Double Irish Cheer ~ Stout and Whiskey Cupcakes

What’s even more Irish than chocolate Guinness cupcakes? Chocolate Guinness cupcakes topped with Irish whiskey frosting! I wanted to make one more round of cupcakes for the day. 🙂 These cupcakes celebrate two of the most famous flavors of Ireland – stout and whiskey.

I love how versatile the frosting I made in the last blog entry can be. It is a classic 7-minute frosting, which is fluffy and meringue-like. Unlike most frosting, this one is quite a bit lighter with no butter or cream. It is wonderful to work with and pipes beautifully. It doesn’t hold as well over time as a buttercream, so make it shortly before you need it, but it stays together for a few hours. I was so interested and excited about this frosting that I played with the recipe by making small batches in different flavors that I thought may pair well with the chocolate Guinness cupcakes. I made a sparkling wine frosting, a Harp beer frosting, and even an IPA beer frosting! But I settled on this Irish whiskey frosting to top one more batch of cupcakes for St. Patrick’s Day. This flavor was my pot of gold at the end of a rainbow of flavors. 😉

Stout and Whiskey Cupcakes

Makes about 24 standard-sized cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 cup Guinness stout

1/2 cup light olive oil

2 tablespoons skim milk

3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the frosting:

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup water

4 egg whites

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons Irish whiskey (I used Jameson)

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the stout, oil, milk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until everything is very well combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and baking soda.

Add the wet mixture in the medium bowl to the dry mixture in the large bowl, and whisk until just combined.

Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Find a big pot in which the bowl of a stand mixer can fit inside without touching the bottom. Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water. (Take care that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.) Bring the water to a simmer.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the sugar and cream of tartar. In the bowl of the stand mixer, add all of the frosting ingredients except for the whiskey, and whisk until combined.

Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl. Whisking often, let the mixture come up to 160 F. It will look a little frothy.

Once the mixture is at 160 F, remove the bowl from the pot and place it on the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

Whisk on high speed for about 7 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy, cool, and very stiff. Add the whiskey, and whisk until just combined.

Pipe or spoon the frosting onto your cupcakes.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day ~ Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Even though I am not even a wee bit Irish, I still love this festive holiday. 🙂 I wore green all day, enjoyed an Irish cozy mystery, and made these chocolate Guinness cupcakes to celebrate!

For the cupcakes, I was inspired by a recipe from Nigella Lawson, and a recipe by Yolanda Gampp inspired the frosting.

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Makes about 24 standard-sized cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

1 cup Guinness stout

1/2 cup light olive oil

2 tablespoons skim milk

3/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the frosting:

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 cup Guinness stout

4 egg whites

Pinch of salt

For the cupcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the stout, oil, milk, sour cream, eggs, and vanilla until everything is very well combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, flour, and baking soda.

Add the wet mixture in the medium bowl to the dry mixture in the large bowl, and whisk until just combined.

Divide the batter between the muffin tins, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

Find a big pot in which the bowl of a stand mixer can fit inside without touching the bottom. Fill the pot with about 2 inches of water. (Take care that the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl.) Bring the water to a simmer.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix the sugar and cream of tartar. In the bowl of the stand mixer, add all of the frosting ingredients, and whisk until combined.

Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water. Attach a candy thermometer to the side of the bowl. Whisking often, let the mixture come up to 160 F. It will look a little frothy.

Once the mixture is at 160 F, remove the bowl from the pot and place it on the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.

Whisk on high speed for about 7 minutes, or until the mixture is fluffy, cool, and very stiff.

Pipe or spoon the frosting onto your cupcakes for a nice fluffy head on your Guinness!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! ~ Homemade Irish Cream

Irish CreamIt’s the month to celebrate all things Irish! 🙂 Every year I love to make an Irish dish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. This year, I decided to try making Irish cream from scratch, which is one of my favorite Irish treats. I was pleasantly surprised by how much this tastes like Baileys! My version is made with coconut milk instead of cream and I only used a little bit of maple syrup for sweetness. It isn’t quite as rich or sweet as the original Baileys, but my hubby (who is part Irish!) and I thought it was lovely. I hope you’ll give it a try and add it to your celebration on the 17th. 🙂

I filled tiny liquor bottles with the Irish cream and pasted festive little St. Patrick’s Day labels on the front. The free (and super cute!) artwork can be found at the website How to Nest for Less.

Homemade Irish Cream

1 can (approximately 14 ounces) full-fat coconut milk

1 teaspoon cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons Irish whiskey (or more if you’d like it a little boozier)

2 tablespoons maple syrup (or more if you’d like it a little sweeter)

In a blender, add all of the ingredients. Blend until the cocoa and espresso are dissolved and everything is combined, about 15 seconds. Chill before serving. After it is chilled, it will separate a little, so pour into glasses through a strainer to ensure an even consistency.

Sláinte!Irish Cream

The time of the year for all things Irish ~ Individual Cottage Pies

Cottage PieSt. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite holidays, and I love to make Irish recipes every year to get into the spirit. Cottage pie is a classic Irish dish, likely dating back as far as 1791. If you change the ingredients slightly, it is a different dish altogether: Use lamb, and it is a shepherd’s pie, sprinkle bread crumbs on top, and it is a Cumberland pie, and if you use turkey and ham, it is a St. Stephen’s Day pie. Those could be fun alternatives to try later to mix things up. It is also a simple and quick weeknight dinner, which is perfect since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year. You can make it in one large casserole dish, or individual ramekins are very cute. The mash on top can be either traditional mashed potatoes, or better yet, steamed and puréed cauliflower.

Cottage PieCottage Pie

Based on a recipe from Bon Appétit magazine

For topping:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets

3 tablespoons skim milk, or more for a smoother consistency

Earth Balance to taste

Salt and pepper to taste

For base:

1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon high heat oil, such as safflower or sunflower

1 pound leanest ground beef

1 small onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup beef stock

1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

1 large carrot, chopped finely

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Steam cauliflower florets in a medium saucepot with the lid on until tender. With a slotted spoon, transfer the cauliflower into a food processor. Add milk and blend until it is a smooth purée. Add Earth Balance, salt, and pepper to taste, and pulse to combine.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil, heat until shimmering, and then add mushrooms. Cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl. Add beef, onion, and garlic to same skillet and cook over medium-high heat until beef is brown, breaking up with spoon, about 8 minutes. Add flour and stir 2 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrot, stock, parsley, and Worcestershire. Simmer about 4 minutes, or until the stock is almost evaporated, stirring occasionally.

Spoon the beef mixture into an 8-inch round baking dish or individual ramekins. Spoon the cauliflower purée over the top, and serve immediately.

Cottage Pie

Happy Shamrock Day ~ Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I’m not even a wee bit Irish, but I always have fun celebrating this holiday. We really enjoyed the Irish soda bread muffins I made last year, so this year I decided to try another spin on the same idea. I baked Irish soda bread biscuits. 🙂 I went an extra step and cut them out with a shamrock cookie cutter. What could be more festive that? 🙂

Irish Soda Bread Biscuits

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup Earth Balance

1/2 cup dried currants

1/2 cup low fat buttermilk

1 egg

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized mixing bowl. With a fork or pastry blender, cut in the Earth Balance. Stir in the currants and caraway.

Mix the egg and buttermilk in a separate bowl, and then combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.

On a floured surface, shape the dough into a ball. It is a sticky and wet dough, so use as much all-purpose flour as you need on your hands and the bench to pull it together into a cohesive dough ball. Roll the dough so it is about ½ inch thick. Cut with a cookie cutter or a knife. Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with non-stick spray. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

I also baked a batch of the soda bread muffins that I wrote about last year. They freeze well, so our freezer is now stocked! Just microwave for 30 seconds for a warm, fresh muffin in the morning.

The cute little printable flags are from Elli.com. They are free to download and print for your St. Patrick’s Day celebration. 🙂

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day ~ Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! (Well, almost ;-). I start to get in the Irish holiday mood once March begins).

I love this holiday, even though I’m not even a wee bit Irish. I make a different Irish inspired recipe every year to celebrate. (Check out some of the fun and festive recipes from years past ~ ’10, ’11, and ‘12).

This year, I decided to make Irish soda bread muffins, which my hubby and I have been enjoying for breakfast. They have unique flavors between the caraway seeds and the dried currants, so they are a really refreshing change from the usual banana or berry muffin recipes I usually make. I found the original recipe on the website hosted by King Arthur Flour. They make high quality flours that pastry chefs I know swear by. I did bake my version of the muffins with 100% whole-wheat pastry flour instead of using any all-purpose flour to make them a little healthier. I only used 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, but you can add as many or as few as you’d like. I chose vegetable oil instead of butter, and I used buttermilk instead of the other options. (The yogurt and sour cream are perfectly fine substitutes if you choose the low fat versions, however). I omitted the sugar topping, as well, since I thought they were sweet enough with all of the currants. (My hubby, who is Irish, said they are some of the best muffins he’s ever had :)). I hope you’ll give them a try this month!

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Based on a recipe from KingArthurFlour.com

2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups currants

1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants, and caraway seeds.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and oil.

4) Quickly and gently combine the dry and wet ingredients; honestly, this won’t take more than a few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups.

6) Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.

I hope you have fun on the 17th, whether you are in the Emerald City, the Emerald Isle, or someplace without even a wee bit of green ;).

(PS. Thanks for the cute clover napkins, Mom! Someone else who loves this holiday as much as I do. Must be the 17 connection ;-)).

March 17th ~ Irish Sidecar

Happy March 17th!

To celebrate this evening, I took my favorite cocktail recipe and switched it up to be a wee bit Irish. I’ll call it an Irish Sidecar. 🙂

I started with the recipe for the sparkling wine sidecar cocktail that I wrote about last March, but I replaced the cognac with Irish whiskey, and I changed the lemon juice to lime juice. The Irish flag is orange, green and white, and this drink includes all three colors. 🙂

Irish Sidecar

3/4 oz of Grand Marnier

1/4 oz lime juice

3/4 oz of Irish whiskey

Dry sparkling wine

In a cocktail shaker, mix the first three ingredients until they are very cold. Strain into a martini glass. Top with sparkling wine.

It goes perfectly with some Irish cheddar and crackers as a late night snack.

Sláinte!

Irish Week ~ Guinness and Beef Stew

Since Saint Patrick’s Day is fast approaching, I was in the mood for something a little Irish. To celebrate, I made Guinness and Beef Stew tonight. It’s one of those dishes that simmers on the stove all afternoon and makes the whole house smell inviting until the beef falls apart with a spoon. My Irish hubby said it’s one of the best stews he has ever had. I hope you’ll give it a try!

I followed the recipe from Cooking Light pretty closely, since it was already a fairly healthy dish. The biggest adjustment I made was replacing the chuck roast with a round roast of beef, since it is a little leaner cut of meat that also braises beautifully. I also omitted the raisins, simply because I don’t like raisins in most dishes. I found that I didn’t need the full amount of salt, either. Just taste as you go.

Guinness and Beef Stew

Adapted from Cooking Light magazine

3 tablespoons canola oil, divided

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

2 pounds boneless round roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes

5 cups chopped onion (about 3 onions)

1 tablespoon tomato paste

4 cups fat-free, lower-sodium beef broth (my favorite store bought beef broth is from Kitchen Basics)

1 (11.2-ounce) bottle Guinness Stout

1 teaspoon caraway seeds

Black pepper to taste

Salt to taste

1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices carrot (about 8 ounces)

1 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-thick) diagonal slices parsnip (about 8 ounces)

1 cup (1/2-inch) cubed peeled turnip (about 8 ounces)

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Place flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle beef with salt; dredge beef in flour. Add half of beef to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove beef from pan with a slotted spoon. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and beef.

Add onion to pan; cook 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and beer, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return meat to pan. Stir in salt, caraway seeds, and pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil. Cook 50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrot, parsnip, and turnip. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover and bring to a boil; cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Sprinkle with parsley.

May you have the luck of the Irish ~ Chocolate Guinness Goodness

Happy March 17th!

Guinness combines surprisingly well with chocolate, and those two together make the perfect St. Patrick’s Day pair. I made a very fun and festive dessert tonight called Chocolate Guinness Goodness :). It is chocolate and Guinness pudding served in a beer glass with Guinness flavored whipped cream smoothed over the top. The result is a dessert that really looks like a pint of beer!

I borrowed the idea from Epicurious.com, and then I mixed and matched bits of that recipe with a MarthaStewart.com recipe. That lightened the original quite a bit. In addition, I omitted the butter, I used only two egg yolks and I replaced skim milk for whole.

Chocolate Guinness Goodness

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

Pinch of salt

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups skim milk

½ cup Guinness

2 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup whipping cream

 

Put a fine mesh sieve over a medium bowl and set aside. In a medium saucepan off the heat, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and cocoa powder. Very gradually whisk in the milk and ½ cup Guinness, taking care to dissolve cornstarch. Then whisk in the egg yolks.

Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble forms. Reduce the heat to low. Still whisking, cook 1 minute. It will be thick and creamy at this point. Remove from the heat and immediately pour through the sieve into the bowl. Stir the vanilla into the hot pudding.

Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and chill at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. Before serving, whisk the pudding again until smooth.

For the whipped cream topping, reduce a cup of Guinness in a pan on medium low heat for about 20 minutes, or until it is thicker. Cool completely. Whip the whipping cream with a hand held mixer until soft peaks form on the beaters. (It can quickly turn to butter, so watch it closely.) Add a tablespoon of the reduced Guinness and blend it evenly into the whipped cream.

Carefully spoon the pudding into a beer glass and then cover with an even layer of the whipped cream. Each pint serves about 4. This recipe makes a little more than a pint’s worth, but leftovers aren’t a bad thing ;).

These pair perfectly with a glass of green sparkling wine for the occasion :).

P.S. For another chocolate and Guinness recipe, check out my cupcakes on this website from last St. Patrick’s Day.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I made a batch of festive chocolate Guinness cupcakes to celebrate one of my favorite holidays. I started with a recipe from the Food Network, and I switched it up a bit to make it a little healthier. These make a lot of cupcakes, but this recipe also divides in half nicely. Then you’ll just have half a bottle of beer to finish while you bake. 🙂 (If you decide to go this route, use a full egg and one egg white.) Or, the cupcakes also freeze well, so you can keep them for quite a while if you decide to make the full batch. These have actually become a favorite at our house even when it isn’t anywhere close to St. Patrick’s Day. I hope you like them as much as we do!

Chocolate Guinness Cupcakes

3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)

2 cups sugar

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 bottle or can of Guinness

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 eggs

3/4 cup non-fat sour cream

Before you begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour and baking soda in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, blend the Guinness, oil and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, and blend until incorporated. Then mix in the sour cream. Gradually mix the dry blend into the wet blend. Spray 24 muffin tins with cooking spray and divide the batter equally. Bake for about 12 minutes, rotate the pans, and bake for another 12 minutes. They should have a nice little dome and be set in the middle.

Sprinkle with a fine dusting of powdered sugar if you wish.

These go very well with a glass of green sparkling wine. 🙂 Again, we chose what has become our sparkling wine of the year, Sofia Blanc de Blancs. It is so fun to be able to pick up just one or two little individual cans at the store when we are having a festive moment. Sláinte!