St. Patty’s

Leprechauns; Lucky four-leaf clovers; Soda Bread; Potatoes; Excessive amounts of beer; Green-colored anything and everything; These are the only things I know about St. Patrick’s Day, but with an understanding that’s as spotty as an inbred dalmatian at best, I couldn’t tell you how any of the above are interrelated here. Who is St. Patrick? What did he once do? Why are we celebrating him? The best answer ever offered tends to be along the lines of “…Does it really matter? Pass me another drink!” There is no doubt good reason to declare the 17th of March a holiday every year, and yet I still couldn’t tell you a single thing about it. Rather than fuss over the details, it really is better just to take the opportunity to make merry.

Happy to fill in the gaps on any day that give me an excuse to compose a special sweet treat, this one didn’t immediately fill me with dessert inspiration. Not wanting to go along the route of a big, boozy, knock-out grand finale, the options, like my knowledge of official St. Patrick’s Day traditions, were severely limited. At the last minute possible, it all began to fall into place. Potatoes were the start of this production, and remembering the old-fashioned formula for potato candy, the remaining pieces quickly fell into place.

Sweet, refreshing, and strongly minty, these soft patties are the green cousins to the typically chocolate-covered mint fondants. Contrasted by an emerald-colored coating of slightly bitter matcha, these mature treats are far more complex in flavor than their playful appearance might suggest.

Considering how last-minute this recipe is being delivered, you could certainly run with the idea and just use a simple coating of melted bittersweet chocolate instead… They simply won’t be nearly as festive. And for a holiday that I have the only loosest grasp on to begin with, I need all the bells and whistles I can get! Consider glamming up your patties with colored sugar or sprinkles, too.

Shamrock Patties

Mint Patties:

1/4 Cup Smooth Mashed Potatoes*
1 Tablespoon Non-Dairy Margarine
3 – 4 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 Teaspoon Peppermint Oil**
Pinch Salt

Matcha Coating:

1/4 Cup (2 Ounces) Cocoa Butter
1/4 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1 Teaspoon Matcha Powder

Green Colored Sugar, if Desired

*Peel and chop one russet potato into small chunks. Boil for 7 – 10 minutes, until very tender, and drain thoroughly. Beat well either with the paddle attachment of your stand mixer, or a potato masher, until completely smooth and lump-free. Do not add any liquid or seasoning. Measure out 1/4 cup and reserve the rest for another use.

**Peppermint oil is much stronger than peppermint extract, and thus the two are not directly interchangeable. If you can’t get a hold of the oil, try substituting 3/4 – 1 1/4 teaspoons of extract, to taste, and bear in mind that you will likely need more confectioner’s sugar to make up for the added liquid.

Place your mashed potatoes in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the paddle attachment, or in you food processor. Add the margarine and cream the two together until smooth. Incorporate 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar to start, along with the vanilla, peppermint oil, and salt. Start on a slow speed, or pulse to combine. The mixture will likely look like thick icing at this point, so add in another cup of confectioner’s sugar, and once again mix on low. You’re looking for it to become the consistency of soft cookie dough; mailable, but not gooey or drippy. If it still seems to be too loose, mix in up to an additional cup of the sugar, as needed.

Turn the potato candy out onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper, and gently flatten it out to about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in thickness. To prevent sticking, either sprinkle on a very light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or top it with a second silpat or sheet of parchment before taking the rolling pin to it. Stash your candy disk in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.

Once chilled, pull out a small shamrock-shaped cookie cutter approximately 1-inch wide. Lay out a second silpat or piece of parchment on top of a baking sheet. Cut out your clovers, and transfer them to the prepared sheet. Gather up the candy scraps, re-roll, and cut again, until you’ve used all of the dough. Should the dough become too soft and finicky to work with, just toss it back in the fridge for another 15 – 30 minutes, and try once more. Now, stash the whole sheet of cut centers in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before getting to work on the coating.

Place your cocoa butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 – 3 minutes, so that it completely liquefies. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients in a small dish, making sure that they’re thoroughly combined and that there are no clumps of matcha. Once the cocoa butter is melted, whisk in the dry ingredients, stirring vigorously to make sure that everything is completely dissolved into the molten fat.

Pull out your semi-frozen mint patties, and dip each into the matcha coating, one at a time. Place them back on the silpat, and watch the coating set up right before your eyes. This top coat is thinner than chocolate, so you may wish to double-dip once the first layer has solidified. If using, quickly sprinkle the decorate sugar over the dipped patties as soon as you set them down.

Make 3 – 4 Dozen Patties

Printable Recipe

Luck of the Eater

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, an excitement fills the air. People are preparing their most impressive green outfits, planning meals of “traditional” corned beef and cabbage (bleh), and most importantly, stocking up on the libations. You don’t need much of an excuse to drink around here, but this holiday seems like the perfect reason to get totally smashed, so that seems to be the point of the whole day by the time one reaches college.

Of course, I don’t drink and am not even the least bit Irish, so this holiday has typically fallen through the cracks for me. To be perfectly honest, I still don’t know what it’s all about or how one is supposed to celebrate without imbibing great quantities of alcohol, but I’ve decided that I want to pay my respects to the celebration in the only way I know how: By baking!

Setting aside the sugar after having overdosed a bit on marshmallows, it was high time to get something green back into my body. And what could be more appropriate for St. Patrick’s day than green clovers, after all? Smuggling a handful of spinach into the young dough, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not about to fulfill anyone’s daily requirement, but it did add some lovely flavor and just a hint of natural coloring.

Even if this holiday doesn’t hold much significance for me, just pulling those lovely golden buns out of the oven was cause for celebration. Finally, a simple sort of bread that is cooperative, easy, and incredibly tasty, appropriate for more than just special occasions, too. Even my mom was taken aback by how buttery they were!

For all those who are yeast phobic, give this one a try. You might just find that you luck will improve. It’s no coincidence that they embody such a fortuitous symbol!

Yield: Makes 12 Rolls

Four-Leaf Clover Rolls

Four-Leaf Clover Rolls

Infused with chopped spinach for a subtle green color, these four-leaf clover rolls will improve your luck for working with yeast, since it's a truly foolproof recipe.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Additional Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Plain Non-Dairy Milk
  • 1 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 1 (1/4 Ounce) Package Dry Active Yeast
  • 5 Tablespoons Vegan Butter, Divided
  • 1 Tablespoon Flax Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 1/2 Cup Frozen Chopped Spinach, Thawed
  • 4 Cups All-Purpose Flour

Instructions

  1. Briefly heat the milk just until it’s lukewarm; around 90 degrees or so. Add in the sugar and yeast and let it sit for about 15 minutes to become frothy and active.
  2. When ready, melt the 1/4 cup of vegan butter and add it to the liquid mix. Grind up the flax seeds using a spice or coffee grinder, and then process them for just a minute with the water. Incorporate this into the other liquids as well, along with the salt and thawed spinach (make sure you squeeze as much water out as possible!)
  3. Now, transfer this mix into your mixer and begin gradually adding flour in a couple of installments. You may need more or less than called for, so just keep an eye on it and allow it to fully combine everything before changing the amounts. Once it has more or less come together, switch in your dough hook, and allow it to process for about 10 minutes, until it’s a smooth elastic ball. You can also knead it by hand, but be aware that it will take longer to reach the proper texture.
  4. Lightly grease a large bowl and drop the ball of dough in, covering lightly, and allow it to sit in a warm place for about an hour and a half, until doubled in size. After it’s nicely risen, lightly grease a muffin tin in which to house the rolls. Gently punch the dough down, and cut it into four pieces. Each of those pieces should be cut into 12 more pieces, and then you’ll want to roll each of those pieces between
    your hands to form nice smooth little balls. Fit four balls into each muffin indentation. Cover the whole tray with a clean towel, and let it sit to rise again for one and a half hours.
  5. As the rolls near the end of their final proofing, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and melt the single tablespoon of butter. Lightly brush the tops of each roll with the margarine just before popping them into the oven. Bake for about 16 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Let them sit in the muffin tin for 10 minutes after leaving the oven, and then finish cooling them on a wire rack.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 215Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 369mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 5g

All nutritional information presented within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on BitterSweetBlog.com should only be used as a general guideline. This information is provided as a courtesy and there is no guarantee that the information will be completely accurate. Even though I try to provide accurate nutritional information to the best of my ability, these figures should still be considered estimations.