Back before baby, when I was a busy busy working gal, I was not the sort to get all crafty when holidays rolled around (except for Valentine’s). Far from it. Most of the time, I worked right through them, especially for the lesser, B list holidays (ahem, Presidents’ Day).
But even for the big holidays, my efforts were decidedly lackluster. Let’s just say there were many a hastily scrawled coupon for Christmas gifts over the years.
But now that I am a mom, I am trying to make an effort to celebrate the holidays in all their cheesy glory, for our little dude.
He gets so excited for holidays, especially if any sort of cake is involved.
When he noticed all the leprechaun decorations at the grocery store, I resolved to come up with some sort of Irish feast to celebrate.
But, never having actually celebrated said holiday, let alone cook for it, I was at a loss as to what make.
So I poked around the internets for inspiration, but the luck of the Irish was not with me. I found a whole of lot recipes for Irish soda bread, which seemed nice enough, if rather dull.
Of course there were all sorts of recipes for corned beef, which I learned is not even a traditional Irish dish.
But more than anything were recipes featuring Guinness or whiskey, because apparently the Irish are fond of drink.
I did love the sound of Nigella’s chocolate Guinness cake, which she describes as “magnificent in its damp blackness.” Damp blackness, you say? I was intrigued.
However, to my chagrin, I am not a big fan of Guinness stout, even though I am a wee bit Irish. I might partake of a pint once in a blue moon, but I didn’t really want a whole six pack of the stuff sitting around. Plus I didn’t want to make a whole cake that our little dude couldn’t eat.
Nothing else sounded all that appealing, and I briefly considered scuttling the whole thing.
But then, whilst wandering around the grocery store, I spotted a sixer of Guinness black LAGER, and I thought “Leaping leprechauns! Now there is a fine drink, to be sure.”
Neither I nor the hubbie are much for stout, but lager? Well, that is a different story, laddie!
The stout version is a little too much for my taste, too rich, too filling, if pleasingly creamy. But the lager is fantastic – crisp, slightly bitter, frothy. It might be my new favorite drinky-drink.
With that discovery, the wheels started turning, and all of the sudden chocolate Guinness tofu pudding popped in my head.
For St. Paddy’s Day, I thought, why not nix the Mexican flavor and sub Guinness black lager for the liquid?
So I did just that and a fine time was had by all. Except for little dude, he had a fine time but with a Guinness-free version.
Chocolate Guinness Tofu Pudding
Adapted from The Minimalist
Recipe notes: The cool thing about silken tofu is that it turns incredibly smooth and creamy when you give it a good whirl in the blender or food processor. Plus it has a relatively mild flavor, which makes it a wonderful base for puddings with a strong flavor, such as chocolate. Not that I have anything against eggs or milk, but they can be a bit finicky when making pudding or custard. Well, if you are me. I have been known to accidentally scramble eggs when making custard. The tofu is pretty much foolproof. The recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman, but I changed it a bit to work with the package size of the tofu I normally buy, which is Mori-nu. It comes in 12 ounce blocks, whereas The Minimalist recipe calls for 16 ounces. It seemed weird to use 1 full 12 ounce block, and a mere 4 ounces of another block, leaving a random 8 ounces for some other use. So I adjusted the recipe to use a single 12 ounce block. (It turns out Nasoya makes silken tofu in 16 ounce blocks, but I have never come across this product in grocery stores). Also, The Minimalist version calls for 8 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, which is basically two full bars of chocolate. That is a little over the top for my budget (and girlish figure) so I dialed back the chocolate a bit too, to just one full bar. This pudding is nice and chocolate-ly, with a subtle, malty finish. And since I went the Guinness route, I thought hey, why not break out the whiskey too? It’s a party over here, and you’re invited. So I found this recipe for whiskey whipped cream, from Pioneer Woman. And to complete the caricature, a bit o’ green, in the form of homemade sanding sugar, from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle. To make an alcohol-free version (and gluten-free to boot), replace the Guinness in the pudding with water, and omit the whiskey in the whipping cream. To make this vegan, skip the whiskey whipped cream entirely, oh and use vegan sugar and chocolate, natch.
½ cup sugar
½ cup Guinness stout or lager
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
12 ounces silken tofu
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. In a small pot, combine sugar with Guinness; bring to a boil and cook until sugar is dissolved, stirring occasionally. Take off heat and add chocolate. Cover and let stand 5 or 10 minutes.
2. If you have an immersion blender, add tofu, vanilla and salt to the pot and blend until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender, put chocolate mixture in a blender or food processor, add tofu, vanilla and salt and blend until smooth. Divide among 2 to 4 ramekins and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Whiskey Whipped Cream
Adapted from Pioneer Girl
1 cup whipping cream
4 teaspoons whiskey
4 teaspoons sugar
In a cold bowl, beat whipping cream until it starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Add sugar and whisky, and beat until soft peaks form.
Green sanding sugar
Adapted from The Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle
Green gel food coloring
Put however much sugar you want in a ziplock bag, add a drop of food coloring, close the bag and work the coloring into the sugar. Add more food coloring for more intense color, as desired. Pretty cut and dried, but do check out Sugar Belle’s post on this, the details and photos are the bee’s knees!