Clodagh’s Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Mint Chocolate Chip

Disclaimer:  The good folks at Kerrygold provided me with a copy of Coldagh’s Kitchen Diaries and coupons for their fantabulous butter.  I highly recommend both.

I have found a new outlet to get baked goods out of my house….it’s called daycare.  Not that my coworkers have tired of being on the receiving end of what comes out of my kitchen.  It’s just that it’s good to have options. And now that my daily activities include daycare drop-off and pick-up, I can spread the love (and the calories) around a little further.

When The Mistah and I became parents, it was with less than 48 hours notice.  So where most parents have nine months to plan, prepare, and make arrangement for life after a baby arrives, we were winging it.  Our heads were still  spinning at the idea of a baby as we swept through the aisles at Target and Babies R Us to get the stuff that we thought we might need.  And even though the list of what you really need to bring a baby home can be rather short, those carts filled up pretty damn quickly.

So the buying tons of stuff part of becoming parents got taken care of.  And then we brought Lib home.  And the taking care of a little person got underway.  Which led to buying more stuff to take care of our little person.  It went on like this for a while.  And then one day, two and a half months had gone by and I needed to go back to work.

It was only after we became parents that I had any understanding about how hard it is to get an infant into daycare.  When you are able to estimate your child’s arrival in the world, you’ve got the luxury of time on your side.  You can go to a daycare and get a spot in their infant program.  When your family grows by +1 overnight, the stars need to align, the Universe needs to smile on you, and you need to make a wish upon a falling star to find a daycare center that has openings for an infant.

And as if I needed further proof that the Universe was smiling on our adoption, we managed to do just that. Now our child is charming her way into the hearts of the folks at daycare, one day at a time.  Seriously, she has her own fanclub at daycare…teachers from other classrooms come by to see her and say hello.

As her parent, I want to make sure I acknowledge the people who spend their day caring for my child so that I can spend my day at work.  And it never hurts to build a little goodwill for those days when my normally charming child chooses to be a devilish handful.

If you find yourself hankering for a little mint chocolate fix, wanting to say say thank you, or maybe even apologizing in advance for something that your child may or may not do in the days to come, these cupcakes have your back.

Clodagh’s Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted from Clodagh’s Kitchen Diaries

BAH Note:  If you don’t have self rising flour in your pantry, you can substitute 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt.  My cupcakes sank in the middle as they cooled….that could have been my doing or not….I just used the frosting to camouflage that and nobody was the wiser.

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons self rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 ounces mini chocolate chips

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with 9 or 10 baking cups.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.

In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating until thoroughly combined before adding the next one.  Add the mint extract and then use a spatula to fold in the flour mixture until combined.

Divide the batter among the baking cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.  Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before turning the cupcakes out and cooling completely on a rack.

{printable recipe}

Mint Marshmallow Buttercream Frosting

Adapted from Abby Dodge

BAH Note:  If you want a richer frosting, add up to an additional 1/2 stick butter.  Taste the frosting and if you want a mintier flavor, add another 1/2 teaspoon extract.

  • 1 stick of butter, room temperature
  • 7 ounces marshmallow fluff
  • 3/4 powdered sugar
  • 1  teaspoons mint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • green food coloring (optional)

Combine butter and marshmallow in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium until completely smooth.  Reduce speed to low and add confectioners sugar, mint extract, and salt.  Continue to beat until smooth and fluffy.  If using food color, add it a few drops at a time and mix until the color is distributed.  Add more food color to get your desired shade of green.

Frost your cupcakes, garnish with mini chocolate chips, and enjoy.

{printable recipe}

Kerrygold Give Away

I got to thinking, after posting all those odes to Kerrygold for the contest, that it would be wrong of me not to give you an opportunity to experience #butterlove for yourself.  The folks at Kerrygold have been very good to me and it’s only right that I pay that goodwill forward.  Besides, I think part of finding grace in everyday life is making the conscious decision to share that which you have with others.

So, two lucky folks will each receive:

  • One store coupon redeemable for the Kerrygold product of your choice…as in FREE y’all.
  • One eco-friendly reusable shopping bag featuring the fine Kerrygold logo.

While the folks at Kerrygold are not sponsoring this give away, I did receive these items from them at various blogging events.  But let’s be honest, the folks at Kerrygold could pass me on the street and we’d never recognize each other…unless they were decked out in that happy gold foil and I had #butterlove tattooed on my forehead.

Want a chance to win some #butterlove?  Leave a comment on this post no later than midnight on 20 November 2011 to enter the “sweepstakes”.  Be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form so I can contact you in case you’re one of the two randomly selected winners.

Sadly, it’s a litigious world y’all, so here’s the necessary long form, legal mumbojumbo, disclaimery type language:

  • NO PURCHASE NECESSARY
  • This sweepstakes is open to residents of the United States only.  Entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • The Give Away period shall commence at 8am on 16 November 2011.  Entries must be received no later than midnight on 20 November 2011.  Any entries received after that time will be disqualified.
  • Entries shall be limited to comments on this post and must include a valid email address in the comment form.  No alternate form of entry is available.
  • Each prize consists of: one manufacturer’s coupon for the Kerrygold item of your choice (approximate retail value $5); one reusable grocery bag.
  • Odds of winning will be determined by the number of eligible entries.
  • Bon Appetit Hon is not responsible for entries that are not received due to technical error.
  • Two winners will be randomly selected using Random.org on 21 November 2011 and will have five days to respond via email to claim their prize and provide shipping information.
  • All prizes will be awarded and shipped via USPS.  Bon Appetit Hon is not responsible for loss of prize by USPS.
  • Manufacturer’s coupons expire 31 December 2011.
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW

Kerrygold Fruit Butter

Today marks my last Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter tip for the contest.  And it picks up with the spiced butter that I used in the Kerrygold Cardamom Toast.  I had a bit of it leftover, despite several spoonfuls that went into my mouth for “quality control purposes”.  I also had waffles on the menu and saw an opportunity to take that spiced butter to the next level by simply adding one thing…jam.

This particular batch of raspberry jam didn’t fully set so it was a cross between syrup and jam.  So if you happen to have either jam or maybe some syrup hiding out in your pantry, stir a teaspoon or two into that spiced butter.  Without breaking a sweat, you’ve made a fancy compound butter that will melt into the recesses of your waffle.  It is also an equal opportunity topping for other breakfast foods such as pancakes, scones, crumpets, and toast.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.

Kerrygold Cardamom Toast

Today’s Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter tip takes me back with an updated spin on a childhood favorite….cinnamon toast.  I have memories of slices of bread that were toasted, buttered, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.  I also have memories of the cinnamon sugar ending up all over my plate because the butter just couldn’t hold it.  Melted butter lacks the muscle to grab onto the cinnamon sugar and turn it into a crisp, crunchy layer of deliciousness.  My friends, with only a few minor substitutions, you can take your cinnamon toast from drab to fab.  And Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter is here to help you.

First, you’re going to take that butter and out of fridge and scoop out a couple of tablespoons.  Try doing that with a regular stick of butter.  Put the butter into a small bowl, set an oven rack in the top position, and heat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, take your spice of choice.  Cinnamon sugar is lovely but I am head over heels in love with cardamom sugar.  You can make your own or buy it online.  Let’s just say I buy mine in bulk.  Start adding the spiced sugar about a teaspoon at a time to the butter and work it in with a fork.  Again, try doing that with a regular stick of butter straight from the fridge.

Taste a bit of the spiced butter.  Do you want more spice flavor?  Then keep adding  your spiced sugar and tasting until it is how you want it.  While your oven continues to heat up, line a sheet pan with parchment and butter your bread slices.  Make sure you get a good layer of the spiced butter on the bread and that it goes all the way to the edges.  Place the bread, butter side up, on the parchment.

Bake for 10 minutes and then switch the oven over to broil.  Broil for a few more minutes,  carefully moving the pan around if necessary, until the top of the bread is bubbly and browned without being charred.

Enjoy immediately.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.

Kerrygold Beurre Manie

There is a word that strikes fear into the hearts of many home cooks.  Sauce.  Think about it.  What other dish with so few ingredients has the power to cause as much anxiety and tears?   In my kitchen, sauce has always been a seat of my pants adventure.  Sometimes I get them right.  Other times they go horribly, horribly wrong.

I’m usually ok with roux based sauces that start with cooking butter and flour as the base of the sauce before hot liquid is added.  But that process is not always an option.  And that’s when things get dicey.  Have your liquid too hot when you add in the flour and instead of a perfectly thickened sauce you get pasty lumps that refuse to disperse.  Add too much flour and you’re likely to get gummy sauce.  Today’s tip illustrates that it doesn’t have to be like that.

There’s a french term, beurre manie, which literally means kneaded butter.  Despite the fancy pants name, beurre manie is not to be feared; it’s your secret weapon in the war against lumpy sauce.  Beurre manie is simply equal parts butter and flour mixed together until smooth. Nothing intimidating about that, is there?

When you whisk this mixture into your sauce, the butter melts away and allows the flour to evenly disperse into your liquid.  Traditionally, beurre manie is made by smearing the butter and flour together on the counter.  But with Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter, your counter, and your hands, stay butter free.  And your sauces and gravies stay beautifully lump free.

Kerrygold Beurre Manie

BAH Note:  You will want to skim the fat off of the liquid in your pan and then let it cook until reduced by about half before adding the beurre manie to the liquid.

  • 1 tablespoon Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour

Place the butter and flour in a small bowl.  Use a fork to mash the butter and flour together until they are fully combined and the mixture smooths out, approximately one minute.  Scoop out the mixture with a whisk and stir it into your hot liquid.  Whisk until completely incorporated and then cook your sauce for a few more minutes to thicken.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.

Kerrygold Brussel Sprouts

Today’s Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter tip crosses a line.  The line between love who love brussel sprouts and those who don’t.  And maybe, just maybe, this tip will inspire some to embrace the beauty of pan roasted brussel sprouts.

Think back to the Kerrygold Grilled Cheese.  The only thing missing from that to make a balanced meal was some vegetables.  Sure, you could microwave a bag of frozen vegetables but why would you settle for a one dimensional side when you could have the pan roasted goodness of brussel sprouts?  Forget about the bland, mushy things that have been boiled to death.  Pan roasting them in a bit of Reduced Fat Butter brings out a subtle, sharp, almost mustardy edge and they stay firm enough to spear on your fork.  This is the only way we make brussel sprouts at our house.  And there’s never a single one left at the end of the meal.

Did I mention that The Mistah and I used to be on opposite sides of the brussel sprouts line?  We used to be…and then I pan roasted them for him.  So on that night when you need an easy vegetable to round out your meal, give pan roasted brussel sprouts a try.  You might just be surprised.

Pan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

BAH Note:  Don’t be alarmed if some of the leaves end up loose in your pan.  Let these leaves get good and charred.  They will add a bit of crunchy texture to the dish.

  • 1 container fresh brussel sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter
  • kosher salt
  • Kerrygold Ivernia cheese, grated (optional)

Trim the stem ends from the brussel sprouts, cut them in half, and remove the outer layer of leaves if they look a little sad.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Add the brussel sprouts, cut side down, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt.  When the cut sides are nicely charred, carefully shake the pan or use tongs to flip them over.  Continue to cook, occasionally giving the pan a shake, until the brussel sprouts are bright green and are just tender when you bite into one.

Serve the brussel sprouts with a sprinkle of grated Ivernia cheese.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.

Kerrygold Grilled Cheese

Today’s tip on using Kerrygold’s Premium Spreadable Butter solves a common problem.  It’s been a hectic day.  And at the end of it, your plan for a slow cooked meal has fallen apart and you can only muster enough energy to pull together a quick dinner before running off to the next drop off, recital, or meltdown.  You have to make a choice.  You can reach for dinner out of a box or through a drive through window.  Or.  You can reach into the fridge.  You’ve got bread, sliced turkey from the deli, and cheese…all the makings of a grilled cheese.  Only you didn’t know this morning before you left the house that all hell was going to break loose and you would be making dinner on the fly.

That’s the problem that Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter solves.  Straight from the fridge it easily goes onto the slice of bread that will become the foundation of your grilled cheese and the answer to your dinner dilemma.   In about the same amount of time it would have taken you to corral the kids, get them into the car without starting World War 3 about who gets to sit in the front, and hand over a wad of cash for fast food processed burger patties and formed chicken pieces, you can bite into warm, melty grilled cheese goodness.

Kerrygold Grilled Cheese

BAH Note: I personally have the luxury to let my grilled cheese cook low and slow in the frying pan.  But if you need to hurry things up a bit, raise the heat under you pan but be sure to check that it isn’t browning too fast.  You don’t want the outside to char before the inside gets good and melted.

  • Sliced Bread
  • Major Gray Chutney (optional but highly recommended)
  • Sliced Turkey (or ham if that’s your thing)
  • Kerrygold Aged Cheddar
  • Kerrygold Premium Spreadable Butter

Butter one slice of bread and place it butter side down into a cold frying pan.  Spread a thin layer of chutney, if using, on to the top of the bread.  Layer the remaining ingredients in the following order: slices of cheese, turkey (or ham), slices of cheese.  Spread a layer of chutney onto another slice of bread and place it chutney side down on top of the sandwich.  Butter the top side of the bread.

Turn your burner to medium or medium low and cook until you begin to hear the butter sizzle and see it bubble at the edge of the bread.  Use a spatula to carefully peek at the bottom piece of bread and adjust your heat down if necessary to keep the bread from scorching.  When the bottom is nicely browned, carefully flip the sandwich over and cook until the other piece is bread is browned and the cheese has melted.

Enjoy as is or dip into a bit of chutney spooned onto your plate.

Official Disclosure: Kerrygold provided me with their Premium Spreadable Butter and Premium Spreadable Reduced Fat Butter to use in developing these tips as part of a contest.  The opinions, and #butterlove, expressed here are my own.