March 2021


Bailey’s Irish Cream

Chocolate Chip Cookies

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

Our local Walmart FINALLY stocked Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Baking Chips in the store. We thought people were panic-purchasing. But perhaps these new chip additions were just that popular and novel so they sold out fast. Of course, when we saw them on the shelves for the first time (luck of the Irish?!) we had to buy and try them, too, especially for a St. Patrick’s Day dessert.

We baked half a batch of the classic cookie recipe on the back of the package so we could snack on the restso we could make something else the next time (see Notes below). The morsels tasted mostly like chocolate chips with a bit of Bailey’s Irish Cream (without the booze buzz). We also used an Irish butter for a richer recipe. Yes, the cookies were yummy as expected—Bailey’s chips did not make a familiar and favorite treat taste boring!

So splurge on these special baking chips and make Bailey’s Irish Cream Chocolate Chip Cookies for a festive Feast Day of St. Patrick.

Recipe

(Adapted from Clabber Girl)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, unsalted, softened (we used Kerrygold Irish butter)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 ¼ cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¼ cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 package (1 ½ cups or 12 ounces) Bailey’s baking chips

Directions

In a mixing bowl, cream the butter with brown and white sugar.

Beat in the egg and add the vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking powder and salt. Gradually mix this in with the butter mixture.

Fold in the Bailey’s baking chips. Use a small cookie scoop to place dough rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Lightly flour the bottom of a flat glass. Press to flatten the cookie dough. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let rest on the baking sheet for about five minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in airtight containers. Yield: Approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Notes

  • Clabber Girl company offered two free digital cookbooks so people can try recipes using their Bailey’s baking chips. It is a clever marketing technique. Download them here.
  • We halved the recipe for just the two of us and also shared some cookies with our friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
  • Search our blog for other St. Patrick’s Day recipes.

Blueberry Pie

March 14: National Pi Day

The global pandemic has definitely changed the way Islander’s Global Cooking Club (GCC) has met for the past year. Members have not been able to socialize/cook/eat together in each other’s homes—and even social distancing did not feel safe enough for us.

So, like other organizations, GCC members used Zoom to meet. Islander was the first to adapt to the new format and hosted a pie-making party. After members agreed on a date and time, Islander sent out an email invitation with “before, during and after” instructions. “Lattice make pie together apart” was the theme. Participants could choose a fresh fruit filling and pie crust recipe, as long as they were not from a can or ready-made dough. Essentially, members challenged themselves to make a lattice-top pie from scratch.

Before the Zoom session, everyone prepared their filling and bottom crust (blind baking it if desired). During the session, participants took turns sharing their choice of fruit filling and then “together apart” rolled out strips to make the lattice, laughing at our own weaving mistakes but encouraging each other to keep trying. Once the pies went in the oven to bake, the session ended. Afterwards, we shared photos or how our pies turned out.

For some, it was the first time ever making a pie, first time ever making a pie from scratch and/or first time ever making a lattice top!

Although only a few members joined in for the first GCC session, the Zoom pie-making party was a success. We are sharing the recipe for the blueberry pie that we made during that session (others made blueberry, apple and rhubarb pies) for National Pi Day.

Recipe

(From Sister Gretchen T.)

For the pie  dough (double crust)

  • 2 ½ cups flour, all-purpose
  • 2 tablespoons sugar, granulated white
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks) butter, unsalted, cold and cut up
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable shortening, cold or frozen
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 4+ tablespoons ice water

Directions

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt.  Cut in the cold butter. Add the cold or frozen vegetable shortening. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to blend the dough until coarsely mixed and there are pea-size pieces. Beat in the egg. Stir in the vinegar.

Add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. Divide in two and shape into balls. Wrap in plastic film and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Remove one dough ball from the refrigerator. On a clean, lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to cover the bottom of a pie plate/dish. Leave some overhang and trim the edges. Refrigerate while making the filling.

For the blueberry pie filling

  • 4-5 cups fresh blueberries
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water (egg wash)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the blueberries with sugar, corn starch,  cinnamon, lemon zest and juice. Mix well.

Spoon the  blueberry filling in the pie crust and set aside. Roll out the dough for the top crust about 1/8 inch thick. Cut into strips, re-rolling scrap dough as necessary to have enough cut strips. Place strips on top of the filling and “weave” into a lattice design.

Trim the excess edges and use a fork to crimp the sides. Brush the top with egg wash. Place in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes to brown the edges. Remove from the oven and cover the edges with a pie crust shield or foil and return to the oven to bake for another 50 minutes until the filling has thickened and is bubbling. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Serve the pie at room temperature or warmed up.

Notes

  • See the easy recipe for blueberry pie pockets that we made for National Blueberry Pie Day years ago (pre-pandemic). Back then we were not challenged to make from-scratch pies. But the pie pockets still tasted good.

  • Brush egg wash on the bottom of the pie crust before filling to prevent soggy middles (optional).

  • Search our blog for other pie recipes for National Pi Day (3.14) on March 14.

Chicken Noodle Soup

March 13: National Chicken Noodle Soup Day

For those suffering from late winter blues or the common cold and flu this time of the year, cheer up and know that spring and better health are coming soon. Meanwhile, have a cup or bowl of heartwarming homemade chicken noodle soup. It is easier to cook than one might think.

We start with a leftover roast chicken or store-bought rotisserie chicken. We do not let the meat and bones go to waste and cook homemade chicken soup using the carcass for bone broth and meat for protein. Some recipes call for boiling the vegetables with the carcass to impart flavor and then discarding all the solids. But we boil our vegetables in the strained broth to keep the nutrients in and cook the vegetables and chicken pieces together to save time, since the broth already took a few hours to cook already. We also cook the curly pasta noodles separately, so the broth is not so “cloudy” (besides, we do not like mushy pasta in case it is overcooked in the soup—especially if the chef gets distracted!). The strained broth can be saved in a jar and used in other recipes later.

The recipe seems rustic, but it is a classic comfort food. Make homemade chicken noodle soup on National Chicken Noodle Soup Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover roast chicken
  • Water
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cooked curly pasta noodles

Directions

Remove the meat from the bones and chop into bite-sized pieces. Refrigerate the pieces to use in the soup later. In a large stock pot, place the carcass and cover with enough water. Bring to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and then lower heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours. Drain the scum and debris from the liquid and reserve the chicken stock. Wash or wipe the pot clean.

Place the chicken stock back into the cleaned pot. Add the onions, celery, carrot and sprigs of thyme. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the sprigs. Add the chicken pieces and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes to give the broth more flavor and heat the meat through.

Meanwhile, cook the curly pasta noodles according to the package directions until al dente. Drain and place a serving size into a soup bowl. Ladle the chicken, vegetables and stock over the pasta. Serve hot.

Notes

  • Optional: Add a chicken bouillon cube or two for stronger flavor in the boiling broth. This does add more sodium to the soup, so we usually leave it out.
  • After the soup cools down, add the pasta noodles then mix it all together. Refrigerate in a tightly covered container. Heat up individual servings of the chicken noodle soup. The pasta will not be as mushy then because it is not being overcooked, just reheated.

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