Breakfast Buzz: Jameson and Baileys Irish Coffee Cake

irish coffee cake

“May those who love us love us. And those that don’t love us, May God turn their hearts. And if He doesn’t turn their hearts, May he turn their ankles, So we’ll know them by their limping.”

And so the countdown begins. It’s almost that wonderful time of year when being ghostly pale and looking amazing in Kelly green is the ultimate symbol of cool—so what if it’s only for about 48 hours.

I take it where I can get it.

Fratboymessy drinking aside, March 17th is a great day to dive head first into some great Irish food and love on freckles. Bring on the soda breads, scones, breakfast and beer laden stews—there’s nothing Irish about those damn coconut potatoes.

So…who’s up for breakfast?

Irish Coffee Cake
This cakey dream has all the elements of a warm Irish Coffee – java, Jameson and Baileys — in an edible form. It reminds me of those chocolate glazed donuts my grandma used to get from Curry Donut on Saturday mornings, just with a little more oomph. Thanks for encouraging the fat kid in me to recreate that taste, Gram.

Chocolate Coffee Cake:

  • 2 C. sugar
  • 2 C. All Purpose Flour
  • ¾ C. cocoa powder
  • 2 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 C. strong black coffee (room temp)
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 1 t. Cinnamon
  • 1 C. buttermilk or sour milk (1 T white vinegar + milk to equal 1 cup)
  • ½ C. vegetable oil

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add eggs, coffee, vanilla, buttermilk, and vegetable oil. Beat at a medium speed for about 2 minutes. Pour evenly into greased/floured pans. Bake 30-35 mins or until wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before you glaze.

*Time should be adjusted according to the pan you’re working with—I used 8” cake pans and cooked for about 32 mins. A rectangular or bunt pan may take a little more time. Start with 30 and go from there.

Jameson/Baileys Glaze Icing:

Melt butter and add all ingredients together. Mix until creamy. Drizzle over the top of your chocolate cake and allow to set (or not, if you can’t wait). It’s a little boozy but I’ve never heard anyone complain about a little buzz in the morning…

Give Thanks for Leftovers

The dust has settled. Families are back in their respective homes. I’m slowly remembering what work needs to be done in the coming week. And I’m officially sick of turkey.

Post-Thanksgiving days revolve as much around food as the holiday itself does. Why did we make so much? Can we freeze this? How are we going to eat all of this stuff? All are questions I’ve had over the last few days. Once it’s all cooked, we hit the point of no return — it’s time to own up and not let anything go to waste.

Matt (aka: my brobro) works for a fantastic artisanal bakery that on only rare and special occasions allows him access to a Chocolate Sour Cherry Round—a specialty holiday bread so rich and decadent that it easily confuses my taste buds for cake but makes a much more acceptable breakfast than the confection (toasted, dry and with coffee).

When I found one of the coveted chocolatey boules went stale after one too many days of hearing, oh we’re saving that for so-and-so, I had to act. No perfectly good holiday food would meet the Hefty Man on my watch.

It was bread pudding time.

I’d seen chefs I worked with whip batches of it together after someone forgot to wrap and put bread deliveries away. Just because we couldn’t serve the bread for dipping, didn’t mean it was trash. Commonly known as “poor man’s pudding,” bread pudding cites its origins back as far as the 11th century and was made by frugal cooks looking for ways to use every scrap of food including bread that past its prime. By adding a little milk, sugar, eggs and some spices any leavened loaf can be saved. Recipes will vary along with the type of bread used, but the comfort food definitely spans cookbooks around the globe.

Crisis averted, folks!

And of course…to pay homage to our older brother who couldn’t be home for the holiday because he’s out battling pirates and exploring the world with periscopes, we added some in some Sailor Jerry for Sailor Hughie. What’s a little chocolate and cherries without a little rum. 

The SJ worked particularly well because it’s smooth and doesn’t carry the overly boozey baggage that I found with some other spiced rum (that I bought 3 years ago on an island somewhere…) that threatened to take over the flavor party. And let’s be honest…who doesn’t love that label. The intense vanilla and toffee flavors in the rum added a subtle sweetness and tickled the best notes of the luscious chocolate—leaving my head spinning and my stomach ready to burst. You’re welcome and I’m sorry…

Sailor Jerry Chocolate Cherry Bread Pudding

  • 1 La Brea Bakery “Chocolate Sour Cherry Round”, stale
  • 2 ½ C milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1/3 C Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1 T unsalted butter, melted

Pre-heat oven to 350.

Cut bread into 1” cubes, place in a large mixing bowl and pour milk over bread. Allow the bread to soak for about 10 minutes until all of the milk is absorbed. In separate smaller bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, rum, and cinnamon. Gently stir into the bread mixture.

Pour butter into the bottom of a 9” x 9” inch baking pan. Coat the bottom and the sides of the pan well with the butter. Pour in the bread mix and bake at 350°F for 35-45 minutes, until set. The pudding is done when the edges start to pull away from the edge of the pan and the top gets crispy. Serve warm—with vanilla ice cream if you’re a glutton for punishment.

Hurricane Survival Candy

Dearest Hurricane Sandy: way to mess up a perfectly good week.

Instead of drinking hot cider, eating an obscene number of FUN-SIZE candy bars and watching Hocus Pocus until my brain reached the consistency of wet bread, I spent most of this last week watching the news. As if the inundation with smear campaigns wasn’t enough; I’m watching the Weather Channel. I hate that about you, Sandy.

I try my best to look on the bright side of things—past the generator that’s still running my parents’ refrigerator from the garage, the houses that are in the middle of highways and the lives that are turned completely upside-down. I had two extra days off and a bottle of red I most definitely deserved (a 70 hr work week does that to a girl).

With the risk of losing power at any moment, I cooked everything that required heat from our electric stove or would be ruined if left without refrigeration. Drinking an excessive amount of coffee helped get me through the milk. “Garbage eggs” accounted for all dead and dying vegetables living in the dark places on the bottom shelf. Chicken and dumplings took care of a frozen bird, some old carrots, potatoes, lemons and the remains of a bottle of white wine I believed to be long dead.

The problem: while we had some great meals to look forward to, we lacked snacks. It was raining far too hard to venture out for anything crunchy and the few pieces of candy we had were still alive for a reason—without naming names, I’ll say that waxy milk chocolate is not my thing. No amount of rainy day boozing would get me to that point…

I started digging and found some chocolate chips. With only butter in house, I couldn’t make myself make cookies but hatched a plan when I found the hidden emergency Oreos, cream cheese and some Triple Sec (we have 3 bottles for some reason). I love the bittery sweet flavor of triple sec because its gives the full flavor of orange without tasting synthetic like some liqueurs can. Plus, together orange and chocolate can do no wrong.

So, I failed miserably at my first attempt to make Oreo chocolate truffles. Apparently chocolate is a touchy substance that does not like liquid. When water, or in this case some delicious orange flavored Dekuyper, came in contact with melted chocolate, the chocolate actually freaked out. Seizing, as it’s called, can’t really be solved but the chocolate can be repurposed. So I tossed the Oreo idea and salvaged the lumpy chocolate with more triple sec and heavy cream to form a ganache. When chilled, rolled and dipped into more melted chocolate – which I was very careful to keep clear of all liquids and liquors—I managed to make some pretty amazing truffles.

So, thank you Sandy, for giving me the time to look around my cupboards, get covered in dark chocolate and have a great reason to log some extra miles as soon as it stopped raining. I love running in the cold anyway…

Sandy’s Triple Sec Truffles

  • 2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • ½ C Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ C Triple Sec
  • 1 C Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • Toppings!

I’ve seen some folks start with the chocolate chips in a regular bowl, but I found that the ganache formed easier with a little heat (maybe it’s cold in my apt?)—so I put my chocolate chips in a double boiler set to low. In a small sauce pan, bring heavy cream to a boil. Add triple sec. Pour cream mixture over chocolate chips and let sit for about 2 minutes. Slowly stir the mixture until smooth and shiny. Refrigerate for about an hour or until hard.

Using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out hardened chocolate and form into balls. The chocolate will melt in the warmth of your hands, so don’t mess around with them too much. I kept mine on a plate over ice to keep them cool. Once all of the ganache balls are formed, place in freezer. Melt remaining chocolate chips in a double boiler over medium heat. Once melted, drop heat to low or turn off completely to avoid burning chocolate. Be careful to avoid any water vapors or condensation from getting anywhere near the chocolate.

Prep cookie sheet with foil or parchment. If you have fondue forks, this is a great place to use them. If not regular forks, spoons or corn picks work great for rolling the ganache balls in the melted chocolate. Roll them one at a time and place on tray to dry. I rolled mine in some toppings—salted caramel hot chocolate mix, peppermint hot chocolate mix (W&S fix), and Himalayan pink sea salt—to mix things up a bit. Orange zest, flavored sugars and cocoa powder work great, too! Store in a cool, dry hiding place.

Not Your Mamas (or Grandma’s) Chocolate Chip Cookies

The first time I baked chocolate chip cookies in my own kitchen with my own pans and ingredients I purchased with my own money, I panicked. I’d gone too far, was instantly way too independent and far from home. Baking cookies was a family thing. Something we did together and only at holidays and there I was on a Tuesday (or whatever day it was) in my crappy little West Philadelphia apartment surrounded by the thick scent of old paint and industrial cleaning products, throwing tradition to the wind and doing it because I needed chocolate.

It was wrong.

But…I really wanted chocolate.

So I reverted to the exact mechanics of Christmas Eve baking in an attempt to make it right—holiday apron tied tight, The Waitresses blaring, I flipped spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet, carefully making sure that I had four blobs across and six blobs down on each tray per my grandmother’s strict training. She always said that if you couldn’t fit 2 dozen cookies on a pan, you were no baker—a sentiment that my mother loved to reiterate if my spoonfuls grew too generous.

When cookies are that small, they break all the laws of baking time and temperature–I must have missed something in the kitchen when it came to making these adjustments. My resulting cookies were black bottomed and stunk of burning chocolate.  

So, I made them bigger. No one was there to smack my hand with a spatula or pinch off the extra dough or tell me I was doing it wrong. And they were better (I’m sorry, Gram). I started messing with other things—chip type, Crisco in place of butter, size of eggs, dark and light brown sugar—until I found a way to make my perfect cookie.

Perfect is really boring, by the way. Dependable and delicious…but boring.

Ruth Wakefield took a chance when she made the first chocolate chip cookie at the Toll House Inn in 1930 and in celebration of National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (May 15th), I got to baking.

I searched out a substitution for the traditional ingredients from my standard recipe on the yellow chip bag. I’ve had a bottle of ROOT—a Pennsylvania brewed, root beer flavored liquor that dates back to the 1700s—sitting on the top of my refrigerator for about a year collecting dust so I decided to work with that instead of the traditional vanilla that the Toll House calls for. The sweet, herbal combination of birch bark, cinnamon, wintergreen, cardamom with hints of vanilla were the perfect substitution, giving the resulting cookie a taste that was more herbal than sweet vanilla.

It wasn’t quiet enough of the in-your-face Root Beer flavor I was going for, so a little paint brush (new, of course) full of booze painted the top of each cookie was the little extra “oomph” these guys needed.

I’m not a big dunker–milk just isn’t my thing–but a glass of CRW (read: cheap red wine) was the perfect pairing for this late night treat…no need to share with any kids.

Root Beer Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 C Crisco
  • 3/4 C white sugar
  • 3/4 C packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 2 t ROOT (+ 2 T for brushing)
  • 12 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Combine flour, salt and baking soda — be sure to stir!–in a bowl and set aside. Cream the Crisco, dark and white sugar until fluffy. (about 1 minute on high).

Add in the eggs and 2t ROOT–beat again on high for about 1 minute until completely incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients into the sugar/Crisco/egg/Root in 4 parts–mixing between each addition until flour is incorporated. Add in chocolate chips — mixing by hand so the chips don’t get annihilated.

Spoon or roll into balls and place onto cookie sheet — allowing space between dough balls for cookies to spread (I do 15 on a sheet). Place in oven for 5 minutes — rotate the pan–and cook for 5 more minutes. *I only do one pan at a time so they cook evenly.

Remove cookie tray from the oven and allow cookies to settle for about 1 minute on the tray before removing (onto a cooling rack if you are so inclined or a kitchen towel).

Once cookies are cool, brush remaining ROOT onto the top of each using a pastry brush (or small, clean paint brush). Put all dishes in sink, pray that someone else does them, pour large glass of red wine and enjoy!!