There are lots of things that come to mind when most people think of St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer, leprechauns and bagpipes would probably be on most folks’ Top Five lists. I assure you I will cover all that and more tomorrow. But for today, I thought I’d blog about two things I baked up to get me in the celebrating spirit. This post is about Guinness cupcakes and Irish Soda Bread.

To begin, yes, you read that correctly. This cupcake recipe is a great way to take care of that last Guinness bottle you have laying around from your party, or a way to get your fix of the famous stout without having to compete in a race against the clock to prevent yourself from drinking curdled milk (do not even get me started on that tradition). Here’s how I started:

(Which of these things is not like the other!?) Anyway, I took the recipe basically item for item from this website, so I won’t try to lay claim to it by regurgitating it on my blog. I will note that I used salted butter by accident (whoops!) and that the recipe actually yielded 40 cupcakes, not 24 like it states. I also forgot to cool the cream cheese frosting after whipping it up (or rather, I didn’t realize that was actually necessary), so I wasn’t able to top each little dessert with the sweetness it deserved. Regardless, I brought these to work and they were a big hit. They don’t come out too sweet or too chocolaty; the Guinness really helps mellow all of the stronger flavors. I baked some with cupcake tins to bring in to work, and made the other half of the batch right in a greased cupcake pan, so they came out with no tins at all (pictures below, taken by my lovely roommate). This was my favorite way because to me they look like little mini glasses of Guinness: dark and heavy bodied bottoms with a light, fluffy head. Yum yum yum!

Next, I called my Grandma and asked for her Irish Soda Bread recipe. After thinking about it, I decided not to post the actual recipe because frankly, it was nice of her to share it with me and I didn’t ask for permission to share it with anyone else. So, instead, here are a bunch of recipes that looked really great: this one got high reviews on FoodNetwork, these scones are a little unorthodox but look incredible, and this recipe isn’t too far off from the one I used.

Mine didn’t come out quite as planned, which shouldn’t be a huge surprise since I rarely bake and have only made bread once before. To begin, I didn’t make the loaves tall enough, so once finished and slices, each piece looks more like biscotti than sliced bread. Second, the texture came out too gooey and wet, which is part of why I had trouble shaping it. I thought this was strange since the only liquid the recipe called for was 2 cups of buttermilk. Still, the flavor was there, and now my kitchen smells like my Grandparent’s house in my childhood. I’m including a photo I took from up above to show the ever-important cross I cut in the middle, per my Grandma’s instructions.

Everyone should try to get their hands on some Irish Soda Bread this week, especially if they can’t get close to some bangers and mash or corned beef and cabbage. OK, all this talk of food is reminding me I have leftover cupcakes. Not for long!