St. Patricks Day

I know I’m a few days behind, but I’m sure the leprechaunS forgive me. I have always loved St. Patrick’s Day. I am very fortunate to have a family that enjoys history and keeps track of who and where our family came from. I am off-the-boat Irish. My family came over in the late 1800s-early 1900s.

1922459_10203369528264042_1221351795_nWhile I was wandering around Victoria Square in Belfast, Northern Ireland, I came across a picture of the family crest!

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Now that I’ve been to Ireland, my adoration for the holiday has grown…if that’s even possible! You can read all about that trip HERE! St. Patrick’s Day is also a mostly American thing because it is a celebration of where we came from and our heritage…not just a day to drink cheap green beer. Since I was home for the day, I made 2 St. Patty’s day treats.

First, I made a shamrock shake

Ingredients:

2 scoops vanilla ice cream

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon sugar

Green food coloring

Peppermint Extract

Handful of ice

Throw everything in a blender and blend until smooth. Add food coloring until it is the desired shade. Serve with a cool shamrock straw.

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The second thing I made was green chocolate chip cookies. It’s a relatively basic cookie recipe with…you guessed it…green food coloring.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 stick butter

1/2 cup butter flavored Crisco

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional)

Chocolate chips of your choice- I used dark chocolate

1. Cream butter and crisco, add sugar, vanilla and eggs.

2. Add green food coloring to desired shade. I used about 10 drops.

3. Combine flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Slowly add it to the “wet” ingredients.

4. Mix in 1 1/2 cups, or half a bag of chocolate chips. It will look like mint-chocolate-chip ice cream.

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5. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Trust me. Don’t skip this step. Longer is better. But at least an hour.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 350, bake for 10-12 minutes depending on your oven etc. The cookies will JUST start to turn brown around the edges.IMG_5336

EAT, with a nice big glass of milk!

And now, for some Irish fun facts to make your St. Patricks day a little educational-

-Only 9% of the Irish population are natural redheads.

-A book only needs to sell 3,000 copies to top the Irish bestseller list.

-There have never been snakes in Ireland. St. Patrick did nothing with snakes.

-Gaelic is Ireland’s official language, but English is most commonly spoken

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Homemade Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting

I did it again! I managed to somehow make great cupcakes without following an actual recipe, for a great cause- my Mama’s birthday! 😀 We’re kind of best friends. ANYWAY. She requested chocolate cupcakes, so I obliged.10690149_10205874357163199_588961454879716748_n

Ingredients Cupcakes:

1 stick of room temperature butter

1/2 granulated sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 cup HOT coffee (if you do not like coffee, this can be substituted by hot water, hot milk….it just has to be a hot liquid)

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (milk is ok too)

1/3 cup sour cream

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoon baking POWDER

1 1/2 teaspoon baking SODA

1 3/4 cup flour

1. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. In a mixer, cream your butter and sugar. Add in your eggs, heavy whipping cream, vegetable oil and sour cream. It will be smooth and creamy!

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2. Pre-heat your oven to 350. Slowly add in the sifted dry ingredients and coffee alternately. You will get a nice light and fluffy batter.

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3. I used a large ice cream scoop to fill my liners, but about a 1/4 of a cup is perfect.

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4. Bake 18-22 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. For my oven, these guys were perfect after 18. Remove to a cooling rack and let COMPLETELY cool BEFORE icing!

Ingredients Buttercream

2 sticks room temperature butter

1 1lb bag of powdered sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon on vanilla extract (almond, peppermint or orange could be good here as well)

Milk (heavy whipping cream or flavored creamer can also be used)

Food dye (optional)

1. In a mixer with the whip attachment, cream the butter until it starts getting nice and fluffy.

2. Slowly begin adding the powdered sugar on the LOWEST SETTING or you will have sugar flying everywhere. It will start to stiffen up. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, slowly add milk a splash at a time. DO NOT add the whole 1/4 cup at one shot or you will have gooze. Add in food dye to desired color.

*The thing about buttercream is that it is not an exact science. You may need to go back and forth adding little bits of milk and powdered sugar until you get the amount of frosting that you are looking for and the consistency that you need.*

3. I like my frosting nice and whipped/fluffy so I let mine go for a few minutes once the powdered sugar is incorporated.

TO FROST- I wish I would have taken more/better pictures. I saw this method a few weeks ago, and I can’t even remember where, but it is brilliant.

Tear off a good sized piece of surran wrap and place it on the counter. Dump the majority of your frosting on the wrap. Wrap the frosting and twist the ends like a Tootsie Roll. Feed one of the twisted ends through your piping tip. I used a simple round. Get a medium zip-lock bag and snip the corner just enough that the piping tip sticks out. Feed the tip and the twisted surran wrap through the sniped hole of the bag. It’s going to look something like this.

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Cut off the twisted tail of surran wrap, make sure the bag is zipped shut, and you can now pipe your frosting relatively mess free without fear of frosting coming out of the top and getting everywhere!

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“I DID IT!” Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original recipe came from Host the Toast. I was quietly minding my own business the other day when my friend Emily messaged me, “ANNA I swear to God the best chocolate chip recipe I’ve ever made. They are aamaaazinggggg!” It is a running joke in my life that I can’t make chocolate chip cookies, hence her sending me this recipe. I’ve had a few solid batches here and there but they just never work. I can make really hard recipes perfectly the first time but can’t make a basic batch of chocolate chip cookies. I was skeptical, but promised her that I would try them. This is what convinced me to make them-

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Ingredients:

2 cups + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ sticks (6 oz) butter, melted and cooled

1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (I used dark brown sugar, but either will work)

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1½ cups dark chocolate chips

1. Soften butter, add in sugars and mix until combined and fluffy.

2. Add in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated.

3. Sift together flour, salt, cornstarch, and baking soda. Slowly add it into the bowl until JUST combined, do not over mix.

4. Fold in chocolate chips by hand to help keep from over mixing.

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5. Cover and refrigerate for at least a half hour. I put mine in for 20 minutes, then turned my oven on to pre-heat to 325 and let them stay in the fridge until the oven was pre-heated.

6. The original recipe says to use 1/4 cup dough per cookie, I just used the larger ice cream scoop to make them uniform. I fit 9 per cookie sheet.

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7. Cook for about 12 minutes or until just golden brown. I put the dough back in the fridge between batches.

8. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before transporting them to a cooling rack.

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9. Enjoy with a large class of milk, like my dad likes to do.

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Oh yeah, check out that beard 😉

The cookies are awesome too. Emily was right. However, we both discussed and decided that we would probably add just a little bit more flour to give them a bit more body, more like 2 1/2 cups of flour.