Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Shamrock Shake Takes Solid Form

We all know that McDonald's Shamrock Shake is legit. It's one of my all time favorite (non-Blue Bell) ice cream desserts. I found when I moved here that everyone else in Clovis was already in the know about the amazingness that is this much so that most of our McD's are sold out of the shake mix by March 1. This forced me to create my very own copycat recipe--with fantastic results. So what are we doing here today? Well you see, the problem with the Shamrock Shake is its consistency, or rather...its inconsistent consistency (head hurting yet?). If you come in too hot and try to drink the shake the second you get your grubby mitts on it, you're gonna be met with a Level 5 brain freeze. Like a "I forgot my name and what colors are" kind of brain freeze. But on the other hand, if you take too long, you might as well be drinking ice cream sweat. No one wants that. The other issue I have with the Shamrock Shake's consistency is its inability to be shared...people will see you with one, and they will want a drink. Maybe you don't mind wheeling and dealing with other people's germs, but I have always lived my life by one simple mantra when it comes to drink sharing: unless you're served in a frosted glass, never come within four feet of my lips. That and I'm incredibly selfish...why would I want to share my Shamrock Shake with anyone? I knew I had to solve the problems facing the Shamrock Shake. I went searching for answers, and like most of my problems in life, the solution was cupcakes.
McDonald's should pay me for this recipe.
Say a yummy hello to the boozy Shamrock Shake cupcake with Baileys white chocolate whipped frosting. I suppose one might notice I added quite a bit of alcohol to these cupcakes...I just now realized that the third issue I have with the original Shamrock Shake is that McDonald's doesn't spike them for me. Problem solved. This is where that "I gave up drinking but not eating booze thing for Lent" comes into play. In hindsight, wording is everything, and boy do I know my way around words...probably would've made a great used car salesman or lawyer, but instead we're here and I'm not getting paid to regale you with my expertise in poetic wording. That's not at all depressing or anything. Better drink eat a cupcake to soothe my feelings.
Look, baking booze has returned!
Okay, I browsed Pinterest for DAYS and couldn't find a recipe I liked enough to adapt. None of them really seemed like they would actually taste like a Shamrock Shake in solid form, so I was left to my own devices and had to ponder what might work. I had a box of white cake mix on hand in case things went horribly awry since I needed these for a party, but thankfully it remains unopened in my pantry waiting for some other inevitable screw up. My perfect recipe is as follows:
  • 1/2 cup of room temp butter
  • 2 room temp eggs
  • 1/3 cup of slightly chilled milk (remember, stuff mixes together better when it is all the same uniform temp)
  • 1/4 cup of Baileys (I used original but salted would work)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp mint (not peppermint) extract
  • 12 drops green food coloring
  • 1 cup of cake flour (use the scoop and swoop method--do not hard pack the cake flour)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of regular flour (softly packed--not hard)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
I know, it seems like a lot of ingredients, but this recipe is super simple and quick. Preheat your oven to 350 and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers. Cream the butter in stand mixer until it's a little fluffy. Then add in the rest of the wet ingredients and mix on low. Things will look weird, green, and sloshy at this point. No worries. While that is mixing, in another bowl, blend together the flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add half of this dry mix to the wet stuff in the stand mixer and blend on low for a minute. Scrape the bowl down, add the rest of the dry mix, and blend until incorporated.
I'm nothing if not festive.
This recipe yields 14 cupcakes which seems like an odd (even) amount until you remember you need to save two for taste testing and blogging purposes. Kismet, really. Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full and tap the pan on the counter a couple times to release any air bubbles. Bake in the middle rack for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. When finished, place the tray on top of a baking rack and let cool for 5 minutes before removing the cupcakes to the rack to finish cooling.
They're literally the most perfect, non-domed in or out cupcakes I've ever seen. I didn't realize such a thing could exist.

More baking booze?
Once the cupcakes are almost cooled, it's frosting time. Now, usually I absolutely HATE whipped frosting, but a cupcake-shake hybrid needs a cupcake-shake hybrid frosting. Shamrock Shakes aren't served with a large dollop of buttercream on top. Although, maybe they should be; note to self- try this when you're prepared for the inevitable diabetes diagnosis immediately following consumption. But while this frosting is light and whipped, it's actually really dense on flavor and overall taste, so it's perfect, really. You will need:
  • 1 pint of heavy whipping cream, cold out of the fridge
  • 1/3 cup of powdered sugar
  • 1 package of white chocolate instant pudding
  • 2 TBS of Baileys (again, salted Baileys would work great, too)
Start by whipping the cream in your stand mixer for a minute on low before turning to high. Stop mixing when you've reached near whipped cream consistency. Dump in the sugar, pudding mix, and Baileys. Finish blending on high for another 30 or so seconds.
Other awesome things you'll need: cherries, green sprinkles, and a piping bag loaded with a 1M tip.
It just keeps getting better from here...
Now, I didn't want to cover up how pretty and green these cupcakes are with a ton of boring, white frosting. So I took my bag and held it straight over the middle of each cupcake and piped a large mound of frosting. 
Like so.
Things will get squished down and spread out a bit if you put cherries on top. I had enough leftover frosting that if you wanted to do a traditional swirl on each cupcake, you'd totally have enough. I then added some pretty green sprinkles because we're obviously going for a theme here. I think these were actually leftover sprinkles from last year's batch of actual Shamrock Shakes, so this worked well.
I...I just want to lick them all. Just a little.
Finish by adding a cherry on top!
If cherries aren't your thing (weirdo), add some type of Saint Patrick's Day themed cupcake topper like a clover or pot of gold or something else that's not edible because you want to watch the world burn. Cherry hater. I went with cherries because A) That's how the real Shamrock Shake comes and B) Clovis doesn't do drunken holidays, so there weren't any St. Patrick's Day themed cupcake toppers anywhere. Guys...when I ate one of my taste test cupcakes it was a divine experience. Much like a real Shamrock Shake, the second I tasted these cupcakes I felt like I got punched in the mouth by a tube of  mint toothpaste, and it was awesome. After the mint flavor overpowered my taste buds, two seconds later I was met with the creamy, perfectly whipped frosting to match it, and it was like I was actually drinking an honest to goodness Shamrock Shake with the added bonus of no brain freeze and no having to share. There's a nice, resonating aftertaste of Baileys (especially in the frosting) that just puts these right over the top. Shamrock Shakes in individual, handheld (and boozy) form are the perfect way to go. If you ever wondered if you could drink a cupcake, the answer is surprisingly yes. Now I'm off to go find a list of all Irish holidays so I can find more excuses to make these bad boys year round. 'Til next time, my fellow eaters!
Let's hope there's a major holiday at least every other month.

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