St Patrick’s Sweets
Posted on March 9, 2018
With the upcoming holiday, I wanted to share a brief history surrounding the often boisterous St. Patrick’s Day and a sweet family treat to help with the celebration. Although not a major holiday, when compared to larger festivals such as Christmas and Easter, my family has always celebrated it. It is a time to bring the family together, recount our blessings, and enjoy our Irish heritage.
We can learn about Patrick’s life through his Confessions. Despite his family’s deeply held religious beliefs, Patrick lapsed from the Catholic faith in his early teenage years. Further, at the age of sixteen, Patrick was kidnapped from his homeland of Britain and sold as a slave by pirates to an Irish land owner. While incarcerated on the Emerald Isle, he served as a shepherd for six years until his escape back to Britain.
After this traumatic life experience, Patrick had a newly found faith in God and he desired to serve Him in a manner similar to his father and grandfather. Thus, Patrick became a Christian missionary and, ironically, was sent back to Ireland to join another missionary, Palladius, to cultivate the Faith.
His ability to convert nobility and his charitable works on the isle quickly earned him renown. Naturally, myths and stories followed.
These myths surrounding Patrick do a fantastic job of relating his journey throughout Ireland by way of narrative, thus allowing the uneducated at the time to hear of his feats.
Perhaps the most famous story associated with Patrick is the tale in which he banishes all the snakes from Ireland to punish them for attacking him during a forty day fast. However, there is evidence to suggest that no snakes have lived in Ireland since the Ice Age. Therefore, we can draw that this story is in actuality an analogy of Patrick’s use of Christianity to drive the pagan druids from the isle.
Additionally, there is a legend of Patrick speaking to the souls of Cailte mac Ronain and Oisin, two legendary Irish ancestors. At the time, these warriors would have followed the faith of the druids, but during their conversation, Patrick convinces these souls to convert and renounce paganism. This story echoes the vigor with which Patrick evangelized the Irish people.
Based on these stories alone, it is a small wonder that a myriad of different branches of Christianity celebrate the saint. Patrick’s feast day is observed in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican faiths on the seventeenth of March. Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day extends to more than Christianity as it is commonly observed as a secular holiday across the world. For instance, countries such as Japan, Argentina, Russia, and Malaysia also partake in the festivities. But now, time for a treat so you and your loved ones can also celebrate along with the rest of the world!
2 cups of sweet chocolate chips
14 oz of Sweetened condensed milk
2 Teaspoons of vanilla extract
6 oz of white candy coating
2-3 teaspoons of peppermint extract
3 drops of green food coloring
Melt the chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan with 1 cup of milk
Once melted, remove the heat and stir in vanilla
Spread half into a waxed paper lined 8-inch square pan and chill for 10 minutes or until firm
As the first layer cools, cook and stir candy coating with the remaining milk until the coating is melted and the mixture is smooth in a heavy saucepan over low heat
Stir in peppermint extract and food coloring
Spread over the bottom layer, let chill for ten minutes or until firm
Warm remaining half of the chocolate mixture if necessary; spread over mint layer
Chill for two hours or until firm
Remove from pan; cut into 1-inch squares
Share and Enjoy!