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TIP OF THE DAY: Bake Shamrock Cookies For St. Patrick’s Day

Shamrock Cookies

Bite me, I’m Irish. Shamrock cookies from Elenis.com.

 

Make St. Pat’s cookies: You’ve got plenty of time to find a shamrock cookie cutter before the St. Patrick’s Day festivities begin.

Then, bake up a batch of delicious butter cookies. If you don’t have a shamrock cookie cutter, you can default to regular shapes with green décor.

Use your own favorite recipe, or try this butter cookie recipe from King Arthur Flour.

  • Unless you need to use margarine for dietary reasons, always use fresh butter—not a bar that’s been sitting in the refrigerator for a month, picking up flavors from other foods.
  • You can also use the shamrock cookie cutter to make shamrock toasts for hors d’oeuvres, shamrock pancakes and even vegetable cut-outs.
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    If you don’t want to bake St. Pat’s cookies, your market will be more than happy to sell you some.

     
      

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    RECIPE: “Dublin Delight” St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail

    St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail
    Skip the green beer, have a green Grey Goose cocktail, the “Dublin Delight.”
      Don’t color the beer green at your St. Patrick’s Day party. Let the beer drinkers enjoy fine craft beer in the golden color it should be. Those who want a vodka cocktail can go green with a Dublin Delight from Grey Goose Vodka. It was specially created to abet drinkin ‘o the green by master mixologist, Nick Mautone, author of Raising the Bar (“Better Drinks, Better Entertaining”). Starting with Grey Goose Vodka’s popular Le Citron lemon-flavored vodka, the ingredients include kiwi, simple syrup, a sprig of mint, a small piece of vanilla pod and a splash of club soda.

    It’s not as simple as pouring tonic water into the gin, but once you make up a pitcher, it’s smooth sailing—and you have something memorable for your guests.

    – Read the full Dublin Delight recipe.

    – Find more seasonal cocktails in the Cocktails Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

     

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Pound Cake Day

    Vanilla Pound Cake

    Lemon Pound  Cake

    Top: Vanilla pound cake with a lemon glaze from Spice Islands. Bottom: Cut view of a similar recipe from Baked NYC.

     

    A pound cake is a loaf cake, although some people make them in Bundt pans.

    The original pound cake, buttery and moist, recipe was made with one pound each of butter, flour, sugar and eggs (that’s about eight eggs), plus flavoring—hence the name.

    Vanilla or lemon are the classic pound cake flavors, but quite a few variations have evolved through the years—adding buttermilk, cream cheese or sour cream to the batter, as well as every flavoring under the sun (amaretto, Black Forest, blood orange, cappuccino, caramel turtle, chocolate/white chocolate, chocolate chip, coconut-macadamia, Grand Marnier, Key lime, peanut butter, pecan, and so on). Others add fruit or a fruit swirl.

    Some pound cake recipes on THE NIBBLE:

  • Grilled Pound Cake
  • Meyer Lemon & Ginger Pound Cake
  • Peanut Butter Pound Cake
  • Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bundt
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    POUND CAKE HISTORY

    The original recipe, developed in England in the 1700s, made a very large and dense cake. By the mid-1800s, the ingredient proportions had been adjusted to make a smaller, lighter cake.

    The British pound cake is actually a fruit cake containing currants, raisins, sultanas (golden raisins) and glacé cherries. Pound cakes were the traditional wedding cakes.

    Since the ingredients are so simple, it’s hard to make a bad pound cake—just use the freshest eggs and butter you can find, real vanilla extract, and don’t over-bake.

     
    Pound cakes are so easy to make—why not whip one up to celebrate National Pound Cake Day?

    While a plain piece of pound cake is a joy, some added whipped cream, berries, vanilla ice cream or the full monte—a pound cake hot fudge sundae—makes the occasion even more joyous.

     
      

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Mulled Wine Day

    You’ve heard of mulled wine, you say, but you don’t really know what it is? You’re not alone. So we’ll take a moment on National Mulled Wine Day to give you some information to mull over, as well as recipes for mulled wine and its Scandinavian cousin, glögg (pronounced glugg—add Aquivit or vodka along with the brandy, plus almonds and raisins). For those who don’t drink alcohol (or for the kids), there’s also a recipe for mulled apple cider. The basics: Take a modest red wine and add water, brandy, spices and some sugar or honey. Simmer on the stove top (read the recipe) and serve in mugs. Glass mugs are preferable, since, as with any wine, one likes to enjoy the color of the beverage. But any mug will do. (If you’re going to buy glass mugs, we love the double-walled Bistro series from Bodum. They’re beautiful, keep the beverage hot longer and don’t require a coaster because the double wall keeps the heat and moisture raised above your tabletop.)   Mulled Wine
    A cinnamon stick for garnish is optional.
    The word “mull,” referring to sweetening, spicing and heating of wine or ale, has been traced back to 1610 or so. Wine and ale often went bad; by adding spices and honey (sugar was not widely available for another two centuries), it could be made drinkable again. Almost every European country has its version of mulled wine (even the French make vin chaud), and it is popular in South America as well—today as a comforting drink, not to cover up bad booze. The spicy-sweet aroma of the mulling wine will fill your home—it’s the beverage equivalent of baking cookies. You can buy premixed mulling spices in a specialty food store or spice shop (or even in some supermarkets); or you can measure out a little allspice, some dried orange rind (a.k.a. orange peel) and a few whole cloves into a muslin pouch or spice ball (add peppercorns if you’re into pepper, and star anise if you have it), and throw a few cinnamon sticks into the brew. Historical note: The holiday wassail bowl of yore was a mulled ale, flavored with cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg, topped with slices of toast (think croutons). The wassail served at today’s Medieval holiday reenactments is likely to be mulled cider, to accommodate modern palates. Find more drink recipes for entertaining in the Cocktails Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine.

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    TODAY IN FOOD: It’s National Banana Creme Pie Day

    White Chocolate Banana Tart
    This white chocolate banana tart, scrumptious in and of itself, has been accessorized with a chocolate straw, a miniature cookie, fresh raspberries and a mint sprig. Recipe and photograph courtesy of El Rey Chocolate.
      It’s National Banana Creme Pie Day. As we were going through our recipes, we found this one for a White Chocolate Banana Tart, which is far more interesting (sorry the photo isn’t better). It’s made with El Rey’s Icoa white chocolate, which many people feel is the finest white chocolate made (Icoa was a native goddess). However, it’s hard to find, so buy any top-quality white chocolate bar. Be sure to read the ingredients label: If the words “vegetable oil” appear, steer clear!—it’s imitation chocolate, and won’t taste so good. Look for the words “cocoa butter.”
    Tart Dough Ingredients
    • 7 tablespoons lightly salted butter, at room temperature
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 1-3/4 cup all purpose flour, sifted
    Tart Dough Directions

    1. Cream the sugar and butter using the paddle attachment, until light and fluffy.
    2. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix until combined, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl.
    3. Add the flour. Mix until combined. Refrigerate at least one hour before rolling out.
    4. Roll out the tart dough. Using tart pans that have been sprayed with baker’s spray, line each tart pan with dough. NOTE: After tart dough has been rolled out, it can be chilled for at least an hour and re-rolled. After the dough has been re-rolled once, discard it.
    5. Poke shells with a fork and bake at 350°F for 10 minutes, or until golden brown.Pastry Cream Ingredients
    • 1-1/3 cups whole milk
    • 1/2 vanilla bean
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
    • 1 envelope gelatin, softened in 1/4 cup water and melted
    • 4 ounces El Rey Icoa or other top quality white chocolate, finely chopped
    • 2 ripe bananas, puréed

    Pastry Cream Directions
    1. Whisk together eggs, sugar and corn starch.
    2. Bring the milk to a boil, with the vanilla bean scraped into it. At the boiling point, add some of the hot milk to the egg/sugar mixture and whisk together.
    3. When the milk boils, stir in the egg mixture and lower the heat to medium. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until custard thickens and begins to pull from the side of the pot.
    4. In a stainless steel bowl, pour the custard on top of the white chocolate. Whisk together until the chocolate is melted. Stir in the butter. Add the melted gelatin and whisk together.
    5. Add the puréed banana. Cool in an ice water bath. Refrigerate until needed.

    Assembling The Banana Tarts
    Ingredients

    • 1 recipe banana-white chocolate pastry cream (above), chilled
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 1/3 cup sugar
    • 4 bananas
    • Optional garnishes: raspberries, mint leaves, chocolate straws, miniature cookies

    Assembly Directions
    1. Whip the heavy cream and sugar until stiff.
    2. Whisk the chilled banana pastry cream.
    3. Fold 2/3 of the whipped cream into the banana pastry cream. Reserve the remaining whipped cream for garnish.
    4. Fill each tart shell with banana pastry cream.
    5. Using a propane torch or the broiler in your oven, brown the sliced bananas.
    6. Arrange the bananas around the inside edge of the tarts.
    7. Using a pastry bag, pipe a rosette of whipped cream in the center of each tart. If you do not have a pastry bag, scoop a dollop of whipped cream into the center of each tart.
    8. Garnish with raspberries, mint leaves, chocolate and cookies and serve.

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