With one week to go, it's time to debate who wins the title of the best Easter candy. For me, it's a close call between the Cadbury Creme Egg or the Cadbury Mini Eggs, but the Mini Eggs are winning by a small margin. The Mini Eggs are down right dangerous to have around the house. I've noticed that Cadbury has come out with a variety of flavors, but the classic milk chocolate is the way to go. I'm a huge dark chocolate fan and I was so excited to see a dark chocolate version of this favorite, but it just wasn't the same. The pastel candy shell just doesn't work as well with the dark chocolate, in my humble opinion, so I'm sticking with the classic.
With mini-eggs on the brain, I couldn't help but jump on the bandwagon of smashing them to add into baked goods. You don't have to look far on the internet these days to find these little darlings crushed up into cookies, cupcakes, brownies and more. Their pretty pastel colors add a festive Easter decor to your treats and the milk chocolate center is rich and creamy. This week, I made a brown butter cookie recipe to add to your Easter menu and these came out soooo good. One of my favorites. I can't eat just one. I used to hear about browning butter and wonder why I would want to add yet another step to baking cookies...until I tried it. I'm sure there is a fancy chemistry explanation that I'm not aware of, but my version of the argument for taking the extra few minutes to brown some butter in the recipe is super simple: it packs flavor. It kicks the buttery flavor in the cookies up a notch and it's. so. worth. it.
Whip up a batch of these festive Easter cookies to throw on the Easter buffet table and enjoy!
Brown Butter Cadbury Mini-egg Cookies
(makes approx. 2 1/2 dozen cookies)
-1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
-1/2 cup brown sugar
-1 cup sugar
-2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-2 cups flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-1 cup smashed Cadbury Mini-eggs
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Add 1/4 cup of the butter to a small pot and place on medium heat. Stir regularly until melted and continuously stir once it begins bubbling. Within 2-3 minutes you should see the butter turning brown in color and see brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. Once this occurs, remove from heat and stir again for 30 seconds to a minute and it's ready to use.
In a large bowl of a stand mixer, add the 1/4 cup brown butter, the 1/4 cup regular butter, the brown sugar and white sugar. Cream together on low to medium speed. Add in the 2 eggs, vanilla and continue to mix until incorporated. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking powder. With the mixer on low, slowly pour dry ingredients into bowl with the wet ingredients and stir until a cookie dough forms. Place the Cadbury Mini-eggs into a freezer bag and use a rolling pin to smash them into smaller pieces (this part is fun!). Fold the crushed up chocolate eggs into the cookie dough.
Using a mini-scooper or small spoon, scoop the dough onto a parchment paper lined baking tray and bake at 350 degrees for 11-12 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan for a couple of minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling. Let everyone in your family have one and then hide the rest!
Happy St. Patrick's Day! I love the celebration of all things Irish and today I'm sharing a healthier donut by baking instead of frying and I've been playing with gluten free flour again. My kids gave these two Irish thumbs up. There's something about a chocolate glaze that makes all baked goods wonderful...and kids go crazy. These don't take long to come together, the donuts come together in one bowl, they're quick to bake, and may I suggest playing some Irish music while you decorate and enjoy!
Baked Gluten Free Bailey's Chocolate Donuts
(makes 6 donuts)
-4 tablespoons melted butter
-1/4 cup non-alcoholic Bailey's Irish Cream Coffee Creamer
-1/2 cup coconut sugar (you can substitute regular sugar if you prefer, but I find that the coffee creamer adds sweetness also)
-1/2 teaspoon almond extract
-1 cup gluten free flour (I'm loving Bob's Red Mill 1:1 GF Flour)
-1/2 cup cacao powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon espresso powder
Glaze & Decoration Ingredients
-1/2 cup powder sugar
-3 tablespoons cacao powder
-4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream Coffee Creamer
-1/4 cup green candy melts
-Green sprinkles or decorating sugar
Spray 6 wells of a donut pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix the eggs, butter, creamer, coconut sugar and almond extract in a bowl by hand. Add in the flour, cacao, salt, baking powder and espresso powder. Mix until a thick batter comes together. Using a spoon, scoop the batter into each of the donut wells and spread to fill the entire well. Lightly tap the donut pan on the counter to help the batter settle into the wells. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10-20 minutes (these donuts rise quite a bit).
Prepare the chocolate glaze by mixing the powdered sugar, cacao powder and coffee creamer until a glaze forms. Optional: melt 1/4 cup of green candy melts and place into a bottle, piping bag or just plan to use a spoon. Once the donuts have cooled, dip them one at a time in the chocolate glaze and then drizzle with the green chocolate and top with sprinkles or decorating sugar. The donuts are ready!
Have a great weekend!
This is the recipe that started it all for me: Grandma's Brown Bread. I grew up watching my mom regularly make this recipe and we were fortunate to get back to Ireland every few years to stay with family where I would watch my grandmother make this recipe. I have awesome grandmothers to always remember and two of the things that I most distinguish them by is their bread recipes. My mom's mom is Irish Brown Bread and my dad's mom is Irish Griddle Bread. Both breads are delicious, cozy and food for the soul and today's post is dedicated to my maternal grandmother's Irish Brown Bread recipe.
I knew my grandmother was amazing when I was growing up, but I didn't realize the extent of her amazing nature until I started my own little family. My grandmother lived on a beautiful little rural corner of County Wicklow in Ireland where she raised her fifteen kids. Yes, you read that right: fifteen....as in a decent size classroom of kids. I obviously didn't know her until my mother and the rest of her siblings were grown, but she was kind, funny, loving...and sane....even after raising fifteen kids, of which she did a lot of this on her own as my mother's father died when she was around ten years old. I don't think I have ever seen her lose her temper or get too worked up about anything and that is inspiration for me every single day. I'm fairly certain that she could have run a country.
From what my mother has taught me, this bread recipe was a staple in her house growing up. I swear that you could have blindfolded my grandmother, tied one hand behind her back, spun her around three times and she would still whip up a perfect loaf of this brown bread. The scent of fresh baked bread lightly mixed with Irish air pouring in through her kitchen windows is a memory held in my core. I think about this recipe often, but especially when St. Patrick's Day rolls around each year. This recipe is simple and it's definitely from the "little bit of this, little bit of that" baking school. I don't remember seeing my grandmother or mother using precise measurements when they baked bread, and I distinctly remember them "just knowing" when it was done...when it needed more flour...more milk. Over time, I've made this recipe enough and grabbed some advice from my mom that I think I've given enough details so that someone new could pick it up and enjoy some brown bread within an hour, but feel free to reach out with any questions. You'll still see some hints of my mom and grandma's old school directions here, which I love and will never be tired of reading. So, get ready to brew a pot of tea, get out the butter and jam and enjoy some Irish Brown Bread.
Irish Brown Bread
(as made by my grandma and mom)
3/16/2020: please note that there are some modification options noted below the recipe to suit your preferences and you can also find a video tutorial with our six year old and I walking you through the process of making the bread from scratch over on Instagram @sunday_bakers
-1 cup all purpose flour
-2 cups wheat flour
-1 tsp salt
-1 TBS sugar
-2 tsp baking powder
-enough whole milk to bring the dough to a moist consistency (usually about 2 cups)
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Place all of the flour, salt, baking powder and sugar into a large bowl and stir to combine. Add in the milk and mix until combined to a sticky dough. Sprinkle flour over your counter top or a large cutting board and dump the dough onto the floured surface. Add flour to your hands and knead the dough by hand by using one hand to take dough from underneath and bring it on top while using the other hand to turn the dough. Add more flour when needed to prevent the dough from being too sticky. Continue this process until the dough is in a round shape with a smooth surface on the bottom. Grease a baking pan with butter, oil or non-stick cooking spray. Flip the dough over onto the baking pan and use a sharp knife to etch a cross in the top of the dough to allow steam to escape while it bakes. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 40 minutes. This may vary depending on your oven and my mother and grandmother's famous words to know when the bread is done is to knock on it (like you're knocking on a door) and it should sound hollow. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 15-20 minutes and then wrap in a clean dish towel to allow it to continue cooling evenly. Slice and enjoy with butter and jam! See below for modification options.
Option 1: To bake a White Irish Soda Bread with raisins, use only All Purpose Flour (3 cups) and omit the whole wheat flour. After you stir in the milk and get the bread to the messy, wet consistency, fold in 1- 1 1/2 cups of raisins before you pour the bread batter onto your cutting board for kneading. Bake at the same temperature and time as noted above.
Option 2: For a plant based version, please see this vegan version of the recipe that I created here. This recipe uses coconut milk with the addition of a small amount of vinegar to create a vegan "buttermilk."
Option 3: You can modify any of these recipe options into scones. They aren't the super buttery scones that you might be used to in a bakery but they are wonderful to serve with butter, jam and tea. After kneading, simply use a rolling pin to roll/press the dough out to approximately 1 1/2 inches of thickness. Use a biscuit cutter or a cup to cut as many circles into the dough as you can fit. Then gather up the remaining dough, re-knead together and repeat the process until you have used all of the bread dough. Reduce the baking time to 30 minutes.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
New England wife and mom. Faith, fitness, yoga, baking, cooking and constantly cleaning my kitchen.