Top o’ the mornin to you! Happy St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow.
The Contessa gave me a Kitchen Aid stand mixer for Christmas. I am not a baker. So, mostly she got it for when she comes to visit me. It seems I always have a project or two that require her really good baking skills. I have no patience for measuring and letting things rest. That being said, I can’t just let it sit there. So, for a good cause I put it to use. I made this Irish Soda Bread for the ladies of the Austin Junior Forum March meeting. The other members of my team made the Shepherd’s Pie and cupcakes. We made too much and had too many leftovers. We took them to a local fire company. They already liked us. Now they love us! The Austin Junior Forum works with local first responders to bring a little love to children in traumatic situations. Every year we have a benefit to raise money for the Teddy Bear program. The Teddy Bear program gives Teddy Bears to fire and policemen to carry with them and give to children when they arrive on the scene. These bears bring some comfort and hopefully help those first responders a little bit and we are happy to do it. Click here to read more about it.
The ladies loved this stuff! So, here is a way to celebrate besides wearing your green and using the green food coloring.
Irish Soda Bread
- 3 cups flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup of raisins
- 2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- 1 cup of buttermilk
- 1 egg
Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a jelly roll or cookie sheet with foil or parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt and stir well to mix.
Add the butter and rub in until the butter disappears into the dry ingredients.
Stir in the caraway seeds and the raisins.
In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and egg together and mix into the dough mixture with a rubber spatula.
Turn the dough out on a floured work surface and fold it over on itself several times, shaping it into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf to one cookie sheet or jelly roll pan covered with parchment or foil and cut a cross in the top. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes more, until well colored and a toothpick plunged into the center emerges clean.
Cool on a rack and wrap in plastic wrap.
Chocolate Stout and Irish Cream Cupcakes
- 1 1/2 cups Irish stout (recommended: Guinness)
- 4 ounces unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- Irish Liqueur Frosting, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 325°. Line a cupcake or muffin pan with 24 regular-size cupcake liners.
Place the stout and butter in a medium-size saucepan and whisk together on medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat. Sift the cocoa powder into a medium-size bowl and add the sugar. Slowly whisk into the stout mixture. In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla and lightly whisk until smooth. Add this mixture to the saucepan and whisk thoroughly (it may appear lumpy). Sift the flour and baking soda together in another small bowl and then add it to the saucepan, mixing a final time until the color is even.
Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter and bake until the cakes spring back after touching, about 27 minutes. Cool the cupcakes in their pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
To assemble: Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes using a large plain tip or spread with a frosting knife. Dust with cocoa powder.
Irish Liqueur Frosting:
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 4 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur (recommended: Baileys)
- 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 rib celery, sliced
- 1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, quartered
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 cup canned low sodium beef broth
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups mashed potatoes
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, optional
Preheat oven to 375°.
Heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery, mushrooms, garlic, half the salt, and oregano. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until mushrooms are soft and tomato paste has turned brick red, about 8 minutes more. Stir in the beef, the broth, the remaining salt, the Worcestershire, and some pepper, breaking up any large clumps of meat, cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
Transfer the meat and vegetables to a 2-quart oval casserole dish and spread the mashed potatoes over the top, leaving a 1/4-inch boarder around the edge. Make a decorative pattern on the top of the potatoes, if desired. Sprinkle with cheese, if using, and dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Bake until potatoes brown and the juices bubble around the edge, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.
PS-Meat free friends a package and 1/2 of veggie meat crumbles works too. I made mine at home that way.