Saturday, March 14, 2009

Party Favors

Party anticipation is never complete without the careful consideration of what dish to bring to the occasion! Should I go with a tried and true favorite or try something new? Stick with a theme or go out on a limb?

I had just such a debate when determining what to take to this evening's St. Patrick's Day party hosted by our good friends. As a previous post indicates, my first attempt at a theme related dish was a bit misguided. My dilemma seemed perfect work lunchroom conversation fodder (safer than politics or religion, I say) and soon recipes were raining down on me: Irish Soda Bread and Guinness Stout Ginger Cake! I thought, why not? Add to that my husband's family recipe for Almond Poppy Seed Bread (which is as much a dessert as it is a bread) and I knew I had the perfect dessert platter to add to the party mix.

Well, perfect might be stretching it a bit, it turns out. The Irish Soda Bread would have turned out perfectly - if only I would have let it bake for 10 more minutes. The toothpick test failed me and I ended up with a soda bread loaf with a soupy middle. Think Jelly Doughnut but much less appetizing. Consequently, it was benched for the last minute replacement of Jewel seasonal cupcakes. I watch Top Chef enough to know when to keep a dish in the kitchen, if you know what I mean.

Next, I discovered that the never-fail Almond Poppy Seed Bread does, in fact, fail if you leave out the almond extract. OK, I admit that it did not completely fail since it still tasted good, especially with the sweet almond glaze (I remembered the almond by then) that creates a wonderful and tasty crust.

The big winner today was the Guinness Stout Ginger Cake! With ginger, Guinness and molasses as main ingredients the finished product was dark, flavorful and ultramoist.

All-in-all, we had a fun night with great friends and great food. Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

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