Póg mo Thóin Irish Coffee Brownies

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poison2Luscious has been taking a lot of those online quizzes lately, because it’s important to know which city we should live in, or which 80’s pop star we should be, or which communicable disease we should contract. It’s mostly been a miserable experience. Apparently all the people we know on Facebook are either Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence, but we are Tara Reid. Everybody else is Sonic Youth and The Decemberists and we’re Poison. That’s so unfair– big hair and age-inappropriate use of eyeliner does not put a person on par with Brett Michaels.

And we have no idea which particular combination of answers earned us Monster Truck Racing for Which Winter Olympic Sport Are You?.  We were insulted — we KNOW monster trucks are not part of the winter Olympics. That’s a summer Olympics thing.

At first the Luscious girls planned to drive the TransAm up to the Buzzfeed office in New York City and bitchslap the person who created the quiz entitled Which Exotic Vacation Would You Be? Because Shreveport, Louisiana shouldn’t even be a possible result for that quiz.  But when they couldn’t find enough change under the couch cushions for gas money, Anne-Charlotte and Jennifer decided that mature, refined women of the world like themselves should simply boycott internet quizzes.

Okay, JUST ONE MORE. And apparently, if you take the quiz Which is Your Holiday, the answers “whiskey-soaked”, “bar fight” and “Kiss Me, I’m White Trash” will surprisingly result in St. Patrick’s Day. Hmmm, Luscious can live with that.  You can be St. Patrick’s Day, too, all you need are these slightly drunken brownies:

Irish Coffee Brownies

Irish coffee brownie

Brownies:
2 tsp instant coffee
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
2 oz semisweet chocolate (or ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips)
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter
2 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ tsp sea salt
6 eggs
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

SONY DSCPre-heat over to 350º. Line an 11 x 17 inch baking dish with parchment paper, and butter the paper and sides of dish. Dissolve the instant coffee into the whiskey. Insert your own joke here about pouring a little whiskey to enjoy while baking. Maybe it’s not a joke. Finely chop chocolates, cut butter into 1 tablespoon pieces, and combine in a saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly until chocolate and butter until melted and smooth. Seriously, do not walk away to watch a few minutes of the Jerry Springer show unless you love the taste of burnt chocolate.  Remove from heat and let cool for 2-3 minutes.  Stir in sugar, salt, and the coffee-whiskey mixture. Then thoroughly mix in the eggs a couple at a time.  Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes. When done, the edges should start to crack a little and the center should be slightly yielding to the touch (but not gooey.) Allow brownies to cool while you make the ganache. Use a knife to release the brownies from the sides and use the parchment to help lift the brownies from the pan. Remove to serving platter or cutting board.

Ganache frosting
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
6 oz heavy cream
2 tablespoons to ¼ cup Irish whiskey
1 tsp instant coffee
pinch of salt

SONY DSCPut the chopped chocolate in a glass bowl. Boil the cream over medium heat (this is another “don’t walk away” scenario) and pour over the chocolate. Stir like crazy until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted before the mixture cools, pop it in the microwave for 10-15 seconds, then continue to stir. Stir in whiskey and coffee.  If the whiskey taste is too subtle for you, you can splash in a bit more. If the whiskey taste is still too subtle, maybe you should just have a shot of whiskey. Spread ganache evenly over brownies.

SONY DSCCinnamon Whipped Cream
Whip 8 oz very cold heavy cream with 2 tsp cinnamon until thick.

Slice brownies into squares. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm, topped with the whipped cream.

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Sweetheart Jam Cookies

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heart cookies

Luscious knows you want to tell your Valentine that they’re the hot fudge on your Dairy Queen Peanut Buster Parfait, the triple axle in your ice skating routine, and the mosh pit of your thrash metal show. Say it with homemade cookies. These pretty treats are an easy Valentine’s gift for your sweetheart,  and so delicious, of course. The cream cheese makes a flavorful, manageable dough that you can roll and cut at lightening speed. You’ll need a pair of heart-shaped cookie cutters (two sizes) to make a traditional valentine’s cookie. If you are not traditional, then user any shape cookie cutter you like– star, bunny, Slayer logo — whatever you think says Be My Valentine.

1 1/2 sticks of butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp orange zest
1 egg
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla or orange extract
2 1/2 cups flour

Orange or raspberry liquer
clear sugar sprinkles
raspberry jam

Beat together butter, cream cheese, and sugar until fluffy. Beat in orange zest, egg, baking powder, salt, and extract until well mixed. Stir in flour.

Divide dough into 2 or 3 large balls, flatten each into a disk and wrap with plastic wrap. Breaking the dough into sections makes the size more manageable for rolling, and also you can keep dough sections cool in the fridge while you work with one section at a time. Place dough disks in the fridge for 30 minutes so that the dough is firm enough to cut. You can refrigerate the dough for up to a week, just place on the counter for a few minutes before rolling so that it’s pliable (but still cool and firm).

SONY DSCPreheat oven to 350º and grease cookie sheets. Roll out dough on a floured surface to a thickness of about 3/8″.  Cut with the larger heart cutter, re-roll scraps and continue cutting. Then use the smaller cutter to cut windows in the center of half of your hearts. Place all hearts, large and small on the cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 9-10 minutes.

Allow cookies to cool. Brush the window-cut large hearts and half of the small hearts lightly with liqueur, and sprinkle with white sparkling sugar. Go with black sparkling sugar if making Slayer cookies.

raspberry jamSpread about a tsp of raspberry jam on the unsprinkled cookies. Place a sprinkled cookie on top, sprinkles up, to make a pretty sandwich cookie. Repeat with the small hearts. Use any flavor jam or preserves you prefer, but we’d suggest red plum for the Slayer version because it looks EXACTLY like freshly congealed blood. Don’t ask how we know that.

 

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Marathon Day Ham & Jalapeño Bread Pudding

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It’s gettin’ to be marathon time in fit and healthy Austin, Texas. The area in which Jennifer and Anne-Charlotte reside is a major section of the Austin marathon, so pretty much the whole damn neighborhood gets shut down and cut off from the rest of the world for a few hours on a Sunday. This is a drag if you’re completely out of food or need to go to the hospital because you’ve sliced off your thumb (just put a band-aid on it until afternoon) but awesome if you like to look at masochistic people running by your house. In fact, watching parties abound on the blocks along the racecourse.

collapsed runner

This is Luscious after running two miles.

Luscious Pastry holds a deep, abiding admiration and respect for these marathon athletes, because they provide us with an excuse to start drinking before 9am. The party continues until well after noon, when the close to death but brave stragglers drag past. These persevering souls tend to receive the most uninhibited, if somewhat slurred, cheering of the day.

We attend a yearly marathon-watching soiree at a friend’s house, and Luscious never shows up empty-handed. After all, marathon watchers need a hearty breakfast to help them meet the physically demanding, grueling challenge of drinking bloody marys all morning while shouting and waving at total strangers. This crazy delicious breakfast casserole is the perfect padding for all that vodka, and is also super easy to make the night before. It’s not low-fat or healthy, but anybody who’s really worried about that is probably running sprints right now, not reading the Luscious Pastry blog. Some slightly white trash store-bought rolls are the foundation of the dish and speed preparation. Time is of the essence when you have to get up early the next day to  stand along the marathon route holding a sign that says “DON’T YOU THINK YOU’VE ALREADY RUN FAR ENOUGH?”

Ham & Jalapeño Bread Pudding

18 King’s Hawaiian Rolls. Yeah, we know, real classy. (But all that sugar or corn syrup or whatever it is in the rolls balances beautifully with the salty ham.)
2 ½ cups grated sharp cheddar
6 oz good ham, chopped. (The better the ham, the better this will be, so we’re not talkin’ lunch meat here)
5 large eggs
1 cup milk and ¾ cup cream.
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper
2 large fresh jalapeños, seeds removed, sliced.
2 Tbsp butter, in pieces

use good eggs and ham, SamIam

use good eggs and ham, SamIam

This is so fast… on your mark, get set, go!  Butter a 9 x 13 pan. Tear the rolls into roughly 2” pieces. Place half the bread pieces in the bottom of the pan, cover with the chopped ham and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Cover with remaining bread pieces. Beat the eggs with the milk, cream, onion powder, salt and pepper, and pour over the bread mixture. Top with an additional ½ cup cheese and jalapeño slices. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down on the casserole so the eggs mixture permeates the bread, and the wrap touches the top of the casserole. Refrigerate overnight–– or for at least 6 hours. Even if you get home from the honytonk at 2am, you should still be good.

The next morning, preheat oven to 360º. Remove plastic wrap and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 25 minutes, then uncover. Top with butter pieces and remaining cheese, and place under broiler for 3-4 minutes more.  Pin a paper number to your shirt and give yourself a medal, it’s bloody mary time.

jalapeno and ham breading pudding

(Y’all we can’t talk about marathons without our thoughts turning to last year’s tragedy in Boston. We were shocked and saddened for the victims, and incredibly impressed by the spirt of the city of Boston.)

Potato Pancakes with Fresh Beets and Curried Sour Cream

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Here’s an easy and lovely way to enjoy latkes, even if you’re not a Hanukah celebrant (they make for satisfying winter fare.) We’re know that using frozen potatoes is not Jewish-grandmother approved, but hey, you’re busy!  Look, it’s not the equivalent of, say buying that ready-made cookie dough with embedded candy sprinkles and then taking them to a bake sales and trying to pass them off as your own. (And hey, if you’ve done that, it’s okay—even Luscious sometimes wakes up with hangover on bake sale day.) It’s just…grated potatoes, exactly what you’ll have if you spend an hour grating them yourself.

beetsBeets are the co-star here. This humble root vegetable is so trendy right now it’s almost irritating.  Carrots are very miffed. Luscious understands how you feel, carrots, but we have to admit that we love the festive deep red color of the beets, and the earthy-sweet flavor balances beautifully with the crispy-salty potato pancakes and the sour cream.  Our favorite way to serve beets, and for that matter you could even say this BEETS other latke recipes. In fact, and we hate to keeping beeting this drum, but there aren’t a latke of better ways to enjoy beets. Just a little root vegetable humor there…

Potato Pancakes with Fresh Beets and Curried Sour Cream

For the pancakes:
30 oz frozen hash browns, thawed
1/3 cup olive oil for frying
1 med onion, chopped
2 eggs, beaten
½ cup plain yogurt
½ tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
3 TBS flour

For on top of the pancakes:
8 oz sour cream
curry powder 2 tsp
sea salt sprinkle
three well scrubbed beets,  peeled and chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or chives

Thaw the potatoes by leaving them out on the counter for a couple of hours, or place in a glass bowl and thaw gently in the microwave by heating them in 3 minutes increments on medium power.  Go easy, you’re just thawing them at this point, not cooking them, so it’s okay if they’re still cold. Pour the thawed potatoes out onto a dishcloth, wrap the dishcloth around them and squeeze to remove moisture.

SONY DSCHeat the 3-4 tablespoons of the oil in a cast iron or other large, heavy skillet. Mixed together grated potatoes, chopped onion, eggs, and yogurt. Stir garlic powder, salt, and pepper; and lastly sprinkle flour evenly over potato mixture and stir in evenly.

Now you’re ready to fry!

Have a cookie sheet lined with paper towels and a warm oven ready so you can work in batches. Scoop up about ¼ cup of the potato mixture and place gently in the oil, flattening into a thick pancake.  Repeat with more spoonfuls of mixture, but don’t crowd the pan. Flip the pancakes when the underside is golden brown and crispy, about 3 minutes. Cook on the second side for a couple more minutes, then transfer to the paper-towel lined cookie sheet, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with another batch of potato mixture, adding a bit more oil and adjusting heat as needed.

Mix the sour cream with the curry powder and salt.  Voila, curried sour cream, sounds exotic!  When ready to serve, place 3 or 4 latkes on a plate, top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle generously with the chopped beets. Garnish with parsley and eat. Happy Hanukah!

potato panckes

Sweet Potato Pineapple Bundt Cake

bill clinton loves LusciousOh Thanksgiving, back again, are you?  It’s no secret that Luscious has some issues with the holidays. Well, Luscious just has a lot of issues with a lot of things, so Thanksgiving can just get in line behind Wiccans and the federal deficit.  (Ask us about our deficit bake sale idea! Bill Clinton is totally on board.)

But anyway, yeah. Thanksgiving. Our congressman has still not introduced that bill we suggested whereby people who had happy childhoods have Thanksgiving, and the rest of us get to spend the 4th Thursday in November riding all the rides at Six Flags for free. Until that happens, we’ll continue to hide a flask in our purse before heading over to the family get-together,  and we’ll bring a kickass dessert. This year, it’s cake.

sweet potatoesWe know, Thanksgiving makes you think pie. But this rich, moist cake features a classic classic Thanksgiving staple, sweet potatoes, or yams if that’s what you like to call them. The sweet potatoes’ naturally sweet and fruity flavor gets a boost from crushed pineapple. Pineapple, of course, is also a great holiday ingredient, since it’s available canned all year. But this year let’s have it in cake and not jello salad, okay?  A rich rum glaze tops it off, because rum is a perfect counterpoint to the pineapple and sweet potato flavors, and makes you a little less likely to punch your brother-in-law at the table.

cake batterFor the cake:
1 large sweet potato
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp cardamom (optional)
2 sticks softened butter
1 ¾ cups packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups plain or vanilla yogurt
1 cup crushed pineapple, drained

For the glaze:
3 oz room temperature cream cheese
1 stick softened butter
½ cup powdered sugar
½ cup dark rum
½ cup crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 350º. Butter and flour a 10 cup bundt pan.

Make the cake.
Steam or microwave the sweet potato until cooked through and soft. Scoop the flesh out into a bowl and mash. It doesn’t have to totally smooth, some very small chunks will look pretty when the cake is sliced, and make for a more interest texture. Measure out 1¼ cups of mashed sweet potato and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

SONY DSCIn a separate bowl, use a handmixer to mix the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs and vanilla until well incorporated, then stir in yogurt. Fold in the 1 ¼ cups mashed sweet potato. Then gradually ad the flour mixture using the handmixer set on low.  Fold in the pineapple, and pour batter into prepared bundt pan, and bake for 50-55 minutes, until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a rack. Invert cooled cake on to a cake plate.

Make the glaze.
Using a handmixer, mix together cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Mix in the cream cheese and then the rum. Stir in crushed pineapple.  If glaze seems too thin, mix in a bit more powdered sugar; if it’s too thick , thin it with a little more rum or some milk. We say go with the rum.

Pour your yummy rum pineapple glaze over your yummy cake. Serve immediately, or refrigerate and bring to room temperature before servings.

Sweet Potato Pineapple Bundt CakeSweet Potato Pineapple Bundt Cake

Peanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars

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SONY DSC Even Luscious Pastry sometimes puts on a pair of jeans and turns around to look to at its backside in the mirror and says “Oh, dear. Too much cake.”  Time to think thin, Luscious. The upshot of that was the misguided purchase of an extremely large box of Weetabix cereal. It looks so healthy and wholesome and British in the picture on the box. In a bowl with milk, however, it looks like… eww.  So mushy and tasteless.  Still looks British, though. “Gruel” is one of those things you read about in Dickens novels, but never actually see, unless you buy some Weetabix and add milk.

Anne-Charlotte and Jennifer can’t stand to waste food, but what to do with the other 29 Weeta-biscuits still in the box? We know, crush them up and sprinkle them on yogurt! It was very upsetting to throw out that yogurt. Next idea: feed the dry biscuits to the Luscious children as snacks ! That went something like this:

Luscious: Do you like it?
Offspring: <munch, munch>  Mwuchmpgf  sdmucht.
Luscious: What?
Offspring: Tastes like a <munch> mufthsnsuhs.
Luscious: What? Tastes like muffins?
Offsrping: <mmfumph> Tastes like  <crunch crunch> a moth’s nest.

Yum.

9530398-standardAt this point, Anne-Charlotte was penning an angry letter to the British royal family while Jennifer was resourcefully looking up Weetabix recipes on the internet. There were several, almost all from the UK. How does Weetabix Vegetable Bake sound? Or “Marshmallow Slice”? Not vague enough for you? Then how about something called Nancy Slice?  After reading the recipe four times, we’re still not sure what “slice” is, but we think it’s the reason England lost all of its colonies.

Not to be defeated (like England in the War of 1812, ha ha), Luscious decided to make up our own damn recipe. It turns out homemade granola bars are the perfect place to hide a bunch of Weetabix.  Plus, the weetabix doesn’t get all mushy here. PLUS granola bars are sound healthy, and Luscious was trying to be health-conscious when we bought that damn Weetabix to begin with.  DOUBLE PLUS these are EASY to make and freakin’ delicious. Crunchy, sweet-salty, peanut butter & jelly-y-y. Seriously, best granola bars you ever done ate. Make a batch and send a few to Parliament, just to remind them that we do it Luscious-style in the States.

SONY DSCPeanut Butter Pretzel Granola Bars Recipe

1 cup old fashioned oats
3 Weetabix biscuits, crushed OR 1 ½ cups crushed cornflakes or rice chex or other crushable cereal- whatever you got around.
½ cup pretzels broken up or crushed into small pieces
¼ tsp sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
4 tbs melted butter or coconut oil. Or canola oil, if you’re that type.
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 TBS molasses
2 TBS honey
1 egg, well-beaten
1/3 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup dried cranberries

photo 3photo 2Grease a 7 x10 glass baking dish, preheat oven to 350º.  Spread oats evenly on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes in your preheating oven.  In a large mixing bowl, combine toasted oats, the f&#@!g Weetabix, pretzel pieces, and salt. Stir in melted butter, brown sugar, molasses, and  honey. Mix in the beaten egg, blending well. Next, add the peanut butter, likewise mixing until well incorporated. Lastly, fold in cranberries. Was that easy, or what?

Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle lightly with additional sea salt. Bake at 350º for about 15 minutes, until the granola starts to look a little toasty around the edges. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until set, and cut into bars.

(p.s. these do a better job of sticking together if you keep them in the fridge. They’re not glued together with corn syrup like the grocery store kind, yo.)

(p.p.s. We really like Kate Middleton, so none of this is directed at her personally.)

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