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Entries in st patricks day (5)

Saturday
Mar162013

Happy St. Patrick's Day, Love CakeSpy

Green Baby Unicorns

Photo: flickr user Dragons and Beasties

Happy St. Patrick's Day, sweet ones. Here are some links that I think you'll enjoy!

Homemade Shamrock Shake. YES!

Forget Red Velvet. Today, it's Green Velvet!

This cake is also very magical.

A rather magical St. Patrick's Day Cake.

Meet the Irish Potato Candy!

Chocolate Irish Cream Pie. YUM.

Wearing o'green cake, by Taste of Home!

SpyMom's Irish Soda Bread. It's tasty.

Chocolate Mint Pie. Yum again.

Peanut Butter St. Patrick's Day Truffles. Yum!

Make Irish Soda Bread Awesomer.

You know, Nanaimo Bars would taste great with some Irish Cream...

Or just pick up an Irish Cream Donut.

The Curious Case of the St. Patrick's Day Frog Cupcake.

Thursday
Mar072013

The Curious Case of the St. Patrick's Day Frog Cupcake

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

It's a funny thing about regional baked goods. Sometimes, you don't realize they're regional until you move away from an area. And for me, one such baked good is the St. Patrick's Day Frog Cupcake.

I grew up in a magical part of the world known as the Jersey Shore. And every year around the first of March through St. Patrick's day, local bakeries such as Freedman's Bakery would bake up a very interesting confection: the frog cupcake.

Let me explain a bit further, though. A frog cupcake is NOT simply a cupcake decorated with a frog face. Its construction is like so:

Frogs chart

When assembled, it looks like this:

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

Now, chances are, if you aren't a local in the NY metro area, you may never have seen this glorious confection. For me, it wasn't until I relocated to Seattle for a time that I realized that this wasn't an everywhere treat. So what gives?

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

Well, I have to say, this is a moment where I want to say "Bless the Internet", because, as it turns out, there's an entire website dedicated to the subject  (and preservation of) these delightful frogs. It's called Follow Your Frog. It even has a page dedicated to the evolution of the frog. The research isn't scientific, but references that the frog pheneomenon could date back to the 1920s, in Australia:

A place called Balfours, which evidently still has them today. These Froggies are quite different than their American cousins (well, OK, we haven’t tasted met them yet, but from what we've read). These are tea cakes, originally just green, then also pink and chocolate coated (yes, chocolate!). Were these the frogs that came to America and were supersized? Or are the Frogs that settled in the New York metro area instead from Europe? Frog historians (ok, there really is no such thing...crazy people obsessed with Frogs) are attempting to trace their path…

But then the page goes on to say

Next sighting - bakeries in the NY Metro area in the 1960s-70s. These are the frogs of our childhood, and all the local bakeries (Coquelle’s, New Garden) in the Newark NJ area had them for St. Patrick’s Day (and ONLY then).

Newark area bakeries disappear over time, with Coquelle’s ending in the 90s, and we thought they were extinct. Uncontrollable sobbing continued every St. Patty’s Day. Until…

Frogs found in Central Jersey! In fact they were there all along, probably as long as the Northern NJ frogs – we just didn’t know. Vaccaro’s in Clark NJ saves St. Patty’s Day!

Frogs go mainstream with the Wegmans supermarket variety – although for the last 2 years in NJ they were MIA… so hopefully they have not gone the way of the dinosaur…

An internet search leads to the discovery of La Delice in NYC – another older bakery which has had them for a long time. And these frogs don’t hibernate – they proudly show their googly eyes every day of the year.

The fantastic creators of the Follow Your Frog site have even started something called FrogFest, which pits frog cupcake makers from NY, NJ, and PA against one another to see whose frogs are the finest. My goodness, why haven't I been to one of these?

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

As the site notes, and as I can attest, the frog is a dying breed. When I visited Freedman's in Belmar recently, which is under new ownership since my childhood, the employee had no idea what I was talking about when I inquired about frog cupcakes. A longtime employee's face, however, lit up as she said "Oh my god! I remember the frogs. They were like sugar bombs! So good!". 

However, in nearby Spring Lake Heights, the frogs are available at a bakery called What's For Dessert. Their specimen is a fine one, with a decadent edge owing to a butter cookie leprechaun hat (adhered with a birthday candle!). And by a "fine" specimen I mean a true and complete sugar bomb of a delight. It's not fancy eating but it sure is fun. Here is my nephew about to dig into one:

Dylan and his frog

It is humane to remove the eyes before eating, but that's not to say you can't have a little torturous fun with your frog. Sensitive readers may want to skip the next few photos.

Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ Frog Cupcakes, Whats for Dessert, Spring Lake Heights NJ

OK, OK. I hope I've expanded your sweet horizons by offering you the fable of the Jersey Shore frog today. If you're curious, I highly suggest visiting the Follow Your Frog website, where you can find frogs and report sightings!

It may not be easy being green for these frogs, but life is certainly sweet for the eaters of these treats. 

Monday
Mar122012

Everyone's Irish: Chocolate Irish Cream Pie for Serious Eats

Chocolate cream pie is undoubtedly a thing of beauty, especially when it is encased in a chocolate cookie crust. But when a celebration is in order, you can make it even better by adding a little bit of booze. A simple splash of Irish cream gives this already delicious triple chocolate pie an intoxicating upgrade, adding a creamy and slightly bracing (in a good way) flavor contrast.

Not into alcohol? Not a problem. Simply skip the strong stuff in favor of heavy cream sprinkled with a shake of cocoa powder, or whip up a batch of non-alcoholic Irish cream.

Between the buzz of the spirits and the sugar high from the chocolate, one slice of this pie may find you doing an Irish-style jig.

For the full post and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
Mar152010

The Bomb: Filled Cupcakes a la Smitten Kitchen for Serious Eats

Here in Seattle, every March something extremely joyful happens: all of the cupcake shops debut their individual takes on boozy Irish-themed cupcakes.

However, for those of you not in Seattle (or someplace that embraces Irish-inspired cake flavors as readily), fear not, because I've found a recipe to share.

It's an adaptation of the now legendary version first found last year on Smitten Kitchen, with some small liberties taken. Amazingly, while the alcohol is very much present in these cakes, it somehow manages to not be overpowering, instead imparting sophisticated flavor to the frosting and filling and a decadent fudgy texture to the cake.

For the full writeup and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

 

 

Friday
Mar052010

Baker's Dozen: A Batch of Sweet St. Patrick's Day Recipe Ideas

Photo credits, from top left clockwise: South in Your Mouth, King Arthur Flour, CakeSpy.comSeeing Green: Green Velvet Cupcakes from South in Your Mouth.

You may not be Irish, but pretending to be is fun while eating Bailey's Irish Cream Fudge, via Cookie Madness.

In the most recent issue of Bon Appetit, Andrew McCarthy (yes, the actor!) shares a lightly sweet and delectable Irish Soda Bread recipe.

Speaking of Soda Breadremember when CakeSpy tried to make it awesomer?

How about some Shamrock Chocolate-Mint Brownies, via Wilton?

Even if you don't make it, simply looking at the pictures of this Chocolate Stout Cake via King Arthur Flour is a delight.

This easy Irish Whiskey Cake comes with a warning: "This has significant (uncooked!) alcohol content and is not appropriate for non-drinkers." Translation: good times!

Speaking of beer-based desserts, Peabody, who is a genius, has a recipe for a chocolate stout creme brulee.

What exactly is the difference between Irish and Scottish shortbread? Not sure, but this Irish Shortbread sure does look good.

Little Shamrocks has a sweet collection of Irish dessert recipes, including Irish Cream Pudding Parfaits

It may not be easy being green, but it sure is easy to eat green, when it is in mint ice cream form. Via Blondie and Brownie.

Who could forget this monstrosity of a homemade shamrock shake?

Bakerella's Shamrock Cake Truffles: a St. Patty's classic!

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