Green shamrock sugar cookies, dipped in almond bark & shamrock sprinkles. So. Freakin’. CUTE.
Typical, yes. But adorable, and delicious, and super simple to re-create (I used Wilton’s shamrock cutter). It really is. ‘Cause Lord knows I am not the best cookie maker in the world. Cupcakes are my thang. But yet these managed to come out looking spiffy, right? You wanna get the recipe, right? Okay but first, didn’t you ever wonder what exactly the deal is with the Irish & their shamrocks?
The shamrock, a four-leaf clover, is a special symbol in Ireland because of its emerald green color that may have earned for Ireland the label “Emerald Isle.” The country prides itself on its abundant green fields. The verdant color represents spring and the essence of life. Superstitions abound about the four-leaf clover because this kind of clover is considered rare or hard to find. A common clover has three leaves only; and its shape resembles a solar cross that ancient men used as a compass.
According to Irish belief, the origin of this object of superstition can be attributed to the Druid priests of old England. The Druids performed healing and worshipping rites in oak trees in the forests where they encountered a four-leaf clover. They initiated the superstition that bearers of this type of clover will be able to open their third eye by reciting incantations, and curing people of their illnesses.
Prior to this discovery, the ordinary clover (with three leaves) had already been declared by St. Patrick as a wonder plant. Born in the 4th century, St. Patrick was responsible for the establishment of Christianity in Ireland. The saint is also believed to be responsible for preventing snakes from inhabiting the Irish territory. He talked to the Druids and replaced their pagan beliefs with Christian teachings. St. Patrick also introduced to the Druids the shamrock as a representation of the Holy Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—united as one flesh because the clover has three leaves linked as one.
The shamrock is still a popular talisman today and a charm for good luck. It is believed that anyone who possesses it will be blessed with luck in anything, even in gambling, and will be saved from the evil effects of witchcraft and sorcery. There are certain conditions, though, for its power to remain effective: the owner of the shamrock must keep it handy and away from the public eye and never give it to someone else. Graves often have carvings of the clover image to serve as protection.
GREEN SHAMROCK SUGAR COOKIES
- 2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 cup butter at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or almond, if you prefer)
- Green food coloring
- Measure the flour, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl. Stir well and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for about 1 minute. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
- Gradually add the flour mixture to the butter and sugar, mixing well after each addition. The dough should be stiff.
- Add green food coloring to the batter*. Knead the dough until the color is evenly distributed, but do not overbeat.
- Gather the dough into a ball, flatten into disk beginning at the edge of the dough and working toward the center. Cover with plastic and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Unwrap the dough; place one half on a large piece of plastic wrap, cover with another piece of plastic wrap and then roll until it is ¼”-inch thick. Lift off the top sheet of plastic wrap and cut out shamrocks. Keep re-rolling the dough to utilize all your scraps.
- Place each shamrock on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about ½”-1″ apart. Bake for 8 minutes or until the edges begin to lightly brown. Remove to a rack to cool completely before dipping in the almond bark.
*Depending on the type you use, the amount varies. Liquid food coloring may require 2-3 drops, whereas Americolor or Wilton gel colors will require only a tiny amount. I chose to make mine a pale green, but making them bolder would be awesome too, as would making them “marbled”- all you have to do is either split the dough in half & only color one half, then roll them together, or just be sure to not incorporate the food coloring completely.
Now the fun part! You may be thinking, “wait, you mean all that wasn’t the fun part?” Well no it wasn’t. THIS is the fun part. The dipping!
Like I said I used Log House almond bark, which is just basically vanilla-flavored non-cocoa candy coating made with vegetable fats, but you can use anything you like. White chocolate, dark chocolate, green Candy melts, whatever. Melt it according to the directions (I used my brand spankin’ new Wilton Chocolate Pro that Jay got me for Christmas, but a double boiler or even a microwave works too) and dip, dip, dip. Any angle you want. Have a bowl or a shaker of sprinkles handy, if you’re using them, and a baking sheet or counter lined with parchment. After you dip in the almond bark (or whatever), then dip in the sprinkles right away, then place on the parchment to dry.
I apologize for the supreme lack of good photographs in this post. But I’m going to be honest: number one- I was having difficulty translating the adorable factor via camera, and two- I wanted to eat them. See, I’m a big fan of sugar cookies myself. I like how they’re soft & can go in whichever direction & however you want them to, because they’re easily decorated & colored & even flavored. I mean, is there anything you CAN’T do with sugar cookies? No. Except maybe use them to pay for goods at the mall. But otherwise, they’re perfect. Use a cherry or chocolate frosting, use no frosting, use almond, peppermint, anise or even
lemon extract in ‘em. So versatile.
And these would work just fine using round cookie cutters (or even hearts or scalloped flowery ones) too. Between the color of the dough & the shamrock sprinkles, I think you’d be good; they’d get the picture!