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Make your Own Shamrock Shake and other St. Patrick's Day Sweets

Shamrock shake.jpgIt’s about that time of year when a few, lucky states get the Shamrock Shake and the rest of us just get another, Shamrock-less McDonald’s.   You could sulk or plan a layover in Utah for a green milkshake, or you could just make one at home with milk, ice cream, and food dye.   This year, we’ve gotten more creative and healthy with our food coloring by adding mint, spinach, or an extra thick shake with avocado.   You can easily turn this extra thick concoction into a grasshopper milkshake by adding a few teaspoons of creme de menthe.   Matcha green tea powder and ground pistachios work well too.

  • Beer on St. Patrick’s Day is one of those unspoken rules, but there’s more than one way to enjoy it, like an icy, beer granita.  We found  a recipe for one in Alice Medrich’s cookbook, Pure Dessert.  Take 1 cup of  flat light ale or pilsner, and combine with 1/4 cup,  2 tbsp. water and 3 tbsp. sugar.  Mix to dissolve the sugar, and freeze for an hour until it becomes firm.  Scrape the granita mixture with a fork and return to the freezer.  Repeat this two times, or until the ice crystals are fluffy.  Serve in bowls with vanilla or peanut butter ice cream. 

  • You can also transform a foamy mug of Guinness into an ice cream float.   Our  favorite combination is a scoop of peanut butter ice cream in a tall glass of Guinness or stout, but caramel, chocolate, and butter pecan ice cream do the trick just as well.    The finishing touch is a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toffee peanuts.

  • People drink Bailey’s Irish cream all year round, but it’s especially popular for St. Patrick’s Day desserts.  Bailey’s happens to be the perfect foil for vanilla or chocolate ice cream.  You can even douse a flourless chocolate cake in one to cut the sweetness.

  • Irish soda bread seems to be losing its steam over the past few years.  Perhaps it’s all the raisins, or the dry texture.  Here’s a solution:  Toast two thick slices of Irish soda bread.  Take softened ice cream (vanilla or cinnamon works best) and spread it on both pieces of toast.  Then, spread jam, marmalade, or chocolate ganache on each slab of ice cream toast.  Stick the two together, and you’ve got an “Irish Klondike Bar.”   You can even use the ice cream-smeared bread to make French toast for St. Patty’s Day breakfast.   

  •   Nothing’s more quintessentially Irish than potatoes, but you wouldn’t think to use it to make candy.  According to Hershey’s Chocolate Cookbook, it’s the perfect base for candy.  This is one of the quickest, easiest recipes we’ve come across to date.   Take 1 medium potato, mashed, with ½ tsp. salt and 1 tsp. vanilla, and combine.  Gradually beat in 1/3 c. cocoa and 4 ½ c confectioners’ sugar until the mixture is stiff.  Roll the mixture into balls, and chill on a baking sheet until firm.  You can dip in chocolate or cinnamon sugar to make them look like real potatoes, or just eat plain.   

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