Because I'm so obsessed with St. Patrick's Day, you all get a two-for-one recipe special on the blog today! I'm one of those people that enjoys St. Patty's Day because they like to pretend they are more Irish than they actually are. This sense is buoyed by the fact that I have genetically inherited several Irish traits. For example, for a school project at age 11 I wrote a story about a family emigrating to escape the Irish potato famine (what kind of child writes about the potato famine?) Additionally, I have an unnatural love for potatoes and I actually enjoy boiled cabbage. I also love to drink. I can impersonate an Irish accent and can tell the difference between Irish and Scottish accents. I also own a thatched-roof dairy farm near the Cliffs of Moher where I raise my own sheep to produce artisanal cheeses. Okay, maybe not that last one. But I am Irish, I swear! In all honesty, my maternal grandmother's maiden name was Slattery (which is about as Irish as you can get, short of O'Slattery) but our nearest born-in-Ireland ancestor arrived in America roughly 150 years ago. Sooo we don't exactly have ties to the old country.
But that's what St. Patrick's Day is for! A day when everyone is Irish. And drunk. As for holiday recipes, I've purposefully avoided anything green but I have given in to making Irish Soda Bread. To balance out the fact that every food blogger and their mother will be making Irish Soda Bread today, I have also made Irish Cream Brownies. At least Irish Soda Bread actually has some Celtic ties, whereas corned beef is not truly Irish. But that's ok, on this day, no matter what your heritage, go ahead and dig out that hideously too tight green Abercrombie polo shirt from college, find the nearest "Irish pub" and raise a stein of green beer to St. Patrick. And, when you're hungover, line your tummy with yummy Irish Soda bread and remember that the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is still making it to work on time Wednesday morning.
Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsps baking powder
1 tsp salt
4 Tbs unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
2 cups golden raisins (or regular)
1 egg plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs with a few large clumps remaining (may want to use hands). Fold in raisins.
2. In a bowl, whisk together the whole egg, buttermilk and baking soda. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture; using a spatula, fold in, working in all directions and incorporating the crumbs at the bottom of the bowl, until dough just comes together (may need to add a couple more Tbs of buttermilk). With your hands, form the dough into a round, domed loaf about 8" in diameter. Gently life the dough from the bowl and transfer to the prepared sheet.
3. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg yolk with cream; brush over the loaf. With a sharp knife, cut a cross 3/4" deep in the top center of the loaf. Bake, rotating halfway through, 55 min- 1hr 10 min.
Irish Cream Brownies
1 cup butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate (Baker's brand)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Irish Cream Swirl
2 8-oz pkgs cream cheese (room temp)
1/3 cup sugar
3 Tbs Irish Cream liqueur
For the brownies: Place butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9 pan with foil coated with cooking spray.
Beat sugar and eggs together in a medium bowl with handmixer until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add flour and sugar gradually. Fold in the melted chocolate mixture.
For the filling: Combine cream cheese and sugar in another medium bowl. Beat until creamy. Add egg and liqueur and beat.
Pour half of the chocolate mixture into the pan. Spread all of the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate (this may get messy, that's ok). Cover with the remaining chocolate mixture and smooth. If desired, swirl layers together with a knife for a marbled effect. Bake 30-40 minutes.