Thursday, March 15, 2012

it ain't easy being green

Saint Patrick's Day is almost here! Are you enjoying any festive foods? Are they tradition Irish foods or just oddly colored normal foods?
I'm sharing one of each with you today! I'll start with my favorite version of soda bread.
The recipe couldn't be easier, and it is incredibly delicious!

Soda Bread
4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
10 tablespoons butter softened - but not melted
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup raisins (totally optional!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking soda, salt and first 2 tablespoons of sugar. With your hands, work in butter until it is well blended. Stir the buttermilk in, I like to use a fork. It comes together into a nice shaggy dough. This is when you'll add in the raisins if you're including them.
Separate it into two loaves, place on a baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes. When you poke it with a skewer, you should feel resistance. It shouldn't feel gummy.

Grasshopper Cake

Vanilla cake:
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. With an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until fluffy then add in vegetable oil. Continue to beat until doubled in bulk and it is white and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl mix together dry ingredients. Add the vanilla to the milk. Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk mixture to the sugar mixture. Don't over mix.

Chocolate Ganache:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
9 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips

In a saucepan, heat the cream and butter until it almost boils. Remove it from the heat and mix in chocolate chips. Let cool

Mint Frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
4 egg whites
1 1/2 cups butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon mint extract

In a heavy saucepan mix together 3/4 cup sugar and water. Boil until it reaches soft ball stage, 230-240 degrees. While waiting for sugar, beat together egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until foamy in a stand mixer. With the mixer on medium speed, pour the hot sugar into the egg whites. Do this very carefully! Pour it down the side of the bowl. Beat on high speed until the side of the bowl is room temperature. Add in the butter and continue to beat until it comes together. Add in vanilla and mint. Color as desired.

Layer the cake then chocolate ganache and top with mint frosting. Yum!

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