Shamrock Shortbread

Shamrock Shortbread

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

How lucky and blessed are those who can taste some homemade shamrock-shaped shortbread on the Feast Day of St. Patrick. He used a three-leaf clover, which grows abundantly in Ireland, to teach the pagans about the Holy Trinity—God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit—and convert them to Christianity in the fifth century. Inspired by the sweet symbolism, we baked shamrock-shaped shortbread sprinkled with green sugar crystals that sparkle like emeralds from the isle of the Irish patron saint. Honor St. Patrick and his evangelistic efforts and make Celtic-style clover cookies.

May your blessings outnumber


The shamrocks that grow,


And may trouble avoid you


Wherever you go.


~Irish Blessing

 

Recipe

(Adapted from Irish Culture and Customs)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (we used Kerrygold brand Irish butter)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3/4 – 1 cup sugar, granulated white
  • 2 cups flour
  • green food coloring (we used Wilton brand Leaf  Green icing color)
  • green sugar sprinkles (we used Wilton brand dark green colored sugar)

Directions

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter until fluffy. Mix in the cornstarch and sugar and blend well. Gradually mix in the flour until a cookie dough is formed.

Shamrock Shortbread

Tint with green food coloring to the desired shade. Roll the dough into a ball, place in a covered bowl and refrigerate till firm (about an hour). Divide the dough into two or three smaller pieces. Place between sheets of waxed paper. Roll each to ¼-inch thickness. Cut with shamrock-shaped cookie cutters. Place on greased baking sheet at least an inch apart. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Re-roll the dough scraps, place between sheets of waxed paper, roll to ¼-inch thickness and refrigerate for another 15 minutes or until firm. Continue cutting out shapes and refrigerating.

Shamrock Shortbread

Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with green sugar sprinkles. Bake in a preheated oven at 275 degrees F for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Shamrock Shortbread

Notes

  • While this shortbread recipe is tasty, we prefer other sugar cookie doughs that are easier to handle. This one requires lots of chilling time and patience in order for the cookies to hold their shape. They do spread out a little in the oven but the puffiness goes down toward the end of the baking cycle.
  • Irish butter is creamier and more yellow than the domestic one. This may have affected the dough being more moist than other recipes.
  • Add a little flour to the work surface or waxed paper so the dough does not stick too much.
  • Baking time is longer for this recipe because it has a lower heat (275 instead of 350 degrees).
  • Search our blog for other shortbread, cookies and other Irish-inspired recipes for St. Patrick’s Day. We also recommended browsing for more feast day food ideas from Catholic Cuisine.

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

Slainte! Of all the booze we bake with, Bailey’s is our favorite. The flavor of this Irish cream liqueur is milder than the other alcoholic beverages that we stock in our cabinet. The cream adds a sweet balance to the strong whiskey. Bailey’s is also good “on the rocks,” added as a shot in coffee or hot chocolate and infused as an ingredient in recipes, such as cakes. Highlander most often requests a “Bailey’s birthday cake” from Islander and he takes it to the office to share with his co-workers.

In the “spirit” of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, we baked a Bailey’s cake. More Irish cream liqueur in the frosting enhances the flavor for a festive St. Patrick’s Day dessert.

Recipe

(Adapted from Duncan Hines)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee (we used Muvaldi brand Kona instant coffee)
  • ½ cup Irish cream liqueur (we used Bailey’s brand but Carolans and St. Brendan’s may be substituted)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used Hawaiian Vanilla Company brand)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 box (18.25 ounces) Duncan Hines brand butter recipe golden cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter (we used Kerrygold brand pure Irish unsalted), softened
  • 2 quantities Bailey’s Irish cream frosting (see the recipe from a past blog post here)
  • 1-2 ounces (1-2 squares) semi-sweet chocolate (we used Baker’s brand), melted
  • chocolate-covered coffee beans (we used Island Princess brand)

Directions

Prepare the wet ingredients. In a small bowl, dissolve the instant coffee in boiling water. When cool, pour in the Irish cream liqueur. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts. Prepare the rest of the cake ingredients.

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

In a mixing bowl, combine the cake mix and vanilla instant pudding mix. Add the coffee mixture. Beat in the eggs with the butter until smooth and well blended.

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

Pour the batter in a greased baking pan (we used a 10-inch round cake pan). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes, testing with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan. Transfer the cake to a platter or cake board.

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

Make the frosting.  Generously spread the top of the cake and sides. Drizzle melted chocolate on top of the cake in a criss-cross pattern.

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

Use extra frosting to pipe swirls on top of the cake (we used Wilton tip 1M). Pipe borders on the bottom of the cake (we used Wilton star tip 18). Finish the cake by garnishing the swirls with chocolate-covered coffee beans.

Irish Cream Liqueur Cake

Notes

  • Instead of chocolate, melt green candy wafers to add an emerald color to the cake for St. Patrick’s Day. Also, substitue the chocolate-covered coffee beans for green M&Ms to match.
  • Search our blog for more St. Patrick’s Day recipes.

Guinness Brownies

Guinness Brownies

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

Slainte! St. Patrick’s Day is a time to celebrate Highlander’s heritage. He has traced his ancestry to the Ulster-Scots (Scots-Irish). Today is also a time to eat brownies boozed up with beer from Dublin, Ireland—Guinness. The dry Irish stout, mixed with a “trinity” of chocolate (unsweetened, semi-sweet and white),  makes this dessert dense and delicious! Shake some shamrock sprinkles on top for an edible emerald color contrast. Get into the “spirit” of St. Patrick’s Day and indulge in Guinness brownies.

Recipe

(Adapted from Detroit News)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened/baking cocoa powder (we used Nestle Toll House brand)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces (8 squares) of unsweetened chocolate (we used Baker’s brand)
  • ¾ cup white chocolate chips (we used Nestle Toll House brand premiere white morsels)
  • 6 tablespoons butter (we used Kerrygold brand Irish unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup sugar (we lessened the amount to ¾ cup)
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cup Guinness beer, room temperature
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (we used Ghirardelli brand)
  • candy shamrock sprinkles (optional)

Directions

Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil. Mist with cooking spray. In a bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt. Set aside. Melt together the unsweetened chocolate squares, white chocolate chips and butter. 

Guinness Brownies

Stir until smooth. Beat the eggs. Add the sugar. Mix in the melted chocolate. 

Guinness Brownies

Gradually add the flour-cocoa mixture. Stir in the Guinness beer and blend well. The batter will be thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly with a spatula.

Guinness Beer

Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes. Remove from the oven. Cool completely. Slice with a plastic knife. While the brownies are still warm, sprinkle candy shamrocks (optional). Yield: 24 square brownies.

Guinness Brownies

Notes 

  • The background in the final food photo above features Highlander’s family tartan, a plaid with green, blue and white colors.
  • Instead of the shamrock sprinkles, dust the Guinness brownies with powdered sugar before serving.
  • Search our blog for more brownie and Irish-inspired recipes.