Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Go Green...like a Leprachaun!

Happy St. Patrick's Day! To celebrate the luck o' the Irish I made Irish soda bread and cupcake number 6 of my Martha's cupcake countdown, Cheesecake! Who doesn't love cheesecake? I put green food coloring in it to make it more festive. They were super easy to make, especially when you substitute a single vanilla wafer in the bottom of each muffin liner instead of the given crust! It's a simple switch, and it cuts down on like 20 min of the recipe. You can find the recipe here. I also made a blackberry sauce to go on top instead of the apricot jam topping. YUMMM!!
Mini Cheesecakes
Makes 18.
18 vanilla wafers
1 pound cream cheese, softened (2 blocks)
1/2 teaspoon pure vani
lla extract
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream
Green Food Coloring (if desired)
Pinch of salt
Berries, and sugar to taste
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line 18 cupcake tins with
liner and place one vanilla wafer in the bottom of each. Beat cream cheese with a mixer on medium speed until light and smooth. Add remaining 1/2 cup sugar, then vanilla. With mixer running, add eggs slowly, scraping down side of bowl. Add sour cream and salt. Add food coloring if desired. Fill almost to top.
Bake until sides are set but centers are wobbly, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks. Wrap tins tightly with plastic, and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Macerate berries and sugar, let sit 30 min, to let the berries soften and juices release. Top with berries and serve! Enjoy!

I also made an Irish Soda Bread! MKMW this month chose Ireland as the destination, how fitting! I wanted to make corned beef, but was behind the eight ball in terms of brining the meat for 2 weeks as I saw suggested! It all turned out fine though, the bread was delicious, and not something I probably would have made by my own volition.
I was worried because I tasted one version at our local grocery store and I did not like it one bit! It was dry and salty and a little bitter from the soda. Not a fan. But I went ahead and made it anyways, and boy am I glad I did! It is cakelike, but with a thicker crust, and less sweet. I added cinnamon and golden raisins instead of caraway and raisins... I don't have caraway in the spice cabinet, and I prefer golden raisins. It is FANTASTIC served with butter toasted. Super good! I will definitely make it again and I'm contemplating trying to turn it into french toast... hmm.. we'll see!
Irish Soda Bread
2.5 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes, room temperature
1 1/4 cups raisins
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (I used milk with vinegar, buttermilk had succumbed to spoilage)
3/4 large egg
Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter 9 in cake pan. Whisk first 5 ingredients and cinnamon in large bowl to blend. Add butter; using fingertips, rub in until coarse crumbs form. Stir in raisins. Whisk buttermilk and egg in measuring cup to blend. Add to dough; using silicone spatula, stir just until well incorporated (dough will be very sticky).
Transfer dough to prepared pan. Bake until bread is cooked through and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Cool bread in skillet 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap tightly in foil; store at room temperature.) Serve toasted with a generous application of butter!
Lastly, I would like to shout out Bev's Ice Cream, here in Richmond, Va, for a Samoas ice cream that really made my rainy Saturday special!!! Bev's is a local ice cream shop that makes in store all sorts of delicious ice cream flavors and other yummy desserts. It's the perfect way to end a meal! They have a standard set of about 12 or so flavors, then featured flavors of ice cream, sorbet, sugar free, etc. It is a gem of a place, worth every penny! This Samoas ice cream was homemade chocolate ice cream, caramel, coconut and chunks of samoa cookies. DELICIOUS!

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