Happy St Patrick’s Day!

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick’s Day this year was definitely different from years past, but still a lot of fun! The first difference? I decorated kind of a little. Now that we’ve got a little guy, he inspires me to do a little more for holidays to make them special and fun. Not that he notices decorations, at all lol.

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The next difference? I was actually sober at the Albany St Patrick’s Day parade lol. Alex was working, so Max and I went to the parade with Mer and her family. Her kids were so excited for the parade and we had a great time! Max really enjoyed the bands – he bounced up and down in my arms, dancing to the music as bands passed us by. He seemed to really enjoy the parade (as much as a one year old can enjoy a parade lol) and I’m glad we went!

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I made Irish Car Bomb cupcakes again this year and thankfully I haven’t eaten all of them (yet). I wanted to bring a bunch to Alex at work last night, but they had a fire and by the time they were back at the station, I had put Max to bed and couldn’t go anywhere. These cupcakes are so freaking good, they shouldn’t be allowed. I was bored late last night, so I made some adorable flags from some toothpicks and washi tape. I think the turned out really cute!

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Today, we had lunch with Nina at Buffalo Wild Wings. Max enjoyed a Guinness (stress toy to chew on):

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After lunch, Max went to Grandma’s house to hang out (and should have napped, but he wasn’t too into it…), while Alex and I went to Power’s Irish Pub to have a drink with some friends:

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So we did have a bit of the typical St Paddy’s Day – Guinnesses in an overly crowded bar! We had corned beef and cabbage with the family before we came home and everyone crashed. Napless Max went right to bed when we got home, and Alex has been passed out on the couch for about an hour. Good times!

Beeramisu? Yes, please!

Apparently, it’s Guinness Week at Serious Eats and I approve. If you know me, you know I
So, needless to say, I was very happy to see that it’s Guinness Week at Serious Eats – my favorite food blog. This recipe for “Beeramisu” looks incredible. Take my favorite beer and my favorite dessert and combine them and it looks like you’ve got heaven. I’m pretty psyched to try this out – I may actually do it Wednesday night so we can enjoy it for dessert on St. Patrick’s day. I’ll be sure to post a follow up if/when I do try it out.

But for now, I’ll just stare at the picture and drool.

Amplify’d from www.seriouseats.com

Guinness Week: Beeramisu

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This take on Tiramisu strays pretty far from the traditional. It calls for Guinness and Irish Cream instead of coffee and Marsala, but the requisite creamy, soft layers will surely please anyone crazy for this Italian dessert.

This version also leaves out the egg-based zabaglione, which means it’s seriously easy to put together. But take note, this dessert is best if it hangs out in the fridge overnight so it can properly set up and really go to town soaking those ladyfingers.

Like coffee would, the Guinness adds a hint of bitterness to balance the sweetness, and its malty, chocolatey, coffee notes are the perfect pair with sweet Irish Cream and smooth mascarpone.

Read more at www.seriouseats.com

Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes are the bomb.

Mmmm Irish Car Bomb Cupcake

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes since I saw it on Serious Eats (via a guest post from Cakespy) a year ago. I guess the original recipe is from Smitten Kitchen and now that I’ve worked backwards to make sure that I give credit for the recipe where credit is due, I kind of wish I’d visited that original page before I made the cupcakes because I really like the way she did the frosting and I totally could have done that tonight. Ah well – next time. :)

My Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (yes, I’m calling them Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes because that’s what the drink is called that they’re named after and I guess it could be considered offensive but I don’t see them changing the name of the drink anytime soon so I’ll continue to call the cupcakes that so folks know what they’re getting into when they eat the cupcakes) came out great – I was a little nervous about making them because there were so many steps involved. I did make a mess and they did take longer than I thought they would, but they were pretty worth it.

Here’s the recipe for Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes (via Serious Eats, via Cakespy, via Smitten Kitchen):

INGREDIENTS
For the cupcakes:
* 1 cup stout (such as Guinness)
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 2 cups flour
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 2 large eggs
* 2/3 cup sour cream (full fat is best)
For the filling:
* 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
* 1/3 cup heavy cream
* 1/3 cup Bailey’s Irish Cream (the original recipe calls for 2/3 heavy cream and no Bailey’s in the filling, but I found it increased the awesome quotient just a little bit)
* 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
* 1 to 2 teaspoons Irish whiskey
For the frosting
* Note: If you want lots of frosting on each cake, go ahead and double this recipe
* 3 to 4 cups confections’ sugar
* 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 3 to 4 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream (or more, to taste)

  1. Get ready: pre-heat oven to 350°F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners.
  2. Bring 1 cup stout and 1 cup butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
  3. In a separate large bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
  4. In another large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just until combined.
  5. Add the dry mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined.
  6. Divide batter among cupcake liners, filling them 2/3 to 3/4 of the way (I found that they don’t rise an incredible amount, so it was OK to fill them pretty close to the top). Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, rotating them once front to back if your oven bakes unevenly. The original recipe suggested 17 minutes, but I found it took more like 20 minutes. Cool cupcakes on a rack completely.
  7. While your cupcakes cool, go ahead and make the filling. Chop the chocolate into coarse but roughly even pieces, and transfer it to a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until it is simmering (but not boiling) and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for about a minute and then stir until smooth. (Note: Per the original recipe, if this has not sufficiently melted the chocolate, you can return it to a double-boiler or give it 20 seconds in the microwave to help the chocolate get sufficiently melty.) Add the butter, Irish Cream, and whiskey and stir until combined.
  8. Make space for the filling. … You want to cut halfway to 2/3 of the way down–not too far down or your filling might ooze out the bottom. You don’t want to lose a single drop.
  9. Fill the cupcakes. You can pipe in the filling, or if it is still pretty smooth and fluid, you can just spoon it in.
  10. Make the frosting. In an electric mixer, mix the butter on medium speed until it is very fluffy. Whip the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, for several minutes. You want to get it very light and fluffy. Slowly add the confectioners’ sugar, starting with a few tablespoons at a time of your sugar until the frosting looks thick enough to spread (for me, this was about 2 cups). At this point, add in the Irish Cream and whip it until combined. Beat in as much or as little of the remaining confectioners’ sugar until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.
  11. Frost your cupcakes. If you want to get fancy, pipe the frosting on top in swirls or whirls—but if you just want to eat the cupcakes, frost using a spatula, garnish with a little something green, and get eating.

You should definitely check out the post at Serious Eats for some pictures of the cupcakes in progress and for the results if you’re impatient and don’t wait for the cupcakes to cool before you fill them.

I found the recipe pretty easy to follow. I’ve been so used to baking cookies lately that the batter came together much quicker than I thought it would and I definitely mixed it more than the recipe called for doing. I don’t think it had any negative affect on the cupcakes, though. The entire process took me about 2.5 hours to do – something to note for next time. I bet it won’t take me as long next time… but it’s definitely not a quick recipe. I used a melon-baller to cut holes in the cupcake to put the filling and that seemed to work out perfectly. Speaking of the filling, I didn’t read the recipe close enough before I went for the store and didn’t buy any heavy cream. I didn’t have any Bailey’s at home, either, but I knew that before I left for the store and, when the liquor store turned out to be closed, I bought some Bailey’s Irish Cream Creamer (which I had a coupon for – woot!) and used that instead. Since I neglected to buy heavy cream, my filling was made with all Irish Cream (Creamer).

See that chocolately goodness by the liner? That's some rogue filling.

The frosting was very straightforward to make. Since I suck at spreading frosting on cupcakes and cakes (and anything else one might frost), I thought I’d dig out my battery operated cookie press with filling attachment to frost the cupcakes. This was a good idea in that my frosting, once I got the hang of controlling the output, looked semi-semi-pro. Unfortunately, it took me a bit to get the hang of filling the press and regulating the output of the frosting – so some cupcakes got mega-frosted and some looked like they had weak poo-piles of frosting. (Mmm, what an appetizing comparison!) Note to self for next time: that frosting will come out much quicker than cookie dough!

Mmmm... Buttery, Irish Creamy Frosting.

I don’t know if it was because I used Creamer and not full-on-alcohol, but my cupcakes did not taste like the “boozy Irish-themed cupcakes” they were described as. I mean, they tasted great (I got rave reviews all around for them), but they didn’t scream Irish Car Bomb – which actually makes me feel like I can bring some to Alex at work or some into my office without being accused of bringing “inappropriate cupcakes”. Even if they’re not “boozy” cupcakes, they’re still really good cupcakes. Very sweet cupcakes – but non-sweet cupcakes are evil (I mean, they sit there looking all sweet and yummy and then you bite into it and it’s just a waste of calories).

Next time I make these, I’ll make sure to have actual Bailey’s Irish Cream on hand (though the creamer was a pretty decent substitute). I’ll also make sure to wear an apron whenever I bake in the future because OHMYGOD I made a mess. I bought some green food coloring and I have some green sugar, so I’ll probably tint the frosting green on at least half of the cupcakes to make for a more festive appearance. If you’re looking for a sweet St Patrick’s Day treat (and Guinness Balls don’t do it for you lol), I’d recommend giving these cupcakes a try!

Parade Day 2011

Yesterday was the St Patrick’s Parade day and, of course, we went out for it. Can’t break a 10+ year tradition! I had a fab day. Alex worked a 24 Friday, so when he got home at about 8:30am, he relaxed a bit before we went anywhere. We started the morning off with the party at the AFD union hall where we met up with Steve & Danielle, Rob & Danielle, and the Gonyos. We enjoyed Guinness and watched Hair of the Dog who were there playing in a tent next to the hall. I was pysched because I knew that their shows that evening were sold out and I didn’t expect to be able to see them yesterday. We haven’t been to that party in about 7 years or maybe more (omg we’re old) and it’s gotten *huge*. Last time we were there, HOTD was playing on the stereo and this year they were playing there live – LOL! It was a really crowded party and folks were drunk really early in the AM, but we had an awesome time.

Parade Gear: Union T-Shirt, Green Beads, and Silver Tiger Patterned Rain Boots

After the party we went downtown to where the parade route ends and ate lunch at The Pump Station where the pipe bands come after marching in the parade and play. A very cool tradition of ours that we were happy to keep going – unfortunately we got there too early to see the pipers play. Ah well.

Alex contemplating his beer at the Pump Station.

Our day ended earlier than we expected owing to our having to head back home early to drop off Alex’s friend, Eli, who turned into a pumpkin at 5pm. We thought we’d be able to catch up with folks later out locally (after a nap), but it turned out most people weren’t out later on. We ended up having dinner just the two of us at a Cajun restaurant, Cafe NOLA, where there was a Blues trio playing. The food, atmosphere, and music were good and it was a nice end to the night.

Blues trio at Cafe NOLA

Overall, it was a pretty awesome day – capped off by the fact that even though I consumed a lot of points, I tracked them *all* AND I still have 26 weeklies remaining! Win!

Today is a lazy Sunday. I made us breakfast from my leftovers from lunch yesterday. I brought home half a reuben and some sweet potato fries. I removed the innards of the sandwich and chopped them up along with the fries and a small onion and fried all that up (in cooking spray). Then I made sunny side up eggs for Alex and over medium eggs for me and served them with my “reuben and sweet potato fries hash”. It turned out pretty good! Alex is making Corned Beef and Cabbage for dinner and I’m going to make Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes for dessert – so it’ll be a very St Patty’s day dinner. :)