BOSTON (RNN) - Around the world, 10 million glasses of Guinness are consumed every day. Some 2,300 glasses of Bailey's are enjoyed every minute. Those numbers go through the roof on St. Patrick's Day.
For those looking to indulge this March 17, you may just want to think outside of the glass, says Meghan McGarry, celebrated Buttercream Blondie blogger.
The daughter of an Irish father and Irish-American mother would know. A big circle has always been around March 17 on her annual calendar.
"Let's just say St. Patrick's Day is very big in my family," the celebrated pastry chef says.
In the Bronx neighborhood where McGarry grew up, the streets are lined with Irish pubs and restaurants and stores that sell every piece of Irish candy imaginable.
In honor of her Irish roots, the pastry chef has gathered the tastes of Woodlawn, where she grew up, and performed a sophisticated, adult makeover of three classic desserts: blondies, cookies and cupcakes.
Stepping into baking
Throughout her childhood, McGarry spend 16 years as a competitive Irish step dancer - a world she is still close to thanks to family ties. Her aunt and uncle own an Irish dancing school called the Flynn School of Irish Dance.
For all her life, McGarry will remember the years she spent dancing at Radio City Music Hall in the annual Saint Patrick's Day show.
"It was a great experience, because even though it was loads of work and hours of rehearsal time, it was lots of fun," she says.
All many hours of rehearsals and performances taught her one thing: determination.
"All the years of practice instill in you a drive to work really hard at something that you commit yourself to," she said.
Lucky for foodies, that "something" is baking. Take a look at these delicious treats.
If you are familiar with McGarry's brand, you'll know that a blondie is her signature dish. After all, it's in her name. So what better time to adapt her coveted dessert than on March 17 with the Magners Brown Butter Blondie.
"I thought to use Magners, because it's a hard Irish cider, and it's one of my favorite drinks," McGarry says of her inspiration.
The cider is made from apples, which provides a great flavor for the blondies. The taste is enhanced by the addition of brown butter. The end result is a blondie with a bite.
"This blondie is lighter than my typical blondie," she said. "It's just a really nice treat."
McGarry calls her Bailey's Irish Cream Cookie recipe "extremely festive." That's especially true if you cut them in the shape of shamrocks, as the pastry chef did.
Both the cookie dough and the cream filling include one of McGarry's favorite Irish treats: Bailey's. The liquor cuts the sweetness of the sugar cookie.
"I also added some coffee extract to the filling," McGarry says. "The coffee and the Bailey's are just a lovely pairing. Think Irish coffee."
If you want to glam up your cookie beyond the pastry chef's recipe, you can also try dipping your cookies in dark chocolate sauce and adding green and white sprinkles.
McGarry's final dessert offering is her Irish Candy Bar Cupcake, which is made using the Cadbury candy bars Crunchie and Flake. A Crunchie bar is a milk chocolate bar with a golden honeycombed center. While also a milk chocolate bar, a flake consists of thinly-folded strands of chocolate, giving it a flaky appearance.
"I wanted to make a grown-up version of my two favorite childhood candy bars," McGarry said.
The pastry chef started her creation by crushing up Crunchie bars in her go-to vanilla cupcake recipe.
"Then I took the cupcake to a whole other level by using the Flake bars to make a special ganache to fill the cupcake," she said.
The cupcake is finished with a whipped cream frosting that is spiked with caramel-flavored Bailey's and topped with more candy bar pieces.
To McGarry, this trio of desserts is something that would make her ancestors in County Mayo and Roscommon happy.
"St. Patrick's is a day to celebrate my Irish heritage - something I am very proud of," she said.
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