Archive | March, 2012

St. Patrick’s Day at home: Wholesome Thin Mints after Corned Beef

18 Mar

A stack of minty cookies

There’s something about the mention of a meaty meal and a classic American cookie in the same sentence that seems bizarre– even unappetizing, but I ask that you read on and suspend any ounce of doubt.
Ever since I started hanging out with the Ragers (back when I was simply ‘Pena’), I learned the true meaning of St. Patrick‘s day and the culinary contribution that the Irish have made to dreary, overcast days.

My turn to dish out a satisfying corned beef and cabbage meal came this year.
For years, I had also been meaning to try Heidi Swanson’s All-natural Thin Mint cookies. She published the recipe on her blog in 2006, but it was not until Chris bought me the Super Natural Cooking cookbook that Heidi’s mint chocolatey concoction settled itself into the recesses of my mind. I found everything I needed,¬†including whole wheat pastry flour, at Whole Foods. And thanks to this hipster-targeting conglomerate, I was able to fulfill my wholesome thin mint fantasy on short notice (one evening before our lunch). No high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Victory!

I’m happy to report that both first-time attempts turned out better than I could have hoped. Paired with a couple of stouts and fun conversation, I can say that my belly and my heart are full.

Cheeses of the Irish variety

Kerrygold Dubliner with Stout

Corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes, and roasted carrots. Perfect for a rainy March afternoon.

All-natural, shamrock-shaped thin mints

Corned Beef, Cabbage, and Potatoes

1 4.5-lb flat round corned beef (already marinated)
2 one-pint cans Murphy’s or Guinness stout
4 C water
3 lbs Potatoes (I use red), quartered
1 head Cabbage, quartered
Himalayan Sea Salt, to taste

Place beef in a large stockpot. Pour beer and enough water to entirely cover the meat. (You will use some of the liquid later for the cabbage and potatoes.)
Cover and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low immediately after boiling and simmer for 3 hours.
Remove 4 C liquid from stockpot. (Be sure to leave enough liquid to cover the beef.) Simmer corned beef for an additional 30 minutes, while potatoes are boiled and carrots are roasted.
In another large pot, bring the  potatoes and broth to a rolling boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low for 30 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, add cabbage, sprinkle with salt to taste, and cover.
Meanwhile roast carrots as directed in a previous post about Pesto Roasted Vegetables.

Remove beef from the broth and slice, cutting against the grain. Serve immediately, submersed in the au jus to keep the beef piping hot and moist.

Remove potatoes and cabbages from broth and serve immediately.

Remove roasted carrots from baking tray and serve immediately.

Wholesome Thin Mints

Directly from Heidi Swanson’s All-Natural Thin Mint recipe.

Chocolate Wafers:
8 ounces organic butter, room temperature
1 C organic powdered sugar
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
1 C cocoa powder
3/4 tsp fine grain sea salt
1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour

Chocolate Peppermint Coating:
1 lb good quality semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/2-2 tsp natural peppermint oil (to taste)

I’ve included visuals that might help:

Organic chocolatey powder

Cream butter and sugar to the consistency of thick frosting.

Mix until dough is no longer dusty and still crumbly. Do not over mix.

At this point, I simply kneaded the dough in its bowl twice and formed a huge ball. I placed the dough in small trash bag and flattened the ball out to a 1-inch thick disk before placing it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then it was ready to roll out to 1/16 of an inch thick.

Rolling out the dough still inside the big plastic bag

The fun part was next.

Auntie Lucille's cookie cutter

Shamrocks baking

Hold coated cookie up with a fork until no longer dripping. Try tapping the fork gently on side of pan.

Thin mints and ice cream

Happy St. Patrick’s Day and happy eating!