Varmahlíð Apple Cake

August 12, 2018

 

 

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Last September the Husband and I went on an amazing trip to Iceland. It was our 7th time visiting and we just can’t get enough of the place! Indeed since this trip we have visited again in February 2018 and are planning another visit this Fall! But let me not get ahead of myself. I’m just going to tell you about the September 2017 visit right now. Believe me, there be more to come. So last September, we were mostly focused on visiting the East Fjords, but we did spend some time revisiting the South Coast. Although we had been there several times, there were still plenty of things in the area that we hadn’t experienced. I first encountered this Varmahlíð Apple Cake

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at The Garage Apartments, which are an absolutely wonderful base of operations if you are visiting that area of the country.

P1010297 (1)These lovely modern rustic apartments are found in former old garage that is located on a family farm belonging to Anna & Siggi. This picturesque homestead is nestled right up to the foot of the mountain topped by the Eyjafjallajökull glacier, under which the famous air traffic interrupting volcano resides.

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Varmahlíð actually means “warm hill”. There is another Varmahlíð in North Iceland. With all the geothermal activity on the island it is easy to see why there would be more than one place known as Varmahlíð. But here I’m referring to an area on the South Coast near the Ejyafjallajökull volcano.

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Siggi’s family has been living on this land for over 200 years. Now Anna & Siggi are operating a “gentleman’s farm” on the site as well as managing several apartments for Iceland’s ever-expanding tourist market.

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Located exactly between the two famous waterfalls Skógafoss

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and Seljalandfoss,

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You can walk behind Seljalandfoss for an alternate view!

these exceptional apartments are the perfect central location for taking in all the South Coast of Iceland has to offer. We of course visited the waterfalls, not our first visit but they never seem to get old. We spent some time on the black sand beach near Vik

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and visited the plane wreck at Sólheimasandur.

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Next we travelled out to the breath-taking Westman Islands (Vestmannaeyjar).

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Once there we met the adorable Tóti, Vestmannaeyjar’s famous puffin

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and saw the whole town turn out to rescue baby pufflings at night (for more info on the pufflings and Westman islands (see Iceland links below). We went on an exciting rib safari tour around Heimaey.

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The Famous Elephant rock

Drank some local beer at the Brothers Brewery,

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visited the Eldheimar museum which documents the story of the surprise 1973 eruption of the volcano which caused the roughly 5,00 locals to flee on fishing boats in the middle of the night to the safety of the mainland. The eruption, which lasted for 5 months, buried 1/3 of the town in lava and destroyed over 400 houses and businesses. The resilient islanders did return and rebuilt the thriving community you will find today. Fascinating stuff! You really should consider visiting.

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One of the recently uncovered houses which had been buried by lava & ash during the eruption.

And if all the gorgeous scenery hasn’t convinced you, we had the best meal we have ever had in Iceland, which is saying something because the food there is fantastic. The restaurant is Slipurinn. Located in an old machinery shop this family owned eatery features seasonal local sourced dishes often including herbs and seaweed foraged right there on the island. Simply divine food in a friendly and casual environment. Don’t miss it!

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The Husband and I atop the newly formed volcano – Mt. Eldfell

Back on the mainland, we hiked the magnificent Fimmvörðuháls trail, a big accomplishment for us. This challenging 13 mile hike took us up over a mountain (approximately 3,600 feet elevation), past 22 waterfalls,

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past the still warm lava fields from the most recent eruption,

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between two glaciers,

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over the Kattarhryggur (cat’s spine)

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and down the other side through Goðaland (the land of the Gods),

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finishing in Thorsmork (Thor’s Forest).

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It was just jaw dropingly gorgeous and occasionally somewhat terrifying! – Narrow paths with steep drop-offs are not for the faint of heart!

And not only was the Garage Apartments location ideal for all our explorations, but Anna was also such an amazing host, so friendly, warm and welcoming. Her spacious apartments were stylishly decorated, sparklingly clean

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and filled with thoughtful little touches,

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Adorable mice on the bed side table!

and as if all of that was not enough, she served us scrumptious freshly home-baked desserts every day! This delicious Apple Cake was one of them.

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This particular Iceland trip was chock full of activities and I can not tell you how happy we were to come back to find home baked treats waiting for us. What a pleasant surprize! Moist and tender and not too sweet, it was just perfect with a nice hot mug of tea. Anna kindly shared the recipe with me, which I will now share with you.

 

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I must admit, I had to do a few conversions before baking this cake. I don’t have any measuring devices marked with deciliters – but I was able to figure it out pretty quickly. I baked the cake in an 8X8″ pan, but you could also use a 9X9″ – just make sure you adjust the baking time.

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And if you are planning a trip to Iceland anytime in the future and want to visit the South Coast, you’ll know exactly where you should book your accommodation. As a matter of fact, the Husband and I are taking our parents to Iceland this fall. It will be their first trip so we will be playing tour guides for them. And guess where we’ll be staying…That’s right! We are very much looking forward to our upcoming stay at the cozy Garage apartments. For further Iceland recommendations, see my guide at the bottom of this post. In the meantime, try this recipe and enjoy a slice of Varmahlíð Apple Cake while you plan your upcoming adventure.

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Varmahlíð Apple Cake

  • Servings: 9 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Anna, owner of the Garage Apartments

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams soft salted butter
  • 2.5 Deciliter Sugar (1 cup + 1 Tablespoon)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Deciliter Cream (100 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 -5 green apples – sliced

Directions:

Preheat oven to 355° F (180°C)

Place the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl and mix to combine. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

Add the cream and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Add the flour/baking powder mix to the batter. Mix until just combined.

Place the batter in a buttered deep 8X8″ baking pan and top with the apples. ( I sprinkled the top of my cake with cinnamon sugar, but this was not included in Anna’s recipe. If you love cinnamon like I do, just mix 1/4 cup sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon and sprinkle over the apples before baking.)

Bake for 45 -50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean at 355°F (180°C).

Enjoy!

Varmahlíð Apple Cake brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Varmahlíð Apple Cake:

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Links for Planning your vacation in Iceland:

I have tons of links, as well as some lovely photos, and delicious Icelandic recipes in previous blogs that I have written about our adventures in Iceland. For some inspiration take a look at:

December 2012 Visit to the South Coast & Reykjavik featuring White Chocolate Skyramisu

December 2013 Visit to the South Coast, Jökulsárlón & Reykjavik featuring Kanilsnúðar

July & December Visit to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula, The Westfjords & Reykjavik featuring Ástarpungar aka Love Balls 

Here is a fun video that show you some of the beauty Iceland has to offer, which will surely get you excited for any upcoming Iceland visit. And it will teach you a few words in Icelandic as well. It is known as “The Hardest Karaoke Song in the World”! Sing along to Inspired by Iceland’s “A – Ö of Iceland”.

If you enjoyed this video, take a look at Inspired By Iceland’s site. They have great little videos showing you gorgeous scenes from each area of Iceland, while teaching you a few more Icelandic words along the way.

Westman Island links:

To Buy tickets on the Herjólfur Ferry as well as read about all the things to see and do take a look at: Visit Westman Islands.

Hotel Vestmannaeyjar – Great accommodation on the Islands.

Stofan Bakhús – Great bakery! Got the best kanilsnúðars there that I have ever had in Iceland! We also got some great sandwiches to take on a hike. Everything there looks delicious. Go be tempted!

On puffins: If you travel to the Westman Island at the end of August/beginning of September there is a good chance you will see baby puffins (pufflings) being rescued by the local children. At this time of year, the pufflings leave their nests but get confused by the lights of the town and rather than flying out to sea, they end up flying into town. The children go out at night with flashlights to find them. They take them home in cardboard boxes for the night. The next morning they take them to the Saeheimar Aquarium to be measured and weighed and the children can have their pictures taken with their little charges as well. Once done, the kids take the little birds to the shore and release them back into the wild during daylight hours so that they won’t become confused. We were lucky enough to be there when this was happening and it was unforgettable!

*On a sad note: Tóti the Puffin passed away in July. He was a great ambassador for Vestmannaeyjar and brought joy to many. The Husband and I are so glad we were able to meet him. He will be sorely missed.

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Interested in hiking the Fimmvörðuháls Trail? See here:

If you are interested in hiking the Fimmvörðuháls Trail, you can go all on your own. However, we strongly recommend going with a guide.  Weather at  the top of the mountain is very unpredictable and many tourists have ended up having to call ICE-SAR to be rescued. Don’t let this happen to you! We absolutely love the tour company Midgard Adventure and have gone out with them on many exciting adventures. They not only provided us with a knowledgeable and engaging guide but when we descended down into Thorsmork after our epic 9 – 10 hour hike, the folks from Midgard had grilled some hot dogs and were waiting for us with a cooler of beer as well as other snacks. It was just perfection! Check out their other tours as well. They are an amazing company! And they now offer cozy accommodation as well. Take a look at their basecamp where you can find a restaurant, cafe and bar as well.

 

 

 

 

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Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

March 17, 2018

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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. Well, not an American style cupcake, but what is known as a Butterfly Cake or also sometimes as a Fairy Cake in Ireland. Butterfly Cakes consist of a light Victoria sponge style cake that has a circle carved out that top, the resulting hollow has been filled with jam, topped with whipped cream and then had the halved top circle reinserted so as to resemble butterfly or fairy wings. Then the whole shebang is dusted with confectioners sugar. Butterfly Cakes are staples at children’s birthday parties. What I’ve got for you today is the adult version. My whipped cream is heavily laced with Baileys. Yup…these Butterflies are a wee bit tipsy!

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And I did say that you might see that delicious homemade Strawberry Jam that I mentioned in my very first post this St. Patrick’s Day season – Theresa’s Prize-Winning Scones with Strawberry Jam & Clotted Cream. And it has indeed made an appearance again filling these adorable little butterfly gems. The recipe for that Strawberry Jam comes from my friend Theresa’s cookbook Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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Theresa runs, 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.

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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.

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Theresa definitely knows her way around a jam jar. Every single creation of hers that  I have tasted has been exquisite and her Strawberry Jam is no exception. Simply divine! So I knew that it would be the perfect filling for these Butterfly Cakes.

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It is strange that as popular as these lovely treats are in Ireland, they never really made it across the pond to the States. American cupcakes generally are piled high with very sweet buttercream frosting. Now don’t get me wrong. I love cupcakes, pretty much all of them. But I will say that my least favorite of all of the frostings is American Buttercream. It is often grainy and toothachingly sweet. As I’ve said in many previous posts, Swiss Meringue Buttercream is the way to go. If that is the frosting you’ve got, go ahead and pipe a mini mountain onto each cake! The Husband, who really doesn’t care much for chocolatey type sweets, but loves any fruit based dessert, thought these treats were the bees knees. Not too sweet and just bursting with jam and fresh cream. I’m sure the Baileys presence didn’t hurt either! A delight on St. Patrick’s Day but a great recipe to have in your arsenal for use the entire year through.

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

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Butterfly Cakes (aka Fairy Cakes) filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

  • 1 3/4 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 3/4 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (can substitute vanilla extract)

For the topping:

  • strawberry jam – I just made up a batch! See the recipe here. or use store bought if you are short on time
  • 1 cup (8 oz.) heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 2 Tablespoons confectioners sugar
  • 1 -2  Tablespoon Baileys (optional)
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Directions:

Line cupcake tin with liners. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C)

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt together. Set aside.

Whisk egg white and buttermilk together in small bowl. Set aside.

In bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment beat butter until pale and creamy. Slowly add the granulated sugar, scraping down the bowl as needed and continuing to beat until mixture is light and fluffy. Add vanilla paste and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture in 4 additions alternating with the buttermilk/egg mixture, beating only until just combined.

Using 1/4 cup scoop, divide batter evenly among cupcake wells. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted shows a few moist crumbs.

Cool cupcake tin on wire rack for 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes from pan to finishing cooling on rack.

When ready to decorate, cut out the center of each cupcake, angling the knife at a 45° angle. The piece you remove should look like a cone. Cut the cone top of the cupcake in half so as to resemble butterfly wings. Fill the hollowed out part of the cupcake with strawberry jam. Top the jam with a dollop of Baileys whipped cream, or you can pipe the cream on as I did. Place the “wings” upright at an angle in the cream.

Dust generously with confectioners sugar.

Enjoy!

Butterfly Cakes brought to you by Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

Links for helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Butterfly Cakes filled with Strawberry Jam & Topped with Baileys Whipped Cream:

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

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Oxo Good Grips Ice Cream Scoop

Oxo Good Grips Baker’s Dusting Wand


Irish Coffee Cupcakes

March 17, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Irish Coffee Cupcakes

Recipe from: Wife in Progress

Ingredients:

For the Cakes:

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

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

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

For the Whipped Cream Topping:

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

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

Directions:

For the Cakes:

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)

Line 2 cupcake tins with liners.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bake for 25 minutes

Cool completely on wire rack.

For the Whiskey Ganache:

Heat heavy cream until just shy of boiling.

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

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

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

For the Whipped Cream Frosting:

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

For Assembly: 

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

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

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

Dust with espresso powder and top with chocolate covered bean.

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

 

 


Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

March 15, 2017

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

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

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

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

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Chocolate Dipped Baileys Pistachio Shortbread Cookies

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

Recipe slightly adapted from: Recipes From a Pantry

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

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

For the chocolate/pistachio glaze:

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

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

Norpro Nut Chopper

Norpro Scalloped Cookie/biscuit cutters

Bob’s Red Mill White Rice Flour

 


Boozy Irish Brownie Bites

March 13, 2017

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Boozy Irish Brownie Bites?!! Now we’re talking! These rich, decadent little gems are chock full of Irish Whiskey and frosted with a white chocolate, Baileys and Whiskey Ganache! I’m telling you, there is no way you could go wrong here. And just a warning, these guys are indeed boozy. I took care to add those spirits after the ganache was removed from heat, so there is no “oh the alcohol cooked off” with these darling treats. It is all there. Another thing that is absolutely great about these little guys is their diminutive size. You can literally just grab one and pop the whole thing right into your mouth.

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You know, just a small bite, a wee taste if you will, just in case you don’t really want to commit to eating a whole big honking brownie.

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Now, I’m sure that sounds good in theory and I know there are folks out there that have that kind of “I’ll just take a taste” self-restraint. I’m not really one of them. I just end up eating a plate of these irresistible little devils over the span of the evening. But hey, no regrets. St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year. You should definitely enjoy it!

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Boozy Irish Brownie Bites

  • Servings: 32- 34 Brownie Bites or 16 Regular sized Brownies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: Vintage Kitty

Ingredients:

For the brownies:

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 9 Tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Irish Whiskey
  • 3/4 Cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour

For the Ganache:

  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salted butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 oz. white chocolate, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Baileys Irish Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey

Directions:

For the Brownies:

Preheat oven to 325° F and line a 8″ square pan with parchment paper.

Slice the vanilla bean and scrape the seed outs.

Place the seeds and the pod in a medium sized dutch oven.

Add the butter and sugar to the pan and melt over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Once sugar has melted, remove vanilla bean pod.

Sift cocoa into the butter mixture and stir to combine.

Remove pan from heat and let mixture cool a minute or two. Add whiskey and stir to combine.

Add the flour and stir just until it is incorporated.

Pour brownie batter into prepared pan and bake for 20 -25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out mostly clean.

Set brownies to cool on a metal rack.

For the Ganache:

While the brownies are cooling, combine sugar, butter, heavy cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently.

Let the mixture boil for 2-3 minutes.

Remove from heat and slowly add the white chocolate, stirring until it is completely melted and smooth.

Slowly add the Baileys and Irish Whiskey, stirring until combined.

Pour the ganache over the warm brownies and spread with a spatula.

Allow ganache to harden over an hour or so.

If you wish to serve regular brownies, go ahead and slice them and enjoy. If you wish to make smaller brownie bites as I did here, use whatever shaped small cookie cutter to cut the brownies. I used a 1 1/2″ circle cutter.

Enjoy!

Boozy Irish Brownie Bites brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

 


Batley Cake

March 11, 2017

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Here we go, here we go, here we go! I’ve got my fourth St. Patrick’s Day recipe for you today and from now until March 17th I’ll be posting a new one every single day. Today’s gem is Batley Cake.

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If you’ve never heard of it before, believe me you’ll be so glad I’m introducing you. Batley Cake consists of two layers of a soft shortbread cookie or a more cake-like scone with a layer of luscious jam sandwiched between them, all dusted with confectioners sugar. Absolutely perfect with a cup of tea, or coffee if that’s your thing.

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Now you can use whatever jam for the filling that you like, provided it is a thicker, firmer jam, otherwise you risk it leaking out during the baking, leaving you with a rather amazing mess. Me? I chose that lovely Irish Whiskey Marmalade that I told you about when I made those Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts. The recipe for the Whiskey Marmalade, those adorable little Whiskey Marmalade Tarts, as well as the refreshing Irish Whiskey Marmalade Cocktail  that I just blogged about last week, all came from my friend Theresa’s debut cookbook Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen.

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

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All of her preserves are made in small batches by traditional methods using locally sourced, organic produce where possible and without artificial preservatives, colours or setting agents. Her Irish Whiskey Marmalade is a three fruit marmalade consisting of grapefruit, oranges and lemons and a good glug of Irish Whiskey. It is one of The Green Apron’s best-selling jams and won a bronze Blas na h’Eireann in 2015. As you can see, jams are pretty versatile, delicious not only spread over bread and scones but also scrumptious when used in a variety of other dishes. And Theresa’s book is simply jam-packed full (har, har, har…-forgive me…) with her award winning preserves recipes. Just think of all the culinary masterpieces you can create… You simply must get a copy today!  So anyhoo, now that I’ve finished my shameless promotion of T’s book (for the moment that is…you might see another fantastic recipe of hers before St. Patrick’s Day arrives…) back to this Batley Cake.

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The cake was so soft and tender, sweet but not too sweet. And what really put it over the top was that gorgeous thick layer of Irish Whiskey Marmalade – bright and fresh like a lovely spring day, which I think we’d all like to see at this point! And with that hint of whiskey flavor…well it’s just the thing to get you movin’ on a chilly March morning!

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Batley Cake

  • Servings: One 8-inch cake
  • Difficulty: easy
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recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey

Ingredients:

  • 225 grams all-purpose flour
  • 110 grams butter
  • 110 grams sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon milk
  • 3 Tablespoons firm jam ( I used the Green Apron’s award winning  Irish Whiskey Marmalade)
  • 1 Tablespoon icing (confectioner’s) sugar

Instructions:

Grease a 20-cm. (8 inch) round cake tin and preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Put flour in a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar and baking powder.

Beat the egg, vanilla extract and milk together in a small bowl and then add to the dry ingredients. Blend together using a fork to form a soft dough.

Divide the dough into two and roll or pat out each piece into a 20 cm (8 inch) circle to fit the baking tin. Place one piece of the dough into the tin.

Using the back of a spoon, spread the jam over the dough in the tin to within a half inch of the edge. (If you spread it right up to the edge, the jam will escape out the sides, burn to the sides of the pan and make a mess.) Cover with the second round of dough.

Bake for around 50 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and leave to finish cooling on a wire rack.

Just before serving, sprinkle with icing sugar to make it pretty.

Enjoy!

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

Links for helpful kitchen tools & ingredients for Batley Cake:

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

Mason Cash The Forest Owl Mixing Bowl

Norpro Silicone Pastry Mat

Fat Daddio’s Anodized Aluminum Round Cake Pan – 8″

 


Irish Whiskey MarmaladeTarts

March 1, 2017

img_5762I can’t believe it! Here it is, March already. And St. Patrick’s Day is a mere 17 days away! That means it is time to start my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-thon. In the days leading up to March 17th I will be sharing a delicious assortment of Irish-y recipes. I’ve been doing this for several years now, so I’ve collected over 80 St. Patrick’s Days recipes at this point and that doesn’t take into account all the delicious dishes coming your way this year. If you’d like to take a peek at my past St. Patrick’s Day posts, you can click Runcible Eat/Recipes up at the top navigation bar and scroll down to the St. Patrick’s Day category. That’s where you’ll find them! And stay tuned here for my latest additions. I am very excited to kick off this year’s series of Irish recipes  with these fantastic Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts. Yup…what I’m talking about here is flaky, buttery shortcrust pastry which has been filled with a delicious homemade Irish Whiskey Marmalade laced batter. Sweet, bright  and citrus-y, it is like eating a burst of sunshine with every bite.

img_5781And I am so happy to tell you where you can find this recipe, as well as over one hundred other amazing seasonal fruit recipes. It can all be found in my good friend Theresa’s debut book: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal Recipes from the Green Apron Kitchen by Theresa Storey. Theresa and I met in college when she was finishing up her degree in botany. I can tell you first hand that she is an amazing cook, full stop. But fruit is by far her specialty.

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After college, Theresa moved back to rural County Limerick and started her own business, The Green Apron, which is an artisan preserve company. Theresa 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.

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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 12 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.

book-cover-fruitonthetableTheresa’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 several different recipes from her book this year, but I’m telling you, they’re only the tip of the iceberg. You’ve just gotta get ahold of this essential cookbook. And if you find yourself in Limerick, you simply must stop by the Limerick Milk Market and pay the Green Apron shop a visit!

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Now back to these yummy Irish Whiskey Marmalade tarts. My first task here was to make up a batch of the marmalade. This Irish Whiskey Marmalade is a three fruit marmalade consisting of grapefruit, oranges and lemons and a good glug of Irish Whiskey. It is one of The Green Apron’s best-selling jams and won a bronze Blas na h’Eireann in 2015.

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You will end up with much more of the marmalade than you require to make the tarts, but as you will see with some of my later posts, this marmalade is very versatile and you will be over the moon to have it around. Don’t forget to check back with me next week and see what else can be done with this scrumptious Irish Whiskey marmalade…besides eating it slathered over fresh-baked bread and scones. No brainer there…but believe me…there’s more!

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Now once you have that delectable boozy marmalade, the tarts come together in a flash and would be wonderful to have on hand on St. Patrick’s Day. Perfect with a cup of tea, these tarts are slightly sweet and wonderfully fragrant. Ordinary tea time will become extra special with these irrisistible Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts on the table!

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Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts

  • Servings: 12 Tarts, 5 pints of Marmalade
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recipe from: Fruit on the Table: Seasonal recipes from the Green Apron kitchen by Theresa Storey

For the Irish Whiskey Marmalade:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ruby grapefruit
  • 2 medium sweet oranges
  • 4 lemons
  • 3.4 l (6 pints) water
  • 2.7 kg (6 lbs) sugar
  • 60 ml (2 fl. oz.) good Irish Whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (Please note, mixed spice is different from all-spice. Mixed spice, sometimes also called pudding spice is a British spice similar to pumpkin pie spice, containing cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. I have a link for it below, or here is a recipe for it.)

Directions:

Place a saucer into the refrigerator to chill.

Wash the grapefruit, oranges and lemons. Remove any blemishes from the skin and cut them into quarters. Place in the food processor and process on high speed until the peel is reduced to 6-mm (1/4″) pieces. If you like a bigger peel in your marmalade, don’t process it for so long, and if you like very little peel, process it for longer.

Put the processed citrus in a preserving pot with the water, stir well and cook on a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the peel is cooked and smooshes to wee pieces between your fingers. This usually takes an hour.

Add the sugar, stir well and cook over a high heat, stirring occasionally, until the marmalade reaches setting point, with a marmalade this usually takes 20 -40 minutes.

Spoon a little of the boiling preserve onto the cold saucer. Let it cool and then push it with your finger. If it has reached setting point, the top of the blob of marmalade will wrinkle. Marmalades should have wrinkles at least 2 -3 mm hight.

Remove from heat. Skim off any seeds and sugar foam.

Add 60 ml (2 fl oz) of good Irish Whiskey and 1 teaspoon of ground mixed spice.

Pour into warm sterilized jars to within 6 mm (1/4″) of the top. Wipe any drips off the rims of the jars to make sure there is a good seal between the jar and lid. A dampened paper towel works well for this. Place the lids on and seal.

For the Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts:

*These tarts are baked in a bun tin rather than a muffin tin. Bun tins are similar to muffin tins but are much more shallow. If you don’t have bun tin, (there is an amazon prime link for one below – you could have it tomorrow :)) you could try filling a muffin tin half way, though I haven’t tried that and can’t speak to the results.

Ingredients:

For the shortcrust pastry:

  • 110 grams (4 oz.) butter (chopped)
  • 225 grams (8 oz.) plain flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold water

For the batter:

  • 75 grams (2 1/2 oz) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 60 grams (2 oz) butter (chopped)
  • 60 grams ( 2 oz.) sugar
  • 1 large egg – beaten
  • 1 Tablespoon Irish Whiskey Marmalade

Directions:

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and then mix in the salt. Add the cold water, one tablespoon at a time, mixing after each addition until the pastry holds together. You may not need to use it all. Knead it a few times until it is smooth and then cover it and put it in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/Gas 6).

Roll out the pastry on a floured surface until it is about 3 mm ( 1/8″) thick. Cut out circles slightly bigger that the size of the bun hole and put them into the tin.

Mix the flour, baking powder, butter, sugar and egg together until smooth. I do this in my food processor.

Fold in the Irish Whiskey Marmalade.

Put 1 teaspoon of the batter into each pastry case.

Bake the tarts for 18 – 20 minutes until golden brown.

Remove the bun tin from the oven. Let the tarts cool in the tin for a few minutes and then carefully take them out and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy!

Irish Whiskey Marmalade Tarts bought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)

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

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

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Cuisinart Pro-Classic Food Processor

Kilner Stainless Steel Jam Pan

Ball Mason 4 oz quilted jelly jars

Canning Magnetic Lid Wand

Norpro 600 Jar Lifter

Ball Canning Funnel

Nonstick Twelve Hole Shallow Bun Tin

Mixed Spice


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