it sit in the fridge overnight. You want to make sure it can hold that dainty light and airy texture. And don’t forget to add a lovely dollop of whipped cream.

Believe me, folks will be thrilled with its sweet & tart flavor and light silky creamy texture. Bet you won’t just be making it once!

Cranberry Chiffon Pie

  • Servings: one 9
  • Difficulty: moderate - it is challenging to strain the cranberries & there are a lot of steps
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recipe from: King Arthur Baking Company

Ingredients:

For the crust:

  • 1 3/4 cups (149g) graham cracker crumbs*
  • 1/4 cup (28g) confectioners’ sugar or glazing sugar
  • 6 tablespoons (85g) butter, melted

*About 11 whole graham crackers will yield this amount of crumbs.

For the curd:

  • 12 ounces (340 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries, a scant 3 1/2 cups
  • 1 cup (198 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) orange juice, cranberry juice, or water
  • zest (grated rind) of 1 orange, optional
  • 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks, whites reserved for the meringue
  • 2 tablespoons (28 grams) water, hot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (A typical packet of powdered gelatin is a generous 2 teaspoons, so you’ll need less than a packet. Be sure to measure out 1 ½ teaspoons carefully; too much gelatin and the pie’s filling will be “bouncy.”)

For the Meringue:

  • 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg whites, reserved from above
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup (113 grams to 227 grams) heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons (7 grams to 14 grams) confectioners’ sugar, optional

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F

To make the crust: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the crumbs, sugar, and butter.

Press the mixture into the bottom and partway up the sides of a 9″ springform pan, 9″ cheesecake pan, or 9″ deep-dish pie pan.

If you’re using a 9″ by 1 1/2″ pan, you’ll have 1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra crumb mixture. This can become a garnish for the pie, if you like.

To prebake the crust: Place it in a preheated 375°F oven for 15 minutes, just until set and you smell the cookies toasting. Remove the crust from the oven, cool on a rack.

To make the curd: In a medium saucepan, combine the cranberries, sugar, juice or water, and zest. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring the berries to a simmer. Cook until all the berries have burst and softened, about 10 minutes total.

Remove the pan from the heat and pass the cooked cranberries through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl or measuring cup. Be sure to press the solids to extract as much of the smooth sauce as possible; you should be left with about 1 1/2 cups (400 grams to 425 grams) of sauce. (Pushing those cranberries through the strainer actually be much easier if you give the cooked cranberries a few pulses with an immersion blender before trying to strain them.)

Stir the butter into the warm sauce until it’s melted completely.

Clean and dry the saucepan, then add the eggs and egg yolks to it. Slowly pour the cranberry sauce back into the saucepan with the eggs, whisking to incorporate.

Return the pan to medium-low heat and cook the curd, stirring constantly, until it’s thick enough that the lines made by your spoon or spatula as you stir take a second or two to disappear.

Remove the curd from the heat and pour it into a heat-safe bowl or measuring cup. If you see any small bits of cooked egg, pass the curd through a fine-mesh strainer to remove them.

 In a small bowl, combine the hot water and gelatin. Add a spoonful or two of the hot curd to the gelatin, stirring to incorporate, then stir the gelatin mixture back into the curd, mixing thoroughly. Set aside while you prepare the meringue.

To make the meringue: In a large heatproof bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together (briefly) the sugar, egg whites, and salt.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (you should just barely see some lazy bubbles coming up) and whisk gently and continuously until the mixture reads 160°F to 165°F on a digital thermometer.

Remove the bowl from the heat and beat the meringue with a whisk or your stand mixer’s whisk attachment until stiff.

Fold about a quarter of the meringue into the curd to lighten it, then fold the curd back into the meringue, mixing gently until no white streaks remain.

Pour the filling into the cooled crust and refrigerate the pie (covered with a cake cover or large overturned bowl) until set, at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the topping: Whip the cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form.

Spread the whipped cream on top of the pie or serve it in a bowl alongside. Garnish with sugared cranberries, if desired (recipe below).

Storage instructions: Store the pie, covered with a cake cover or large overturned bowl, in the refrigerator for up to five days.

To make sugared cranberries: Combine 3/4 cup (149 grams) granulated sugar with 1/2 cup (113 grams) water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, cooking until the sugar dissolves. Add 1/2 cup (50 grams) fresh or frozen cranberries stir around quickly. Remove from the heat and, with a slotted spoon, take the cranberries out of the syrup and roll them in superfine (Baker’s Special) or granulated sugar until coated. Place on a rack to dry before using to garnish your pie.

Enjoy!

Useful links for Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Cranberry Chiffon Pie:

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Set of 3, Fine Mesh Strainers

Vitamix Immersion Blender

Lavatools Javelin Pro Instant Read Thermometer


Ecclefechan Butter Tart

January 21, 2022

So woweee! Look-y here! If it isn’t an Ecclefechan Butter Tart! This rich, scrumptious delight is reminiscent of a pecan pie, but has so much more than just nuts. It is bursting with warm cinnamon spiced fruit which is enrobed in a rich buttery whisky caramel. Yup. You heard me. Whisky caramel!

But what is up with the name you might ask. This tasty treat hails from the Scottish border town of Ecclefechan (Scottish Gaelic: Eaglais Fheichein – pronounced Ekel – feck – an) in Dumfries and Galloway. I must admit I love the name. It sounds a bit like the butter tart has somehow annoyed me and I’m cursing and blinding at it!

And today is perfect timing for a Scottish recipe. That’s right- January 25th, which is coming soon, is the birthday of Robert Burns. Robert Burns was born in 1759 and is regarded as the National Poet of Scotland. On January 25th folks throughout the world, though especially in Scotland, will be remembering him with a Burns Night Supper. Indeed, this Ecclefechan Butter Tart would be a very welcome addition to any Burns Night Supper. I’ve actually posted quite a few tasty Burns Night dishes in the past. Last year there was this gorgeous Cock-a-leekie Pie:

And remember my  Steak Auld Reekie served over Crispy Tatties & Neeps:

Or how about these Scottish Pies with Mushy Peas? This post is really fun because it is one of my travel postings telling you all about a fun trip (remember when we used to be able to travel…) we took to Glasgow a few years ago.

And if you are intrigued by Scottish travel – just take a look at these Scottish Oat Cakes which are featured in my post about our journey to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands for their annual Up Helly Aa celebration, which is a Viking Fire Festival. How exciting it that?!! (Sadly, yet understandably, Up Helly Aa 2021 and 2022 have been cancelled. Yup…thanks once again Covid.)

But back to more Burns Night recipes, how about some infamous Scotch Eggs:

Perhaps you would like your Scotch eggs deviled?

Or maybe nestled within a meat pie?

If pie is not your thing (and I have no idea what you’re like if it isn’t…), how about this Cock-a-leekie Soup:

which I served with delicious, crusty Struan. Struan, also known as Celtic Harvest Bread, is thought to have taken its name from a town in Western Scotland called Struanmoor, on the Isle of Skye. It was originally enjoyed once a year as a harvest bread, using whatever grains were available from the previous day’s harvest. This is my absolute favourite bread, so it is almost always available in my house. It toasts up particularly brilliantly.

And for dessert, could I possibly tempt you with Chranachan. (My Chranachan recipe has a more Irish bent, but that is easy to change. Just use a good Scottish Malt Whiskey rather than the Jamesons and skip the Bailey’s drizzle. This dessert is typically served in a tall glass, though I served it in little chocolate cordial glasses topped with raspberries once, which was quite fun.)

Or maybe you’d enjoy this Dundee Cake with Hot Whiskey Marmalade

I think you get the picture. My blog is chock full of inspirational tasty Scottish dishes! A Burns Night cornucopia if you will. And let me add another delicious tidbit with today’s offering: Good ole Ecclefechan Butter Tart! (See…sounds like you might be a bit miffed at the Butter Tart huh?)

Well there is absolutely no reason to be angry! No, instead you will be exceedingly pleased with this silky gorgeous buttery tart! And no doubt Robbie Burns would’ve been pleased as well. After all, he was familiar with the town and likely it’s tarts as well (Ha! I just had to get a tart joke in there…We all know Robbie Burns was quite the ladies’ man). He did pen The Lass O’ Ecclefechan, a polite adaptation of the traditional bawdy song “O Gat Ye Me Wi’ Naething“. I wouldn’t be surprised if that Ecclefechan Lass he was talking about could bake up a tasty version of this Tart!

Easy to make, you can serve it slightly warm or at room temperature. It is absolutely fantastic all on its own, but is over the top with a big dollop of Whisky Whipped Cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

So on January 25th I hope you will make some of these fine Scottish dishes that I shared with you today and join me in raising a wee dram and toast to Robert Burns, Scotlands favorite son.

  • Servings: 11 inch tart
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: The Sugar Boat via The Scotsman Food & Drink

Ingredients:

For the Sweet Pastry:

  • 250 gram All-purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 50 gram Icing or Confectioner’s Sugar
  • 15 gram Cornstarch
  • 125 gram Unsalted Butter, Cold
  • 1 Whole Egg

For the Tart Filling:

  • 200 grams Dried Currents
  • 100 grams Raisins
  • 100 grams Golden Raisins
  • 50 grams Mixed Peel
  • 100 grams Chopped Walnuts
  • 15 grams Mixed Spice (a good substitute for folks in the States is Pumpkin Pie Spice)
  • 35 grams Breadcrumbs
  • 200 grams Butter
  • 200 grams Dark Brown Sugar
  • 60 grams Golden Syrup
  • 50 grams Whisky (The type with no “e” in it. Whiskey is Irish, like Jameson for instance. Whisky is Scotch.)
  • 4 whole Eggs

Directions:

For the Pastry:

Preheat the oven to 170°C or 325°F.

Place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.

Scatter butter cubes over flour mixture and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse sand.

Add the egg to the mixture and pulse until a dough begins to form. Turn out onto your clean workspace and knead the dough just enough to form a ball. Take care not to overwork the dough. Flatten the ball into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours.

Once the pastry has rested, remove from the fridge and roll out to a 12″ diameter circle. Place the dough into an 11″ tart pan, pressing down into the corners to make sure there are no cracks. The dough should crest 1/2″ above the rim of the pan. Cover tart pan with aluminum foil and place back in the fridge to chill, about 1/2 hour.

Remove the tart pan from the fridge, pull back the aluminum foil and pierce the dough everywhere with a fork. Replace the foil and add pie weights or chain. Place in preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes.

Remove the weights and foil and place back in the oven to bake for another 7 – 10 minutes, or until the crust is a warm golden brown. Remove from the oven to a cooling rack. While pastry is still warm, brush it with a beaten egg yolk to seal any small cracks.

For the Filling:

Place the Currents, Raisins, Golden Raisins, Mixed Peel, Mixed Spice, Walnuts and Breadcrumbs in a large bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.

Place butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a sauce pan over medium low heat. Stir until butter and sugar are melted. Whisk to ensure the sugar has melted and the butter is emulsified. Add whisky. It will bubble up when you do this, just keep whisking.

Pour the caramel over the fruit mixture and stir well. Add the eggs one at a time and stir well after each addition.

Once all the eggs are mixed in add the Filling to the tart pan and bake at 170°C or 325°F for 25 minutes.

Once cooked the tart should have a very very slight wobble. Allow to cool fully before trimming and portioning the tart.

Ideally overnight. Dust with confectioners sugar if you desire. Serve it room temperature or slightly warm with whisky whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Ecclefechan Butter Tart:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Nickel Plated Brass Pie Weight Chain

English Mixed Spice


Salted Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

January 11, 2022

Ok, so while we’re talking cookies…like you know, those cookie recipes that I wanted to share before the Christmas holiday, ‘cept didn’t….Today I have a truly tasty treat to share with you. And I guess the good news is that although I often bake them for Christmas, just like my Vermont Maple Shortbread, these darlings are delicious year round. So, drum roll please… may I present: Salted Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies! Packed full of three different types of chocolate chips and topped with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt, these chocolate chip cookies are crisp and chewy, sweet and salty perfection!

Now I know some of you are rolling your eyes around in your head and thinking ‘Good Lord Woman, we know how to make a chocolate chip cookie!” I’d wager you are correct. But hear me out – You don’t know how to make these chocolate chip cookies and let me tell you, they are da bomb!

Well, I guess you might know how to make them, that being said. This recipe is from the New York Times originally. I really just decided to add a blend of chocolate chips to the mix rather than the solely 60% dark chocolate that they indicated. I also decided to change the size. The Times had recommended making really large cookies, batter scooped out in the size of large golf balls! That makes for one big cookie. Not a skillet cookie mind you, but still…I use a medium cookie scoop for these little gems.

These cookies are pretty easy to make but do require a bit of planning both time wise and ingredient wise. You do have to keep in mind that there is an overnight (24 hour) chill involved and instead of good ole all purpose flour you use a combination of cake and bread flours. But believe me, the effort is so worth it. And another fun thing you can do with this recipe is keep that 24 hour rested dough in the fridge for up to 72 hours. This will let you scoop out dough for batches of fresh baked cookies over several days. Hold on. I said, Fresh baked cookies. Every day. I bet everyone will want to weekend at your place once the news of your hospitality gets out!

Salted Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: 48 cookies
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe adapted from: New York Times

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour 
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour 
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt 
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter 
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar 
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar 
  • 2 large eggs , room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean paste)
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate chips
  • 5 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 5 oz. white chocolate chips
  • Flaky Sea salt for sprinkling over top

Directions:

Sift the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together until very light. This will take about 5 -6 minutes and please do not cut this time short. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.

Add the flour mixture to the bowl. Mix on low speed until just combined. Seriously, as soon as the four is just combined turn the mixer off. This should only take 5 – 8 seconds. Mix the blend of three chocolate chips into the dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a medium sized cookie scoop, scoop out dough balls and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. (For instructions for larger cookies, see below) You do not need to leave any space between them. Sprinkle the dough balls with flaky sea salt. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 24 -36 hours. (If you would rather not scoop out the dough balls ahead of time, you can just press plastic wrap onto the dough and pop the whole bowl into the fridge. Then when you are ready to bake you can portion the dough. I prefer to scoop while the dough is at room temperature. Once it is refrigerated it is definitely a bit more of a challenge to scoop.)

Once ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Transfer the chilled cookie dough to the baking sheet, leaving about 1″ between cookies. Bake until golden brown, about 8 – 11 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

***I will sometimes make up a batch of the dough and once it has chilled in the refrigerator for 24 hours, I remove the dough balls and place them in gallon freezer bags. The dough keeps well for 1 – 2 months. When ready to bake, remove the desired amount of dough balls and bake as usual. You may need to add 1 minute or two to the baking time if baking from frozen.

***If you would like to make big cookies, scoop our 3.5 oz of dough, the size of a large golf ball. When ready to bake, make sure you give them plenty of room to spread out on the baking sheet, probably only getting 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes.

Enjoy!

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Salted Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

OXO Good Grips Medium Cookie Scoop

Chiptastic Chocolate Chip Blend – King Arthur Baking has a ready made blend of chocolate chips which includes milk, semisweet and white. I make my own blend which is white, semisweet and dark chocolate. Love dark chocolate around here. But I thought you might want to know about this time saver.


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