Pre-St. Patty's Update

I was going to wait to talk about these, but oh my goodness these are the most amazing cupcakes I've ever had!  AND they are vegan.

Let me start from the beginning.

Being mostly (well, probably summing up to half) Irish, I approach St. Patrick's day with a strange hodgepodge of food traditions gathered from both sides of my family.  It's funny to realize that my cooking has been largely influenced by my mostly German grandmothers, but some of my family's traditions come from Americanized cuisine, and some are the result of catering one of my grandfathers, who is mostly Irish.

It's perhaps silly for me to talk about family members being "mostly this" and "mostly that," but this is how we identify ourselves.  Yes, from the outside we're American.  From the inside, well, let me put it this way: As far as I know, my entire lineage can be traced to people who immigrated to the United States from - you got it - mostly Ireland and Germany in the mid to late 19th century.  The most recent immigrant in my family is one of my great-grandfathers, who came to America from Germany as a little boy.  What ethnic traditions that have trickled down through the generations are miscellaneous and diluted, but still a part of how I identify myself as a member of my family.

All that said, I like to cook something Irish when St. Patrick's day rolls around.  In the past, this has meant corned beef and cabbage, and maybe some Guinness with dinner.  This year, since I'm eating mostly vegan (yes, the 'mostly' qualifier is ubiquitous today), I've had to be more creative with my food choices.  Also, this year, since I'm busy and Thursday is not a day to cook for 3 hours, I've been doing a lot of prep work this week.

Tonight, I decided to go ahead and prepare a vegan Chocolate Stout cupcake recipe I found last weekend.  The recipe doesn't require any unusual vegan ingredients, but it does call for about half a bottle of chocolate stout.  That's right, there's beer in these cupcakes.  And oh, are they delicious.  I tasted one while it was still warm, and ended up eating two.

As of when they were still a little warm, these are fluffy, moist cupcakes, with a rich chocolate flavor.  That flavor is due, of course, to a hefty helping of unsweetened cocoa powder both in the cupcakes and in the crumbs topping them.  The bitterness of the stout really enhances the chocolate, adding a depth of flavor I never would have expected.

I am posting this now so that if you want to make some of these for Thursday, you can have a little bit of time to go ahead and try them.  Seriously, you will not regret it.  Unless you end up eating them all, and then you might.

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