Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day.... Continued!

I'm a big fan of finding good recipes and making them your own- add ingredients, take away ingredients, throw it in the crockpot, just do something a little different. I found a great recipe online for Irish soda bread. And by great, I mean it looked super easy, didn't require yeast, and only baked for 35 minutes. My kind of bread! I actually think this would make a really good every day bread without the caraway seeds. I'm not a huge lover of them, but apparently they're Irish. In any case, if anyone ever asks you to make a loaf of bread, you'll have this little recipe in your back pocket to impress your friends. 

The hubs loves bruschetta, so I thought, why not make an Irish version as an appetizer. So here's how I did it:

For the soda bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading and dusting
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For Assembling the Bruschetta:
Olive Oil
Store bought pesto (I used the Giada de Laurentis brand from Target)
Dubliner Aged Irish Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and caraway seeds. Stir in the buttermilk and melted butter with a rubber spatula, scraping down the sides until the ingredients are just combined.
Transfer the dough to a well-floured surface and knead it 6 times, just until it comes together into a 6-inch round. The dough will still be sticky.
Cut a large X in the top of the round and place the loaf of a baking sheet. Dust it with 1 teaspoon of flour and bake it for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

When ready to assemble the bruschetta, cut the bread into thin slices. (I ended up cutting the slices in half that were larger.) Place the bread slices on a cookie sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Toast the bread under the broiler for 2-3 minutes. Flip the bread slices over and spread each slice with pesto and top with a slice of cheese. Put the bruschetta back under the broiler until the cheese is melted. Then top with a drizzle of balsamic and sprinkle with parsley.

This was a total hit at our little get together and was gone in a matter of minutes. The leprechauns were hungry! I hope you had a good St. Patrick's Day, I sure know I did- that Bailey's was my best friend. I also had to share my favorite part of St. Patrick's Day, my little Irishman. Enjoy!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Happy St. Patrick's Day

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I thought it would be a good time for my little business to launch a blog. A few things: I'm not Irish, but I do love Guinness, Bailey's, the color green, and having a good time. I'm pretty sure these attributes qualify me to enjoy St. Patrick's Day like an authentic Irish lassie.

What makes a good St. Patrick's Day party? A Guinness cake of course. I scoured several different cake recipes, did a little combining, and here's the final result. This cake is moist, has just the right amount of chocolate, and the frosting isn't overly sweet. So make a tiny pocket in your tummy after all that corned beef and cabbage for it (ladies you all know we were born with this Darwinian adaptation).   

Chocolate Guinness Cake
1 cup Guinness
1/2 cup butter, cubed
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sour cream
3 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon vanilla paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Grease a 9 in. spring form pan (I used Wilton's cake release- it's quick and easy, if you don't have this, grease, flour and line with parchment).

In a small saucepan, heat the beer and butter until butter is melted. Remove from heat; whisk in sugar, baking cocoa and salt. Combine the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla paste (if you don't have vanilla paste substitute just regular vanilla extract); whisk into beer mixture. Combine flour and baking soda; whisk into beer mixture until smooth. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Remove sides of pan.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add confectioners; sugar and cream; beat until smooth. Remove cake from the pan and place on a cake stand.

And my favorite part, ice the top of the cake so that it "resembles a frothy pint of beer." You're welcome.

I jazzed my cake up a bit with a little fondant shamrock and some edible gold dust (people expect this from me).

So there you have it, go whip up your Guinness cake like the sassy Irish Mama you know you are. And as every good cook knows, you should never waste alcohol, so while you're making your cake, be sure to enjoy the rest of that Guinness you only used a cup of. Batter Up, Cowgirl!