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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Luck o' the Irish Gold Bricks

Happy St. Patty's Day! I actually remembered and got a little green on everyone - a St. Patrick's miracle! Unfortunately I am not an everything-green-for-every-meal kind of Mom, at least not yet, but I do like to get in the spirit a bit. Who doesn't love a little reason to celebrate? I came across this adorable recipe for "Gold Bricks" and thought it was perfect. End of the rainbow and all that. Then I came across a very similar recipe but it was called "Blarney Stones" (you know, as in the Blarney Stone, the world's most unhygienic attraction), so I figured it MUST be Irish! And luckily, it's also totally delicious. But I still decided to go with the one named "Gold Bricks."This is for those of us that love to mix our sweet and salty. The cake is sweet and sturdy and the glaze is SUPER sweet so definitely go for the fully salted nuts - you will need the contrast. These guys are like petite fours with serious heft. The chocolate/peanut butter drizzle is optional so if you feel like you've done enough steps already, just leave it off. Although these little "bricks" are small, they pack a sensational punch!
Luck o' the Irish Gold Bricks
1/2 cup whole milk
2 T unsalted butter
1 cup sugar2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Glaze and Toppings:
2 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
3 cups salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips, optional
1/4 cup peanut butter chips, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350; coat an 8 1/2 by 12 inch baking pan* with nonstick spray, then line with a sheet of parchment paper. (*Seriously, who has this size? Why would they even make a recipe for it? I even looked at a store out of curiosity but did not find one. I used a random roasting pan that was kind of 8 x 13 but the cake was plenty thick so you could easily use your 9x13.)

2. Heat milk and butter for cake in a saucepan over medium just until milk comes to a boil. Remove pan from heat and let stand until butter melts.
3. Beat sugar, eggs and vanilla in a bowl with a mixer until light in color - seriously, get it almost white - and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
4. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl. Add flour mixture to egg mixture alternately with the warmed milk, mixing just until incorporated. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 16 to 22 minutes, or until cake springs back when pressed with a finger. Cool cake in the pan on a rack.

5. Turn cooled cake out onto a cutting board and peel off parchment. Cut cake crosswise into thirds, then halve lengthwise so you have 6 almost-squares. To make "bricks", cut each portion into 3 strips, each measuring about 1.5x4 inches. (*The original recipe says 4 strips, 1x4 each, but I found strips that thin didn't quite hold up to the glaze and some broke. If you want 24 small bricks instead of 18 medium, be sure to do the freezer step that follows.) If you have time, freeze the bricks for about 30 minutes or until firmed up a bit but not necessarily frozen solid.

6. For the glaze, whisk powdered sugar and milk together in a shallow dish to make a fairly thin glaze. I needed a full 1/2 cup of milk for a nice thin glaze. Pulse the peanuts in food processor until chopped, then transfer to second shallow dish. To finish, roll each brick in glaze to coat; let extra drip off. Roll in peanuts; transfer to wax paper to set.
7. Optional drizzle: melt chocolate chips and peanut butter chips in two separate quart-size plastic bags. Microwave in 30-second intervals, smooshing chips each time until melted. Snip off small piece of corner and push the melted chips into corner of bag; quickly drizzle over bricks. Allow drizzles to set before packaging bars.
Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home Holiday Cookies, 2008

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