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Recipes for the Irish in everyone

Having grown up in the Chicago area, I was exposed to all things Irish when it came to St. Patrick’s Day: Green rivers (the Chicago River is actually dyed green), parades and lots and lots of restaurants serving corned beef and cabbage and green beer.

While I’m a fan of the cabbage dish, I’d much rather concentrate on recipes using another national food of the Emerald Isle, Irish whiskey.

Irish whiskey is simply whiskey made in Ireland. There are a variety of ways to incorporate whiskey into your recipes, but my favorite is to make Irish Cream. Irish cream is a creamed liqueur with Irish whiskey as its base. It incorporates cream and sometimes other ingredients, such as coffee, and it can be served just as is or in mixed drinks, cakes and desserts. It is one of the best ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Make Your Own Irish Cream Liqueur

14 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 3/4 cup Irish whiskey

4 eggs

1 cup cream

2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Let sit for at least 48 hours before serving. Stir or shake before serving. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to one month.

Irish Creamed Coffee

8 teaspoons sugar

4 ounces Irish cream liqueur or refrigerated Irish cream nondairy creamer

4 to 5 cups hot brewed coffee

Whipped cream in a can

Place 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 ounce of Irish cream into four coffee mugs. Add in the coffee and stir to combine. Garnish with a spritz of whipped cream and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Chocolate and Whipped Cream Irish Cream Cake

Cake:

1 (18.25-ounce) package chocolate cake mix

1 (4-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix

4 large eggs

1/2 cup Irish cream

1/2 cup cold water

1/2 cup oil

Filling:

1 1/2 cups cold milk

1/2 cup Irish cream

1 (4-ounce) package chocolate instant pudding mix

1 (5.2-ounce) package Dream Whip, all four envelopes

Whipped cream topping:

2 cups heavy whipping cream, whipped and sweetened to taste with powdered sugar (about 4 tablespoons) and vanilla or a frozen whipped cream topping mix, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cake mix, pudding, eggs, Irish cream, water and oil. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes and then pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cool in pans 10 minutes on wire rack. Remove from pans and cool on racks to room temperature.

While the cake is cooling, make the filling. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the milk, Irish cream, instant chocolate pudding and Dream Whip. Beat on high for 4 or 5 minutes until fluffy.

Split each layer in half lengthwise and spread about one cup filling between each layer and lastly on the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before frosting with whipped cream. Serves 12 to 14.

Irish Cream Brownies

1 (20 ounce) package brownie mix

1/2 cup Irish cream liqueur

1/2 cup oil

2 eggs

For the topping:

2 teaspoons milk

2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur

1 teaspoon brewed coffee

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 cups confectioners sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup toffee baking bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. In a bowl combine the brownie mix, the Irish cream liqueur, oil and eggs. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until the top is dry and the edges have started to pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour.

While the brownies are cooling, make the topping. In a small microwave bowl combine the milk, 2 tablespoons Irish cream liqueur and coffee; microwave on high until the mixture boils. Remove immediately and let cool. In the bowl of a food processor combine the butter and confectioners sugar and process until smooth. Add the vanilla and the cooled Irish cream mixture, processing until smooth. Spread the frosting over the cooled brownies and sprinkle the toffee bits on top. Serves 12.

– Submitted by Aaron Brucher of Indianapolis – Modified from About.com – Modified from a recipe submitted by Cara Marie Longsen of New York, N.Y. Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at ztlog@verizon.net or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.

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