Guinness and Malt Irish Whole-Wheat Bread

I baked it mostly out of curiosity. It is quite unusual, liquid batter which is prepared the way the classic Irish bread is made – from the cold butter cut into the flour and cold buttermilk mixed in. Besides the buttermilk the generous amount of Guinness is added to this mixture.

I was really wondering how the bread would turn out with the two and a half cups of liquid… It turned out pretty nice, very moist as you can see. My son, after he tasted the bread still warm from the oven, said that it resembled a banana bread.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

The recipe comes from Margaret Waterworth who runs a pub in Donaghadee, County Down, Ireland.

You might also find interesting other Irish recipes:

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Guinness Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Filling and Meringue Frosting

First, I thought the cake was too seasonal and the time for its posting had already passed, but then I realized the St. Patrick’s Day was still ahead and decided to share the recipe anyway. Besides, there are two winter months left, plenty of snow, so the cake in its whiteness should fit just right in.

The gingerbread recipe is adapted from the famous Gramercy Tavern’s. It’s moist, flavorful (Guinness and fresh ginger make the world’s difference), and light. And it goes so well with tangy lemon filling. The meringue frosting with some lemon juice added doesn’t seem overly sweet at all. The whole thing turned out to be a perfect winter cake. I was surprised that even after a quite heavy meal everyone asked for the second serving.

Meringue mushrooms are totally optional, the cake will look great without them, just create more swirls in the frosting.

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Chocolate Cranberry and Cream Cheese Mousse Trifle

This is not a traditional English trifle. There is no dense pound cake, crème anglaise, and whipped cream inside. My trifle is assembled from light chocolate génoise soaked in Grand Marnier syrup, freshly made cranberry sauce, chocolate pastry cream, and tangy cream cheese-sour cream mousse. The whipped cream is only a topping here.

If you haven’t decided what dessert to make for the New Year celebration, you might want to consider this trifle. It is absolutely delicious, it can be made well in advance and the whole prep can be stretched over several days, so you definitely wouldn’t exhaust yourself preparing it. If you don’t have a large trifle bowl, the dessert can be assembled in individual little bowls or brandy glasses. In this case, you will only need two layers of génoise to fill the glasses.

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Christmas Baking Part 1: Prune Cherry Cocoa Nib Panforte & Apricot Pistachio Cardamom Panforte

There shouldn’t be any excuses for not baking this time of the year. Perhaps, it would be better to start a bit earlier and not a week before Christmas. But, as an old proverb goes – it’s still better later than never.

I think, I’m back.

I used to bake this Italian specialty in a round pan and give it whole as a gift to our Italian (and very appreciative) friends. But this year I’m making it different, baking it square, slicing into finger-like pieces and stuffing into multiple boxes along with other treats and cookies for many recipients. It saves me time, and saves them trouble to slice the panforte by themselves (surprisingly, but not everyone owns a good heavy sharp knife).

First panforte is quite hot and not too sweet due to the sour fruits I used (I liked this one most). The second one is milder and sweeter and will please more conservative taste. To distinguish one variety from another, I dusted the apricot panforte with icing sugar and left the prune panforte in its shiny beauty.

I want to emphasize a proper way of packaging these confections for gift-giving. The best would be to place each slice into an individual parchment cupcake liner (it will prevent them from sticking), or at least separate the rows with parchment strips. Do not put them directly onto decorative tissue paper. First of all, most of this paper is not food-safe. And second, the panforte will firmly stick to it.

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Chocolate Ricotta Loaf Cake

The cake is sort of a lighter version of classic pound cake. Ricotta cheese replaces half of the butter which results in no less delicious and outstandingly moist cake. Good quality cocoa, chopped chocolate, and a double shot of espresso provide a superior chocolate flavor.

The cake on the photo is impatiently sliced warm.

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Blood Orange Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

It happened so that I have never eaten or made an upside down cake that was a disappointment. They always turn out moist, caramely, and with a perfect crumb. Different fruits for a topping allow innumerable  variations of already lovely idea.

Blood oranges are great here since their skin is thinner and white bitter pith is less pronounced, so the cake gets just a hint of bitterness which is quite charming.

I wish you all wonderful holidays!!!

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