So perhaps, in her own strange way, my great-grandmother would understand how the holy holiday of St. Patrick's Day has become a marketing bonanza in America.
It's said that my great-grandmother died at 90 not out of sickness, but because she regretted losing her sight from all the sewing. My great-grandfather, who was also in his 90s, stopped eating after her death and died nearly a month later.
My mother remembered the tender greens picked from my grandmother's garden, but of my great-grandmother's food...well, let's just say she was a frugal Irishwoman cooking for a large family and tenants, and leave it at that. There's an old saying that Irish cookbooks have two pages--Guinness on the one side, and a picture of a potato on the other, and my great-grandmother wasn't a drinker, so her cookbook was even shorter.
Whenever my grandmother used to cook, it usually involved throwing a chicken carcass and some cut up vegetables into a pan, so I assume that pretty much sums up my great-grandmother's good, old-fashioned Irish cooking. Baking chicken until there was no longer any danger of contamination and cooking vegetables until they blended into one another.
Is it any wonder I preferred McDonald's Happy Meals and Shamrock Shakes growing up?
St. Patrick's Day has developed its own, odd traditions in the United States, embracing green beer and mint-flavored foods as well as slightly more traditional corned beef, potatoes, and cabbage. When I saw this recipe on David Lebovitz's blog, I had to make it. And it feels, well, somewhat Irish and seasonal, in my twisted American mindset.
Please check out the original version here! I made it pretty much as David specified, only I used only one pound of peppermint patties rather than two, as he suggests. I was making it for a friend of mine from yoga class, so I thought restraint was called for.
An American making a mint chocolate recipe for an Irish holiday, cribbed from an American blogger living in Paris. Who then brings the brownies to a class where an ancient Eastern practice is observed--in New Jersey. I can think of no better way of honoring my great-grandmother's status as an Irish-American.
Ingredient list is available here.
1. Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a 9X13 pan with foil. Butter the living daylights out of the foil. Trust me on this one!
4. Remember to unwrap the peppermint candies beforehand, so you don't have everything ready to go and suddenly realize why it's not nice to make fun of ingredient lists that specify UNWRAPPED candies as a gentle reminder to disorganized cooks.
6. Then, I added the chocolate butter mixture.
7. I slowly added in one cup of sifted flour to the wet ingredients. I used white whole wheat flour, rather than all-purpose.
6. Pour half the brownie batter into the pan. Top with the candy
9. Cool for an hour, then chill overnight to cut more easily. These brownies aren't ultra-fudgy, but are still quite dense.
The next time I make this, I may try I different type of candy.
Although I doubt my great-grandmother would approve of the extravagance of the chocolate used and the chocolate stains all over my clothing, I do know that she would have appreciated the effort I expended cooking for a crowd.