Desserts/Pastries

Thin Mints Brownies – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thin Mints Brownies
I know, I know….it’s usually the time of the year where I whip up a few batches of Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream. It’s St.Patrick’s Day after all!

But imagine my predicament last night when it not only hit me that St.Patty’s was a mere hours away but I also didn’t have a drop of stout beer in the house.

Blasphemous!

Thin Mints Brownies
Sure — I could have trekked out to the store to pick up some but there was a crazy, blizzard-snow-storm out!!! Trees were flung out of the ground, pigs were flying and I think I even saw Dorothy’s house spinning out of control in the sky!

Ok, ok….that may not be totally accurate.

It was a beautiful 74 degrees in San Diego.

And I was lazy.

Thin Mints Brownies
But I still wanted to bake something festive to share with the staff for St.Patty’s. And guess what? I may not have had any stout beer but I sure as heck had a TON of Girl Scout Cookies!

Thanks to my cookie-slinging-niece Maya (and a little strong-arming from my seester), I have boxes and boxes of GS Cookies. Enough to last me months and months!

…..more like weeks.

….or days….

Those boxes are getting smaller, right? At least that’s what I tell myself when an entire box magically disappears after a day.

Thin Mints Brownies
With Girl Scout Cookies at my disposal, I toyed around with a few ways I could incorporate them into a festive treat. Previously I’ve used the cookies in:

I even threw some in a birthday cake this past weekend. So it was time that I gave brownies that Girl Scouts touch.

Thin Mints Brownies

I took my go-to brownies recipe and added chocolate chips and chopped up Thin Mints Cookies. To amp up the mint, a dash or two of mint extract was added to the batter for good measure. And since we are celebrating St. Patty’s, it only seemed appropriate to cover the tops with more cookies and sprinkles!

SLAINTE dear friends and I wish you a  fantastically HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S DAY!

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Thin Mints Brownies
Makes 16 squares

Ingredients:

½ cup unsalted butter
1¼ cups premium chocolate, roughly chopped
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon mint extract
2 eggs
¾ cup flour
2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup 60% cacao or semisweet chocolate chips
1¼ cup chopped Thin Mints Cookies, divided
2 tablespoons colorful sprinkles

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper for easy removal. Cover parchment paper with cooking spray.

In a heatproof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave until smooth. Do this in 20 second intervals, stirring in between to ensure that you do not scorch the chocolate. Cool the chocolate mixture until room temperature. Stir in the sugars, vanilla extract and mint extract. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until mixture is glossy and smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder. Stir in the dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and 1 cup chopped Thin Mints Cookies. Spread the brownie batter evenly in pan. Sprinkle the remaining Thin Mints Cookies over the top of the brownie batter.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Halfway through the baking process, cover the top of the brownies with the sprinkles and rotate the pan. Bake until done. Allow the brownies to cool in the pan and once at room temperature, cut into 16 squares. ENJOY!

 

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Beef

Guinness Braised Pot Roast… Sláinte!

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

Hiccup!

Oh! Excuse me!

Hiccup! Burp! *blush*

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

Sorry Gang….I’ve spent the past weekend tinkering around the kitchen with Guinness. I HAD to because today is St. Patrick’s Day and I just couldn’t let y’all down. I needed to share something so deliciously wonderful —that was of course, made with Guinness.

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

But what was I to make with the thick, wonderfully rich and chocolatey stout?

Tacos? Ribs?

So many options yet so few hours in a weekend.

And finally, despite the crazy 90 degree heat wave we were having in San Diego, I cranked on the oven to make pot roast.

I figured the sauna-like environment I had created would let me sweat off at least 10 pounds.

Win-Nguyen situation.

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

I settled with a fairly straight-forward method for the pot roast. Quick sear of the beef, browning of aromatics, added some liquid and then braised it all in a dutch oven for a few hours.

But the kicker?

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

The GUINNESS of course! Plus, the coriander seeds with tomatoes added another level to the flavors that were then punched up with brightness by the fresh parsley and lemon zest to finish it all off.

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

Serve it with mashed potatoes, parsnip puree, polenta –heck, or even as a sammich’! SOOO GOOD!

Guinness Braised Pot Roast

And with that dear friends, have a HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY! Sláinte!

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Guinness Braised Pot Roast
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

 

1 beef chuck roast (approximately 3-4lbs.) trimmed and cleaned
black pepper
kosher salt
½ cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cups diced celery
2 cups diced carrots
2 cups diced white onion
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
3 cups Guinness or other Stout of your choice
2 heaping tablespoons minced garlic
8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
8-10 sprigs fresh parsley
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
3-4 dried bay leaves
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
zest of one lemon

Heavily season the beef with kosher salt and black pepper. Roll the chuck roast in flour and dust off any excess. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a dutch oven or other heavy bottom pot that is oven proof over. Once the oil reaches medium heat, sear each side of the beef until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once browned, remove the beef to a large plate.

Add the remaining olive oil to the pot. Add the celery, carrots, and onions and cook over medium heat until softened but not browned, about 7-8 minutes. Add in the garlic, red pepper flakes and cook for an additional 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, can of tomatoes with its juices and bring to a simmer. Pour in the Guinness (or other Stout) and allow the liquids to come to a boil.

While the liquids come to temperature, take kitchen twine and tie the thyme and parsley together into a small bundle. Create a sachet with a small piece of cheese cloth and place the black peppercorns, coriander seeds and bay leaves in the center. Bring the corners of the cheese cloth together and use additional kitchen twine to tie the sachet together.

Once the liquids in the pot have come to a boil, place the beef roast back in along with the bundle of herbs and sachet of spices. Allow the liquids to come back to a boil, cover the pot with an oven proof lid and place into a preheated 300 degree F oven. Cook the beef for 3-3½ hours until the meat is fork tender.

Carefully remove the roast to a large plate and cover with foil. Remove and discard the bundle of herbs and sachet of spices. Skim off and discard as much oil/fat from the surface of the vegetables. Using an immersion blender, puree the vegetables until it becomes a fairly smooth sauce. Taste and adjust with additional salt or pepper as needed. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a standard blender or food processor.

Slice the beef – it should be very tender and could be pulled apart with forks. Plate the beef and spoon the sauce over it. Top the beef with chopped parsley and lemon zest. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta, etc. Enjoy!

 

Sunday Family Dinner

Sunday Family Dinner Celebrates the Emerald Isle!

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

We found ourselves transported to the rolling, lush green hills of Ireland for this month’s Sunday Family Dinner– it was the only right thing to do since St. Patty’s was the next day. But let me tell ya, we were stumped when coming up with the menu.

Off the cuff we had thought of Guinness braised short ribs but it seemed a bit too heavy to stew something on such a warm day. Plus, we often making variations of short ribs so it wasn’t something too new for us to try out. Then there was lamb stew, corn beef and cabbage, and other dishes of the sort. Still…nothing seemed to jump out at us.

 

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

 

So we made a concession….if the dishes we prepared weren’t traditionally Irish then they’d be a remake on an Irish dish—or at the very least, they’d be the color GREEN.

As always, there were lots of {adult} beverages to choose from … Guinness, Jameson, Green colored Chardonnay. And the kiddos had Mint Chocolate Shakes with shamrock sprinkles and Green colored Sprite.

 

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

The signature cocktail of the night was made by the seesterIrish Espresso-tinis.It had a ga-jillion different things in it like vodka, Kahlúa, espresso, Irish cream….and was served in a salted rimmed glass. Sláinte!

DSC_0091March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

We munched on super green Baked Spicy Kale Chips……….

 

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

And these delectable skewers of Beef with Port Sauce and Cashel Blue Cheese

Now I agree, it didn’t sound too Irish to me at first but the seester sold us on it. She opted to skewer the tender beef cubes and the bro-in-law grilled it to perfection. The skewers were then drizzled with the rich port/raisin sauce before receiving a generous shower of blue cheese crumbles. SO GOOD!

 

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

There may have been a bit of shenanigans throughout the dinner, too.

 

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

As the main course, we fried up a TON of crispy Guinness Beer Battered Cod and Chips and doused them with malt vinegar. The batter was so crunchy even after it had been out of the fryer for awhile and the fish was tender and flaky. And you know, you just can’t go wrong with double-fried “chips”.

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

To help cut all that deep fried goodness, I made a super green Cabbage & Green Apple Slaw. I made a quick vinaigrette from malt vinegar, dijon mustard, agave, garlic, scallions, fresh dill, chili flakes and EVOO.

For something that was thrown together in the 11th hour, it was a nice addition to the meal. Although next time, I’d like to make the vinaigrette a tad more acidic.

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

Considering we were struggling a bit at first, it turned out to be a delicious meal! And I was kind of bummed that we didn’t make extra fish because leftovers would be great as fish tacos!

March 2014 Sunday Family Dinner

And to finish things off—dessert which was my Thin Mints Chocolate Cheesecake

I mean c’mon….there’s absolutely nothing wrong with all that goodness.

Thin Mints Chocolate Cheesecake

I’d like to think we did the Emerald Isle proud– being Vietnamese & Filipinos that have never been to Ireland 🙂 Another DEE-LISH Fam-Din down in the books.

 

This Month’s Family Dinner Menu

Cocktails: Irish Espresso-tinis, Green Chardonnay
Appetizers: Beef with Port Sauce and Cashel Blue Cheese, Baked Spicy Kale
Entrees: Guinness Beer Battered Cod and Chips, Cabbage & Green Apple Slaw
Dessert: Thin Mints Chocolate Cheesecake

Drinks · Ice Cream

Boozy Mint Chip Shakes — Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Boozy Mint Chip Shakes

Need something green to help you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? Well you’re in luck because I’ve got a super green, super delish and super boozy shake for you.

Boozy Mint Chip Shakes

Tons of mint chocolate chip ice cream blended with Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream and topped with swirls of mint flavored whipped cream. Green, minty deliciousness!

HAPPY ST.PATRICK’S DAY!!!

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Boozy Mint Chip Shakes
Serves 2

Ingredients

Mint Flavored Whipped Cream
½ cup chilled heavy cream
½ tablespoon sugar
2 drops mint extract

Shake
2 heaping cups mint chocolate chip ice cream
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon malt powder
2½ ounces Baileys Mint Chocolate Irish Cream
1-2 drops green food color (optional)
Sprinkles

Prepare the whipped cream. Using a standing mixer fitted with the balloon whisk attachment, whip the chilled heavy cream on high until it just holds stiff peaks. Slowly sprinkle in the sugar until you reach a thick consistency. Add in the mint extract and whip until combined.

In a blender, combine ice cream, milk, malt powder, Irish cream and food color (optional). Blend until the mixture is smooth and combined.

Pour the shake into two chilled glasses and top with swirls of whipped cream. Add sprinkles and enjoy!

Desserts/Pastries

Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes for St. Paddy’s Day!

Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

 

 

This is the time of year when I stock up on bottles of Guinness, Baileys and well…..all things Green.

To make dozens and dozens of Guinness and Baileys Cupcakes, of course!

But this year, I wanted to go a different route and since my niece (alright, more like my sister) was selling Girl Scout Cookies, utilizing the beloved Thin Mint® Cookies was a no brainer!

 

 

Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes

These cuppies were a great alternative to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Rich and moist chocolate cake filled with chunks of  Thin Mint® Cookies and topped with a lightly minty buttercream and cookie. DEE-LISH!

But if you aren’t big on Thin Mints® (which may be slightly CRAZY!), try one of these other GREEN LOVING cuppies!

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes with Irish Cream Buttercream

Fluffy Lime Cupcakes with Lime Whipped Cream

Fluffy Lime Cupcakes with Lime Whipped Cream

But no matter which sweet treat you choose, have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!!!

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Thin Mint-Chocolate Cupcakes
Makes 2 Dozen Cupcakes

Ingredients:

Cupcakes:
½ Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1½ Teaspoons Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
1¼ Cups Granulated Sugar
5 Ounces Dark Chocolate, finely chopped
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 Cup Strong Brewed Hot Coffee
2/3 Cup Vegetable Oil
2 Large Egg
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 Cups Thin Mint® Cookies (or other chocolate mint cookies), roughly chopped

Buttercream:
4 to 5 Cups Confections Sugar, sifted
2 Cups Unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 to 5 Tablespoons Milk
½ Teaspoon Mint Extract

Garnish:
1 Dozen Thin Mint® Cookies, cut in half
Shamrock Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in muffin pans and put one cookie on the bottom.

Place finely chopped chocolate in a bowl and pour hot coffee over it. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove plastic and stir until smooth. Sift together cocoa powder, flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. In a mixing stand, beat egg for a few minutes until it becomes pale yellow. Beat in oil, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and slowly add the chocolate. Slowly add dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Fold in chopped Thin Mint® Cookies. Scoop batter into the lined cups–about 3/4 way. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to cooling racks.

Prepare the frosting: In a large mixer bowl, whip the butter for several minutes until very light and fluffy. Slowly add about half of the powdered sugar a few spoonfuls at a time until incorporated. Slowly drizzle in the milk and whip until combined. Mix in the mint extract. Add the rest of the powdered sugar until your desired consistency has been achieved.

Fill a pastry bag and pipe frosting on top of cooled cupcakes. Garnish with ½ a cookie and sprinkles.

ENJOY!