Whether in good times or bad, March 17 only comes once a year. If you find yourself celebrating St. Patrick's Day at home instead of in a pub or dance hall, it's still possible to have a "spirited" time. All you have to do is pull out the whiskey and turn on your oven.
Meghan McGarry, the proud Irish American owner of Buttercream Blondie, curated a list of three dessert recipes for Salon that you can make this St. Patrick's Day using common baking ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry . . . or bar cart. In cases where you may be missing a less common ingredient or two, the pastry chef offered simple workarounds.
"If there was ever a time to add a shot of whiskey to your baked goods, it's now," McGarry told Salon in an interview.
McGarry's desserts are balanced with coffee flavors, which lend themselves to Irish creme. Whether you're able to throw in a little whiskey or not, the pastry chef hopes one of these recipes will help you bake a little happy into your day today.
When McGarry recently stopped by Salon's New York studios, she taught us how to make her St. Patrick's Day cookies. You can watch her full lesson below.
These cookie sandwiches, which taste like an edible Irish coffee, pack a double punch. There's Irish whiskey in the spiked espresso filling, which tastes like a warm hug feels, and in the cookie batter itself, which is very light.
"I paired Irish whiskey and coffee together, because they're the ultimate power couple," McGarry said. "The Baileys floating through the cookie is very delicate, and in the filling is the espresso for an extra shot of flavor that beautifully cuts through the sweetness."
If you don't have a Shamrock mold at home, you can use any 3-inch cookie cutter on hand. Still don't have one? You can turn a wine glass into a DIY cutter by using the back to achieve a perfect circular shape. Another element you don't need to fret over is the sprinkles. It's not important if you have classic colors like green and white. McGarry used the rainbow mix she had on hand in her pantry.
"I'm making the cookies with all rainbow sprinkles this year," she said. "We all deserve something bright in our lives today."
Brownies are always a good idea, and you can really turn them into a party on a plate by adding a shot to the batter. McGarry also spikes these coffee-flavored brownies with Baileys. This is a recipe that you can easily adapt depending on the contents of your pantry. Whether you don't have all of the ingredients to make the frosting or you just don't feel like it, that's fine. These dark chocolate wonders, which use 10 incredibly common ingredients, taste perfect all by themselves.
This cake was actually inspired by McGarry's last visit to Ireland. The cakes were not fussy but rather welcoming just like the people. Many of them are also coffee-infused, lending their flavor palette to Irish creme. A layer cake at first glance may not seem like something you can easily whip together at home, but this is a naked cake with no frosting on the outside of the pastry. That means no fancy piping is involved.
McGarry's recipes feature an Irish whiskey- and coffee-infused chocolate cake layered with Irish creme buttercream. If you don't have mascarpone on hand, simply substitute heavy cream. You could also nix the Irish whiskey ganache, but that's the literal icing on the cake.
Don't forget to follow @ButtercreamBlondie on Instagram for more ways to flirt with your St. Patrick's Day desserts!