When I was a little kid, my mother would always make these little cake/cookies for St. Patrick's day. I highly doubt that there is anything Irish about them, but for me they became forever associated with the holiday.
These are not quite a cookie and not quite a cake. I think they are closest to a petit four. They are cubes of spongecake frosted with butter cream, then rolled in chopped salted peanuts. They are salty and sweet and crunchy and tender and unbelievably delicious and incredibly addictive. I don't care if they are Irish or not, they are one of my all time favorite childhood memories.
The technique of making them is a bit unusual, but trust me, it results in a really delicious end result. Frosting the frozen cake cubes is a bit tedious, but if you can find a helper or two who is detail-oriented (like my partner Doug) then frosting them is a snap! While one person is frosting the squares, the other rolls them in chopped peanuts.
I have no earthly idea how long these beauties keep before spoiling because they never last more than a few hours before they are completely devoured! I have heard they can be kept in an airtight container in the freezer for several weeks. Sounds true enough to me, I have no intention of finding out.
makes 2 dozen
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup boiling water
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp vanilla
Pre heat oven to 350F.
Line the bottom of a jelly roll pan (10 x 15) with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder and cream of tartar in a bowl and mix well.
In the work bowl of a standing mixer combine eggs and sugar and beat with the whisk attachment until very light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.
With mixer running, pour the boiling water into the eggs in a slow steady stream.
Add half of the dry ingredients and slowly mix in. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until a batter forms. Stir in vanilla.
Pour batter into prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Let cake cool completely before cutting into 24 squares. Place cakes in an airtight container and freeze for at least one hour (this makes frosting much easier).
Let the sheet cake cool before cutting into squares and freezing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter room temperature
2 2/3 cup powdered sugar
6 tablespoons milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
24 oz salted peanuts, finely chopped
Combine butter and powdered sugar in the work bowl of a standing mixer and cream until well blended. Add milk, vinegar and vanilla and cream until a light and smooth icing is formed.
place chopped peanuts in a shallow plate or pie pan.
Frost all sides of each square (except the bottom) with a thin coat of icing. Gently roll frosted squares in peanuts and place on a rack to allow icing to set for 30 minutes.