Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Irish Cream tastes like Irish Cream

I've done better at baking, I HAVE. See this cake?? I made it almost two weeks ago as a tester for a work potluck! It was BEFORE St. Patty's, I promise. I just never got around to posting. It's been a busy few weeks.

So in my search for Irish and/or St. Patty's themed food, I came across an insanely high rated Irish Cream cake at All Recipes. Sounded promising. I made it with minor adjustments (an angel food pan instead of Bundt so the top was flat and could be dressed prettier) and dug in with high hopes. Yeah, it tasted like alcohol. Okay, not ENTIRELY. Actually, the second day, the alcohol in the glaze and cake was much more subtle and the cake had absorbed most of the glaze to make it nice and moist. But there was still Irish cream in it. I don't know what I was expecting; it's an IRISH CREAM CAKE. Now, I enjoy my liquor as much as the next gal but there's just something about mixing certain desserts and alcohol. I didn't love it. But those I tested it on thought it was quite nice. So maybe I'm a harsh critic.

If you like a little bite to a moist cake, this one will hit the spot.

Source: All Recipes, by Sue Haser

1 cup chopped pecans
1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
4 eggs
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Irish cream liqueur
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease and flour a 10 inch angel food (or bundt) pan. Sprinkle chopped nuts evenly over bottom of pan.

In a large bowl, combine cake mix and pudding mix. Mix in eggs, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup oil and 1 cup Irish cream liqueur. Beat for 5 minutes at high speed. Pour batter over nuts in pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then invert onto the serving dish. Prick top and sides of cake; I used a chopstick for larger holes. Spoon glaze over top and brush onto sides of cake. Allow to absorb glaze repeat until all glaze is used up.

To make the glaze: In a saucepan, combine butter, 1/4 cup water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup Irish cream. If it looks curdled, whisk quickly until glaze becomes smooth.

Sprinkle extra chopped pecans on top for decorative dressing.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Making Coffee ~Irish

Okay, not REALLY. I mean, I could've added some whiskey to my coffee but, ew. Whiskey's not my scene. Not that this Bailey's Irish Cream coffee IS, but I had to try it, at least once. I envisioned something a little sweeter, I suppose (and added some sugar to it anyway). Alas, alcohol still tastes like alcohol in coffee. Now, I like coffee and I like drinking but, to me, the two shouldn't mix. It's just weird. I'm very picky about my coffee. ~Flavors in it (aside from the occasional mocha) just get in the way. I'll take my Americano, thank you very much.

But, for those wondering, this was simply a straight cup of fresh brew with Bailey's Irish Cream substituted for cream and a teaspoon of sugar. And whipped cream on top. To those of you who enjoy a kick to your coffee, I say, Go crazy!

March is rolling along nicely, isn't it? :)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Soft Sugar Cooks

OKAY, well, there's my green; my March obligation is fulfilled! I KID. I'm planning more, trust.

I like to bake junk to thank people for being awesome to me. Or just to give because I like them. Or if it's a day ending in Y. I like giving bakery to people, okay? So a friend loaned me a TV series on DVD some time LAST YEAR. It got shuffled around in my house and shelved and I never got around to it. I pine for my loaned out DVDs sometimes so I had to make her a thank you for putting up with my forgetfulness. You can't really go wrong with straight-forward sugar cookies.

I planned to make a recipe another friend gave me. Naturally, I misplaced it (hey, like the DVD!), so I started rifling around in my saved recipes. This one caught my eye, even though it's from All Recipes, because it proclaims it's a "State Fair Blue Ribbon winner". WELL. I'm intrigued.

I love soft cookies in general so I was on board for this. They never browned up so I worried a little as I watched them in the oven but the called for 12+ minutes past with nary an edge browning. Turns out, they were perfect: lightly crispy on the outside and soft/chewy near the middle. I passed them out and everyone loved them! I later warmed them up a little in the microwave at half power for 30 seconds and woo wee. WARM COOKIES ARE TEH BEST. With a glass of milk, these are kind of perfect!

Submitted by Laura Stearns, All Recipes.com

2/3 cup shortening
2/3 cup butter
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and sugar. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt, stir into the creamed mixture until dough comes together. Roll dough into walnut sized balls and roll the balls in sugar. Place them on an unprepared cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Flatten lightly with bottom of glass.

Bake cookies 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until bottom is light brown. Remove from baking sheets to cool on wire racks.