I’m not Irish myself, but hubbies family have vague Irish roots, with his great grandfather ( he thinks, he can’t remember how any Greats!) migrating to Scotland back in the day. Although, not much is known about the family history in Ireland or even about possible existing family members on the old Emerald Isle. Doesn’t stop him being the brunt of my Irish jokes though!
Its always fun to celebrate this day, the Irish certainly know how to party and in my younger University days we would head to the nearest Irish pub for some drink, music, dancing and overall good craic. I would often come home with green glasses, leprechaun hats and Shamrock headpieces. Nowadays its more sedate, with baking or cooking an Irish dish or Irish inspired dish.
I made Guinness Cake not that long ago, however hubby wanted this again as he loves this cake, could have something to do with the alcohol! Definitely Irish in his blood, well to be honest that could also be the Scottish part of him too! Instead of making a 9 inch cake I poured the batter into muffin cases to make wee Guinness cakes/ muffins. In a preheated oven (180 C ) bake for 18 minutes or until skewer came out clean. I also used fairy cake cases , which were smaller than the muffin cases and took 15 minutes to bake. Leave to cool for a few minutes in the tins then remove and place on cooling rack. Once completely cool, use the same recipe for frosting a 9 inch Guinness cake.
Apparently 13 million pints of Guinness will be consumed today, wonder how many Guinness cakes will be eaten?
I also decided to make some Peppermint Shortbread Slices, purely because of the gorgeous green colour, which I thought was very appropriate for St Patricks day.
Base Layer– 125 grams softened butter, 175 grams self raising flour, 50 grams caster sugar- this is the base I use for millionaire shortbread.
Mint Layer-114 grams margarine or softened butter, 300 grams powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk or water or even cream, 1 teaspoon of peppermint extract and couple of drops of green food colouring ( will depend of what shade of green you are going for). I like a thick gooey mint layer, but if you don’t then you could reduce the recipe measurements.
Topping– 60 grams of butter and 100 grams of milk cooking chocolate ( more or less depending on your love of chocolate, as long as it covers the mix). Dark chocolate is also delicious with the mint.
For the base, preheat oven to 190° C. Mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Sieve the flour and then mix into the butter/ sugar. Press this into a greased baking tray (I used a 10 x 7 tray) and place in oven for 12 minutes until golden. Leave to cool.
Please ignore my tiny yet scary hand!
Alternatively, you could use a digestive or graham cracker and butter base, like you would for cheese cake. Or crushed cornflakes with self raising flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar and melted butter mixed together and baked in the oven. This is apparently the traditional Scottish way of making peppermint slices, not really sure they is anything traditional about it! A brownie base would work well too.
For the Mint frosting layer, I use Margarine as I cannot get the butter soft enough so when mixed with icing sugar it actually becomes smooth. I always end up with butter lumps! #bakingproblems #Firstworldproblems #toooldtoohashtag
However,you can use butter if this is your preference, just make sure its softened. Mix the Margarine, powdered sugar, milk or water or cream ( what ever you are using), peppermint extract and food colouring together until smooth and consistent colour. Scrape down the edges of the bowl as you go to make sure all combined.
Pour the gloriously green mint mixture over the top of your base, smooth and then place in fridge to set. It is imperative to ” test” the green mint mixture, cos nothing that colour could taste good, so scrape the mixing bowl clean to satisfy yourself that is fit for human consumption! Nom, nom , nom, nom……….
Melt the butter and the chocolate over a bain-marie. Pour over the top of the mint mixture and leave to set. When pouring over, work quick to smooth the chocolate evenly as the mint layer is cold so the chocolate will start to harden quicker. Once set, cut into squares. The base crumbled slightly when cut from the tin. In the future, I would line the tin with grease proof paper to see if this helped. The slices are best kept in the fridge, as you can probably see from the photos they are a bit gooey. It’s not the most perfect cake, it’s gooey, crumbly and you will require a plate, but it tastes delicious.
Happy St Patricks Day and may the luck of the Irish be with you!
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