Back in our halcyon co-op studio days in historic Ellicott City, MD, artist friends and I spent long, productive hours working and collaborating over our various media. Creativity in that space abounded!
Sometimes artistically gratifying days were followed by equally enjoyable late afternoon cocktails at the old Phoenix Emporium on Main Street. It was the Eighties and the cocktails were sweet, creamy and POTENT!
Many a Toasted Almond, White or Black Russian or Nutty Irishman were enjoyed together while sketches, doodles and plans were penciled on napkins at the bar. Those ideas that didn't fall victim to melting ice and errant liquids sometimes came to to fruition in the form of stained glass or acrylic and canvas. Those were the days.
Flash forward thirty years and here I am still coming up with ideas over a cocktail, except the medium now is food and drink.
With St. Patrick's Day just around the corner, I started thinking about a Nutty Irishman again. I'd just bought bottles of peanut butter vodka and Bailey's Caramel Irish Creme when I was in Michigan last time. Why not use those together in a twist of the classic cocktail and make it a Peanutty Irishman? So I did. And it was good!
Next, I thought, why not make a cupcake out of those same flavors? So I did. And it was GOOD!!! Damn good. Creamy peanut butter and butterscotch in the cupcake part served as a base for richly smooth and decadent Bailey's and Peanut Butter Vodka Buttercream. Crowned with chopped and sugared peanuts, the cupcake became a dessert reflection of the new cocktail.
Funny enough, all these years later, the Phoenix is still right there on Main Street. Older, maybe wiser, certainly a little yellowed around the edges and, perhaps, beginning to show its age...or maybe that's just me....
Peanutty Irishman Cupcakes - Gluten-Free
- 1 package yellow cake mix, Hodgson Mill Gluten-Free
- 1/2 package butterscotch pudding mix, instant
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup Bailey's Irish Cream, Caramel
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 3 eggs
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 tablespoons shortening
- 4 tablespoons Bailey's Irish Cream, Caramel
- 1 tablespoon vodka, Nutliquor brand peanut butter vodka - or other nut flavored vodka or liqueur
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If using regular paper cupcake liners, place the liners into 18 cupcake pan holes; if using tulip cupcake liners (like I did) just use 9...these are double size cupcakes!
In the large bowl of an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, dry instant pudding, peanut butter, Bailey's oil and eggs until everything is mixed, scrape down sides of bowl and mix on medium another minute until well incorporated.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill cupcake liners 2/3 full.
Bake approximately 20 minutes for the smaller cupcakes - use a toothpick to test doneness. For the larger tulip liners, bake 35-40 minutes. Again, use a toothpick to test doneness. Don't overbake. Cool completely on racks.
Frosting: In the medium bowl of an electric mixer, combine sifted powdered sugar, butter, shortening, 4 T. Bailey's and 1 T. peanut butter vodka. Beat slowly until the powdered sugar is completely incorporated, increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. If the consistency is too stiff, add a little Bailey's or vodka.
Peanut topping: In a food processor or blender, pulse the peanuts and sugar until finely chopped. Don't overprocess or you'll have peanut butter instead!
Assembly: Frost each cupcake using the method you prefer - pipe it on or spread it with a knife. Sprinkle with the peanut sugar mixture and serve. Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Regular (Gluten FULL) version: Use a regular boxed yellow cake mix and prepare according to package directions using a WHOLE box (1/2 cup) of butterscotch pudding mix.
You'll get about 24 or so cupcakes from a regular cake mix. Bake at the recommended temperature on the box for the recommended number of minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick.
Also make double the amount of frosting and sugared chopped peanuts. Did you figure out that gluten-free mixes are only half the size of a regular cake mix?
Peanutty Irishman Cocktail
- 2 oz. Bailey's Irish Cream - Caramel
- 1 oz. Nutliquor Peanut Butter Vodka - or another nut liquor or nut liqueur
- 1 oz. heavy cream
- 1/4 cup salted peanuts
- 2 tablespoons sugar
First, make the sugared chopped peanuts as in the cupcake recipe above. Dip the rim of a martini glass or coupe in Bailey's and then in the chopped sugared peanuts. Set aside.
In a cocktail shaker 3/4 filled with ice, add the Bailey's, vodka and heavy cream. Cap securely and shake vigorously until the outside of the tin is frosted. Strain into the prepared glass and serve.
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