St. Patty’s Recipe Round Up

It's raining shamrocks! Or, in Portland, just raining.

When I first moved to Portland, oh, umpteen million years ago, I worked at a downtown shop called Kathleen’s of Dublin.  (Oh look, it still exists!) The shop sells all kinds of Irish goods, from clothing to ceramics to food – all of it on the upscale end of things, not the usual trinkets and toys.  It was fun to work there, and I ended up with a love of all things Irish.  In fact, my husband and I – though neither of us have any Irish heritage to speak of – ended up with wedding rings featuring a Celtic knotwork design.  I’m pretty sure we bought our bands at Kathleen’s – but to be honest, I’m pregnant and the baby ate my brain, so I can’t swear that anything I say has a basis in fact at this point.

At any rate, I still love Irish music and Irish food and oh, the beer . . .

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S’mores Brownies

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Ever since I started my chocolate business, I seem to crave . . . baked goods.  I can’t really explain it.  Pounds of chocolate everywhere, and I would give my kingdom for a cookie.  Sigh.  So even though I had lots of chocolate bunnies around, and even though my husband felt the need to make–on his own, through his own free will–a key lime pie (!) for Easter, I still had whip up a batch of something, anything, to quiet the inner demons.

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Cinnamon Caramel Almond Brownies

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This recipe is what happens when you need dessert for a weekend getaway, and lo-and-behold, you have (1) leftover caramel, (2) a bunch of toasted chopped almonds, and (3) a serious fondness for cinnamon and chocolate together.

This is a simple, one-bowl brownie recipe, and oh so easy to adapt as you like.  Everyone should have a recipe like this taped up on the fridge, and never never buy those box mixes again.  Well, unless you are really short on time and really need you some brownies.  I understand.

Two important notes about this recipe:

1.  You can use store bought caramels for this recipe (unwrapped, melted in microwave), but really, why would you?  Don’t be afraid of making your own caramel!  I am a recent caramel-making convert, thanks to my hero David Lebovitz, check out his super helpful tips here.  I used his recipe for Salted Butter Caramel, made with the real stuff, Fleur de Sel, and there are no words to describe how phenomenal the caramel is.

2.  You can use ground cinnamon for this recipe (a teaspoon or so, to your own taste), but really, why would you?  If you haven’t discovered oil based flavorings, you just don’t know what you are missing.  Oil-based flavorings have a depth of flavor that is unsurpassed, you simply can’t get the same result from ground spices, or from flavored extracts.  I use both cinnamon oil and peppermint oil in my chocolates, you can find them at your specialty grocer or online at Lorann Oils or similar sites.

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Also, do you know the Foil Trick?

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