Tuesday, March 22, 2011

St. Patrick's Day Baking

This last Thursday was St. Patrick's Day. It was also my co-ed service fraternity's Big/Little Bake Wars. For the bonding event, one of my littles, Marilyn, and I decided to make a Thin Mint & Irish Cream Tiramisu. We thought it went perfectly with the theme and who doesn't love Thin Mints? We used THIS recipe from LaDue & Crew, while making a few of our own adjustments and variations. 

First, we made the ganache and mousse. Here's what we used:

Mint Chocolate Mascarpone Ganache
12 crushed* Thin Mint cookies (to save money, we bought the equivalent at Publix)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3 Tbs Mascarpone cheese
1 tsp Irish cream

*The recipe says to grate the cookies, but we just crushed them for simplicity sake.

1. Heat cream in a bowl within a pot of simmering water for about 3 minutes or until it gets hot.
2. Add Irish cream and crushed Thin Mints.
3. Stir until chocolate is melted.
4. Stir in mascarpone until all is well combined.
5. Chill in the refrigerator until cold.
6. Once chilled, beat it with a mixer until it seems like whipped cream.

Mascarpone Mousse
2 egg yolks
1/3 c sugar
2 egg whites
1 c Mascarpone cheese
1 TBS Irish cream
A couple drops of green food coloring 

1. In a bowl with a pot of simmering water, add eggs yolks and half the amount of sugar.
2. Whisk for about 5 minutes, until yolks become thick and lemon-colored.
3. Remove from heat and whisk for another 5 minutes until cooled.
4. Blend in mascarpone cheese.
5. In another bowl, use a mixer to whisk egg whites and remaining sugar until stiff peaks form.
6. Whisk in Irish cream.
7. Fold egg white mixture into egg yolk mixture.
8. Chill in refrigerator.
9. Afterwards, feel free to add in green food coloring!

Once you're done, it's time to get working on that Tiramisu!

Mascarpone Mousse (from above)
Mint Chocolate Mascarpone Ganache (from above)
Thin Mint Cookies
1/4 c coffee
1 TBS Irish cream
Small plastic cups

1. Set aside a mixture of the coffee and Irish cream.
2. Start off the cups with a layer of mouse at the bottom.
3. Soak a cookie (or 2 or 3) in the coffee mixture and place on top of the mousse.
4. Then place a layer of ganache, more soaked cookies, and another layer of mousse.
5. Top it off with a piece of a Thin Mint cookie.

We were trying to make as many servings as possible so instead of parfait glasses we used small plastic cups and did very thin layers. The tiramisu turned out delicious and were a hit at the Bake War. After hours of work between the two of us, it was astonishing to watch all the cups disappear in minutes. 

While the ganache and mousse were chilling in the refrigerator, we realized the tiramisu wasn't going to be enough to feed everyone and that we wouldn't have enough time (or ingredients) to make more. We decided that while we waited, we would also make some impromptu St. Patrick's Day cupcakes with whatever I had around my kitchen. This ended up being...

- Funfetti cake mix
- Milk chocolate frosting
- Coconut flakes
- Leftover Thin Mints
- Green food coloring

The result actually came out quite good and were received very well by guests who, thankfully, devoured them at the event (otherwise, that would've ended up being me eating all of them).

At the end of the day, Marilyn and I didn't win the Bake War. That honor went to my big and new sibling, Alex, who made some yummy oreo balls. They were so good, Marilyn and I actually didn't get a chance to try them because everyone had already eaten them all by the time we'd gotten there! Nevertheless, I got to spend some great bonding time with Marilyn and by looking at the response to our tiramisu and cupcakes, I like to think we were a close second <3

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