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.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

March 17: Feast Day of St. Patrick

Irish beer, Irish butter, Irish cream. The trinity of these traditional Irish ingredients is included in a contemporary chocolate cupcake recipe for the Feast Day of St. Patrick, the patron of Ireland. Legend states that he used the shamrock to explain about the Holy Trinity when he converted the Irish pagans and Druids to Christianity.

We baked these “spirited” shamrock-sprinkled sweets for a St. Patrick’s celebration at Islander’s brother’s Catholic university. The cupcakes were a festive dessert that provided not only food for thought about Irish cuisine, culture, politics and religion but also an opportunity for campus ministers to teach students about the trinity and our faith, much like St. Patrick did in Ireland in the fifth century.

Recipe

(Adapted from Feast by Nigella Lawson)

For the cupcakes

  • 1 cup Guinness beer, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter (we used Kerrygold brand unsalted butter)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 cups sugar, granulated white
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour, all-purpose, sifted
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking soda

Directions

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and pour in the beer.  Whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar and mix until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with the sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the beer mixture and blend well.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Gradually add the flour and baking soda and mix the batter until smooth. Scoop into muffin tins lined with cupcake papers. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in the muffin tins for another 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Make the frosting.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

For the frosting

  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • +3 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • pinch of salt

Directions

Cream the butter with a mixer paddle. Gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing until the frosting is smooth. Pour in the Bailey’s Irish Cream until the frosting is at a spreadable consistency. Fill a pastry bag and pipe the frosting on top of each cupcake. Decorate with shamrock-shaped sprinkles. Yield: Approximately two dozen cupcakes.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

Notes

  • The cupcakes are moist and aromatic. The Guinness beer’s sourness is balanced by the Bailey’s Irish cream frosting’s sweetness.