I learned something this year on St. Paddy’s Day – it’s not cool to wear green anymore. That is, I know people who actively avoid the color on this, the Day of Many Beers, because they don’t want to be mistaken for one of the drunk jerks who amble around with neon green leprechaun hats on, enjoying the beautiful spring weather by throwing up on an azalea bush.
But this strange and wonderful holiday — during which we celebrate a country not our own — doesn’t have to be this way. Martha understands this. The Chewy Irish-Coffee Blondies in the March issue of Living are a classier alternative to typical Emerald Isle-inspired treats like, say, cupcakes topped with kelly green icing and a piped belt buckle in the middle (although, actually, if you’re making them, lemme go ahead and just sample one of those. No sense wasting food.)
The blondies are straightforward enough: mix up some dry ingredients, mix up some wet ingredients, combine. Then pour into a pan, sprinkle sliced almonds over, bake, and drizzle with a whiskey-spiked glaze.
The result is intensely flavored with coffee and whiskey. In fact, they’re almost overpoweringly coffee-whiskey flavored. Actually no, not “almost,” just plain overpowering.
But this could be because I screwed up. For some reason, I read “3 tablespoons of freshly ground coffee” as “3 tablespoons of freshly BREWED coffee.” So I dutifully French-pressed some joe (that’s what you coffee drinkers call the stuff, right?), but realize now that Martha may have meant to add just the grounds. My palms are a little sweaty with anxiety that she’s up there in Bedford sitting atop a horse, holding up a hand to signal Kevin Sharkey to quit his endless prattle, and sniffing the air attentively. “Somebody,” she says to Sharkey. “Somebody has sullied my name by brewing coffee instead of scooping it directly into blondie batter.” She and Sharkey then catch, skin, and cook a rabbit over a fire before kicking back under a pink-feather tree and taking a quaint little nap. MY APOLOGIES, IRELAND. I READ THE THING WRONG.
In retrospect, the brewed coffee could have intensified the flavor – and probably did – but the blondies were nice and moist in the end. When it was glaze time (confectioner’s sugar + whiskey), I followed instructions to a T, but nothing would drizzle. It would only pour. So I poured it and spread it all over the blondies like a proper glaze. Nobody noticed the difference.
The blondies were a big hit with whomever came across them, but we discovered that an extra day of chillin’ at room temperature in plastic wrap was just what the flavors needed to mellow out. I no longer felt like I was simultaneously going to (whiskey) and recovering from (coffee) a St. Patrick’s party gone terribly wrong.
So put these on your list of more mature, more subtle St. Patrick’s Day treats for next year. You’ll need them for sustenance while you cower inside your home, hoping your azalea bushes will survive until March 18.