Green treats: Add festive flare to St. Patty’s Day celebrationsFARGO – I am not much of a baker. In fact, I have been known to burn break-and-bake cookies. So when McCormick sent me a package of green food coloring, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and St. Patrick’s Day recipes, I was hesitant to take on this assignment.
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM
FARGO – I am not much of a baker.
In fact, I have been known to burn break-and-bake cookies. So when McCormick sent me a package of green food coloring, vanilla extract, peppermint extract, and St. Patrick’s Day recipes, I was hesitant to take on this assignment.
But I love to eat baked treats, and the photos showcasing the green goodies looked too delectable to pass up, so I decided to give it a try.
Even with my meager baking abilities, I figured I could handle whipping up the Emerald Mint Milkshake (the prep time is only 5 minutes, and it’s not actually baked) and the Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes (I mean, seriously, they put the word “easy” right in the name).
There were also some Irish Cream Swirl Brownies that looked delicious, but after burning one too many pans of brownies, I have passed baking duty on to my husband, Tristin, who is much more adept at it than I am.
The milkshakes were quick and easy. All I had to do was blend some ice cream, milk, food coloring and peppermint extract together. But while my kids loved them, I felt like I was drinking a toothpaste smoothie.
If you’re a big peppermint fan, McCormick’s Emerald Mint Milkshakes are a fun, fast, yet festive St. Patty’s Day treat. Just make sure to take it easy on the extract.
The cupcakes were more challenging, but not nearly as difficult as I thought they would be. Since they weren’t as easy as opening a box and dumping the ingredients together (my usual method of baking cupcakes), I almost struck the word “easy” from the name, but making them only required the addition of a few more ingredients, and they tasted better than a typical boxed cupcake.
The recipe calls for an entire 1-ounce bottle of food coloring. I held back a bit to save some coloring for the frosting and milkshakes and it was more than enough. Be careful with the food coloring. I stained my hands and fingers green removing the safety seal.
The batter looks kind of nasty when blended – like some kind of botched science experiment or toxic sludge.
In fact, my 8-year-old daughter, Caitlin, who was helping me bake the cupcakes said, “It looks like a monster’s going to come out of here,” when we were blending the batter.
But once they were baked and frosted with a cream cheese icing, the cupcakes tasted moist and delicious.
I topped the cakes in the Minty Green Cream Cheese Frosting McCormick suggested.
It tasted good, but they looked kind of plain. I couldn’t find shamrock sprinkles and I didn’t want to use green sugar sprinkles on the green frosting, so my husband suggested mini chocolate chips and white chocolate shavings (I think I mentioned that he is the primary baker in our house.)
When he finished and I made some plain vanilla cream cheese frosting for variety, the cupcakes looked as good as they tasted.
McCormick’s Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes make a nice St. Patty’s Day treat if you have a little more time to do something special without getting too complicated.
McCormick also offers tips on turning everyday items into festive St. Patrick’s Day fare.
To turn beer green, add five to six drops of Green Food Color to every 12-ounce glass. For green soda, add six drops of Green Food Color to 8 ounces of lemon-lime soda.
For green blue-cheese dressing or green ranch or French onion dip, add 10 to 12 drops of Green Food Color to every half cup of the condiment.
For more recipes (like the Luck o’ the Irish Cake Pops and Green with Envy Cheesecake Bars), visit McCormick.com or Facebook.com/McCormickSpice.
There are also recipes for a Creamy Irish Coffee Martini and a Peppermint Paddy Martini on the company’s website and Facebook page.
Emerald Mint Milkshake
Makes 3 servings.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon pure peppermint Extract
¼ teaspoon green food color
Whipped cream and green sprinkles (optional)
• Place ice cream, milk, peppermint extract and green food color in blender; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.
• Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired. Serve immediately.
Easy Green Velvet Cupcakes
Makes 24 servings.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
1 package (18 ¼ ounces) German chocolate cake mix with pudding
1 cup sour cream
½ cup water
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 bottle (1 ounce) green food color
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 container (16 ounces) cream cheese frosting
Green sprinkles (optional)
• Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat cake mix, sour cream, water, cocoa powder, oil, food color, eggs and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened, scraping sides of bowl frequently. Beat on medium speed 2 minutes.
• Pour batter into 24 paper-lined muffin cups, filling each cup Xc full.
• Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely on wire rack. Frost with cream cheese frosting. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.
To Prepare Frosting:
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened, ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, softened, 2 tablespoons sour cream and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract in large bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in 1 box (16 ounces) confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Makes 2 ½ cups.
Minty Green Cream Cheese Frosting: Stir ½ teaspoon pure peppermint extract and ½ teaspoon green food color into canned cream cheese frosting or vanilla cream cheese frosting.
Recipes provided by McCormick