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Irish treats for St. Patrick's Day

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Monday, March 17th, is St. Patrick's Day, the day where EVERYONE is Irish! Since I'm part Irish, I've got a big appreciation for the Irish cultures and customs. Just make sure you're wearing green come Monday! But it's a fun day and you don't have to be Irish to enjoy it!

I'm passing along some Irish recipes that will be just the thing to have Monday. These recipes came from a very dear friend who's originally from Ireland, Maureen Henderson. Maureen lives in Chapel Hill, NC now with her family and I had the good fortune once of having a Sunday afternoon tea with her and her husband at their home. Maureen shared some wonderful Irish recipes that are authentic and they came from cookbooks published by the Women's Institute of Northern Ireland.

You'll notice that these recipes are measured in ounces. If you have a scale that measures in ounces, you'll be in great shape, as this is supposedly more accurate than by using cups, which are measured by volume. If you don't have the ability to measure in ounces, remember that an ounce is equal to 2 tablespoons. The recipes were written as they were given to me.

The first recipe is for "Ginger Nuts", which is simply a gingersnap cookie. These are crisp and full of ginger flavor, just perfect with a cup of tea. The second one is for "Toffee Bars". This one has a a rich cookie base that's topped with melted chocolate, which are great for the chocolate fans. Finally, "Alice Cakes", which is a bar cookie with a shortbread cookie base topped with a coconut and walnut topping and a simple confectioner's icing. They're all good to eat and bring you closer to the Irish!

Last year, I shared another Irish recipe for "Irish Soda Bread" that's always traditional for St. Patrick's Day. For this recipe, follow this link:

http://www.examiner.com/article/a-bread-that-s-completely-irish

Brew some tea and have some of these special Irish treats come this weekend to celebrate this Irish holiday!

GINGER NUTS

  • 8 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 8 ounces sugar
  • 4 ounces margarine, softened
  • 1 small egg
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon mixed spice (allspice)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon syrup (any type of syrup will work)

Rub margarine into flour and sugar. Add ginger, mixed spice and baking soda. Make a hole in the centre and drop in the syrup and unbeaten egg. Mix well int a crumbly mixture. Mould together into a ball using the hand if necessary. Break off small pieces and roll into marbles. Set well apart on greased trays and bake in a slow oven until firm and browned slightly. (I baked these at 325 degrees).

TOFFEE BARS

Base:

  • 4 ounces butter
  • 3 ounces brown sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 ounces plain flour
  • 2 ounces porridge oats

Topping:

  • 3 ounces plain chocolate (I use semi-sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • chopped walnuts

Beat together butter, sugar and egg yolk until smooth. Add flour and oats and stir well until smooth. Press mixture into a rectangular tin and bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. Cool slightly. Melt chocolate and butter over hot water and spread over warm biscuit mixture and decorate with chopped walnuts. Cut into bars while warm but leave to cool completely in tin before removing.

ALICE CAKES

Base:

  • 3 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces margarine

Topping:

  • 2 ounces coconut
  • 1-1/2 ounces walnuts
  • 4 ounces soft brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 dessert spoon flour
  • 1 beaten egg

Icing:

  • 3 ounces icing sugar
  • 1-1/2 ounces butter

Make base by rubbing margarine and flour to resemble breadcrumbs. Lay this mixture on the bottom of a square sandwich tin. Mix topping ingredients well together and place on top of base. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Turn out onto a cooler with crumbly side up. Make icing by beating together the icing sugar and butter well together. Spread this carefully over the top and cut into sticks.

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