Blarney Stones -- the "Perfect" birthday treat!

   UPDATE -- I first posted this recipe in March 2011; it was the fourth recipe that I added to this blog.  As I mentioned before, it is the Newell birthday cake of choice. And, Mom did not disappoint! Here Marlys and I are getting ready to take a bite of the blarney stones Mom made again this year (our birth dates are just one day apart and we are celebrating in her kitchen).   

     This is another recipe from my mom, Plyllis Newell. Her mother, Bessie Wolf Jeffries Richardson passed it on to her. 
     Daily desserts were an expectation in the Newell household and the all-time favorite was Blarney Stones. Although there is no actual documentation that this is an Irish dessert, Phyllis recommends it for St. Patrick’s day or for any special event, for that matter.  She explained in a food column that appeared in our local newspaper, “Jim [her husband and my dad] always requested Blarney Stones for his birthday and so did the girls  [referring to my two sisters and me],” Although the recipe calls for several steps, she believes they are certainly worth the extra effort and her family definitely agrees. 

Blarney Stones     Makes 2 dozen small individual cakes
4  large eggs
1  cup granulated sugar
1  cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 8x12” baking pan or dish.
2.  Separated whites from yolks and reserve one yolk for the icing. In a mixing bowl, beat the 3 yolks until thick and lemon colored. Add sugar gradually and beat until creamy.  In another bowl, sift flour with baking powder and salt and add alternately, to the yolk mixture, with the water.
3.  In another mixing bowl, using clean beaters, stiffly beat the egg whites. Then, gently fold the white into the egg yolk and flour mixture. Pour in prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes.  Cool and cut into 24 squares.

Butter Icing
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 egg yolk (reserved from cake)*
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar (sift, if lumpy)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 pound salted peanuts, coarsely chopped (not to be confused with “raw” peanuts)

1.  In a mixing bowl, cream butter, add egg and blend sugar in gradually.  Add vanilla.
2.  Spread icing on all cut surfaces of the cakes, then roll in chopped peanuts.

*Cooking Tip:   This recipe was created before the concern about consumption of raw egg yolks. If you are concerned, here are three options:
1.  Use pasteruized eggs. (Pasteurized eggs have been heated to a certain point to destroy an Salmonella bacteria that might be present in raw eggs. Pasteruing does not cook the eggs or affect their taste or nutritional value.)
2.  Simply leave out the yolk. I have done this and there was no noticeable difference.
3.  Follow the steps suggested by the American Egg Board:
·    In heavy saucepan, stir together egg yolks and liquid from recipe -- at least  2 tablespoons liquid per yolk (since the frosting recipe does not call for liquid, water or milk could be added). 
·    Cook over very low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture coats a metal spoon with a thin film, bubbles at  the edges or reaches 160°F.
·    Cool quickly and proceed with recipe.

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