Paradox, or Irish Whiskey-Seed Cakes and Pfaffenhütchen

In what can only be described as an exercise in self-immolation, once done with the month- and head-long flurry of preparation for and launch of the tutoring year last week and despite my recent shingles diagnosis, I have been unable to make myself stop and rest. Witness to that is the recent bout of Sharon Tyler Herbst (The Joy of Cookies) cookie baking. One batch (Irish Whiskey-Seed Cakes) completed Sunday night, the other (Pfaffenhütchen, or Parson’s Hats) Monday. In my defense, both require fresh orange zest, and the oranges were getting old. Also, I like to think of the Pfaffenhütchen as the antidote to too many Irish whiskey-seed cakes.

If that’s not funny enough, here’s an aside: Pfaffenhütchen apparently is two words put together in that inimitable Germanic manner which literally translate to parsons (the pfaffen bit) and cone or extinguisher (the hütchen part), but also together translate to Euonymus, a plant which most folks in these (English-speaking, albeit American-English) parts know as a burning bush. I don’t know why that amuses me but it does. Ok, that’s enough about that.

Irish Whiskey-Seed Cakes are like little loaves of Irish soda bread crossed with biscuits or scones. Flavored with orange zest and whiskey, currants and caraway seeds, iced with a powdered sugar, milk and whiskey glaze, and baked in a mini-muffin tin, these are easy to make. The one bump in the road? I have never in my life bought whiskey before, and so I had to ask at the liquor store: 1st, where the Irish whiskey was kept; 2nd, which of the two brands they carried was better; and 3rd, whether they sold it in smaller bottles. As to the second query, the proprietor replied, one is made by Catholics and the other by Protestants. Something (no doubt a deeply ingrained cultural bias) told me the Catholics were more likely to know what they were doing and I went with the Jameson. Crossed myself first, though.

Which brings me to the Parson’s hats or Pfaffenhütchen. These are of German origin, and are shaped like Hamentaschen but filled with ground hazelnuts, orange zest and juice, and sugar instead of poppy-seed filling. There are also finely ground hazelnuts mixed into the cookie dough. They are delicious. Especially dipped in whiskey. Kidding!


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
This entry was posted in Extracurricular, The Joy of Cookies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Paradox, or Irish Whiskey-Seed Cakes and Pfaffenhütchen

  1. Fiona says:

    WAAAAAAA – I’m still waiting for my book to arrive! These both look gorgeous (though I have to say that as a Scot I’m prejudiced against Irish poteen, as opposed to the true Water of Life LOL ).

    I suppose it’s no good my telling you to go and rest? You know without being told that the shingles won’t go away if you aren’t gentle with yourself…..

    Have some {{{hugs}}} anyway.

  2. pattiblaine says:

    Point taken re: Irish version of water of life, and shingles. I’m being very good to myself, Fiona. Gotta store up some reserves for a weekend class. Never going to finish reading for it, but will be rested enough to endure at the very least!

    ((hugs)) to you too!

  3. good choice with the Jameson’s–but even though i am irish, i agree with Fiona and like scotch better than irish whiskey. What I thought the funniest is that you’ve never bought whiskey! I am a very light drinker–(the one bottle of scotch i own is 10 years old and not even half done–but when my kids were younger, and my life more hectic, I enjoyed a weekend get away (that always started with a stiff drink!) I guess that’s the irish catholic in me!–maybe you need to destress with whiskey seed cakes once a month or so!

  4. Robyn says:

    Apparently bringing out the Irish whiskey brings out the comments too…! I have never bought whiskey either but I did once buy a six-pack of beer for Dan when I was pregnant with Lucy. The shop keeper gave me a VERY dirty look and said, with deep sarcasm, “Have a good one.” Guess it is better to keep the pregnant ladies out of the liquor shop.

    Have you ever heard Garrison Keillor’s monologue about differences among various religions? At one point, he has the Episcopalian saying, “My wife and I will have a Manhattan, thank you” by mistake when the collection plate is passed to him from the aisle. Ha ha – it makes me think you were right to pick the Jamesons!

    • pattiblaine says:

      LOL, Robyn. Thanks for that. I had forgotten it.
      I’d have been tempted to tell the shopkeeper that “baby likes her ale! Can’t keep anything else down.” And then I would never go back there for the shame of it. 🙂

  5. Fiona says:

    My sister attended ‘big church’ (as opposed to Sunday School) for the first time when she was 4. Mother whispered to her ‘When the man comes round with the plate you put your money in it’ and in a ringing voice Margaret asked ‘And how much bread and butter do I take?’

  6. Pingback: Gribee | Every Fibre of My Being

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s