St. Patrick’s Day is a fun day that we celebrate before the arrival of the beautiful days of spring. It started out as a religious holiday and over time it became a celebration of Irish culture. We associate the color green with the day – with green clover symbols, green drinks and green foods. A legend claims that wearing green makes you invisible to mischievous leprechauns.
Serving green treats and meals on St. Patrick’s Day is traditional. I’ve limited this column to a few easy, green recipes to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Prepare a homemade green Shamrock shake. Its sweet, slightly minty flavor is a perfect treat made with simple ingredients; not a lot of additives and high fructose corn syrup. Top the shake with whipped cream and green sprinkles.
Simple St. Patrick’s Day Shake
2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
¼ cup heavy whipped cream
1 C. mint extract (not peppermint)
7 to 8 drops of green food coloring
Additional whipped cream for topping
Green vermicelli for decoration
In a blender, add vanilla ice cream, milk, ¼ cup heavy whipping cream, mint extract, and green food coloring. Mix until well blended. Add more milk if needed. Pour into a serving glass and garnish with prepared whipping cream and green sprinkles. 1 serving.
Popcorn is a fun snack and this easy recipe is fun to make for St. Patrick’s Day. It really is green candied caramel popcorn.
St. Patrick’s Day Popcorn
½ cup packed brown sugar
8 to 10 drops of green food coloring
Place the popped popcorn in a large roasting pan to keep warm in a 250 degree oven. Combine the sugars, water, corn syrup and vinegar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until a candy thermometer registers 250 degrees (hard ball stage). Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Stir in food coloring, slowly increasing amount to desired color. Drizzle with hot popcorn and toss to coat well. Costs. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container. 20-24 servings.
This brownie recipe is delicious, moist and chewy and has a spearmint topping that makes them perfect for St. Patrick’s Day. The mint filling is easy to prepare and melts in your mouth. You can use brownie mix to save time.
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
2 cups sifted icing sugar
4 tbsp. green mint cream
(or use green food coloring and a dash of peppermint extract)
6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9×13 pan. Melt the baking chocolate and 1 cup butter over simmering water in a double boiler or use the microwave to check that it melts. Cool slightly. In medium bowl, whisk eggs until blended, then add 2 cups sugar; whisk until mixture is light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate, vanilla and flour. Continue whisking until well blended. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Let the brownies cool.
Do the filling: Using a mixer on medium speed, beat together ½ cup butter and icing sugar until blended. Add the crème de menthe and mix well. Spread over cooled brownies. Refrigerate until filling is firm.
Make the icing: Melt chocolate chips and 6 Tbsp. butter, microwave stirring smooth util. Pour hot frosting over filling and tilt pan to evenly distribute frosting. Refrigerate until chocolate hardens. Let the brownies come to room temperature to cut through the chocolate so it doesn’t crack. 24 brownies.
If you love classic rueben sandwiches, you can make this quick and easy appetizer recipe. The recipe works best if you use the largest crescent rolls to hold all the filling. Drain the sauerkraut and squeeze out the liquid. Be sure to press the dough seams together otherwise the cheese will leak out. You can replace the corned beef with pastrami or turkey pastrami.
8 oz package of refrigerated croissants
1 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained and chopped
1 tbsp. Thousand Island Dressing
4 slices of melted Swiss cheese, cut into ½-inch strips
8 slices deli corned beef (thinly sliced)
Separate the croissant dough into eight triangles. Combine sauerkraut and dressing. Place two strips of cheese on the short side of each triangle. Fold corned beef slices in half; spoon over cheese. Top with sauerkraut mixture. Roll up each short side up and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. 8 servings.
– Bev Barrett is a retired family and consumer science teacher who lives in Litchfield and operates the 4B’z event center in Litchfield. Her Baking with Bev column appears in the independent magazine every two weeks.