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6 easy recipes with Irn-Bru - from cupcakes to pakora

It's our second national drink, that has recently had Royal approval, but have you ever used it in cooking or baking?

Published: June 29, 2021
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As iconic as whisky and as famous as haggis, Irn-Bru, is widely enjoyed not just in the land of its birth but also across the globe - including being used in recipes.

The famous bright orange drink has been used in celebratory sausages, in a viral Guinness cocktail, Easter eggs and pies, and is known for its funny adverts.

Here we take a look at a range of ways to introduce Irn-Bru into everyday treats.

Irn-Bru shortbread

Irn-Bru shortbread

Ingredients

  • 125 g Granulated Sugar
  • 250g Unsalted Butter
  • 375 g Plain Flour
  • 1 Botte or can of Irn Bru
  • 100g of White Chocolate
  • 50g double cream
  • Pinch of salt

Method

• Bring butter to room temperature

• Combine butter and sugar, mix until combined (3 min)

• Add in Flour and Salt, rub together between thumb and for fingers. You are looking for the dough to almost come together in big chunks (5 min)

• Bring dough together and tip out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough to roughly 1⁄4 in thickness. Cut out into desired shapes! You can reroll excess dough up to 3 times. (5 min)

• Bake at 265 F (130 C) for about 50 minutes (biscuits should be firm to the touch!)

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• For the filling: Combine white chocolate and double cream over a double boiler until combined. Let cool and mix in 4 tbsp Irn-Bru. Use a piping bag to fill each sandwich

Shortbread extraordinaire, Jennifer Hunter, runs her own bakery in Scotland, and has created a set of five bespoke homemade shortbreads to perfectly compliment your brew.

Irn-Bru chicken wings

Irn-Bru chicken wings

If you're looking for an easy-to make snack and love Irn-Bru, then these sweet and spicy chicken wings are ideal.

Ingredients

  • 16 chicken wings
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 120ml Irn-Bru
  • 60g cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 spring onions for garnish

Method

Preheat oven to 230 ℃. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

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Wash wings in cold water and pat thoroughly dry with paper towels.

Lay wings onto parchment paper, leaving at least an inch of space between each. Sprinkle over half the salt.

Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Flip wings over. Sprinkle over remaining salt, and bake for 20 more minutes.

In the meantime, add the following ingredients to a frying pan - Irn Bru, brown sugar, tomato paste, garlic, dried red chilli flakes, and paprika.

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Over medium-high heat, whisk the ingredients together and allow them to come to a low boil until sauce has thickened.

By this time, the wings will be ready. Remove from oven and add to the pan with the sauce.

Toss together, cooking over medium-high heat until the wings have absorbed all of the sauce and the wings start to char.

Remove wings from pan and onto a serving plate. Garnish with spring onions.

Recipe: adapted from Lord Byron's Kitchen.

Irn-Bru pakora

Picture:  Myles Omar

Myles Omar's recipe video for Irn-Bru pakora went viral on TikTok earlier this year.

Ingredients

  • 800g chicken strips
  • 1tbsp garlic & ginger paste
  • Half a lemon
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp black pepper coarse
  • 1tbsp fenugreek leaves
  • 1tsp paprika powder
  • 2cups of gram flour
  • Half tsp bicarbonate soda
  • Half tsp ajwain seeds
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 1tsp spoon coriander powder
  • 1tsp cumin powder
  • 1tsp garam masala powder
  • 3tbsp of vegetable oil
  • Half tsp orange colour
  • 200ml Irn bru
  • 100ml water

Method

The method for how to prepare the chicken, batter and spices with Irn-Bru can be seen on Myles's video.

Irn-Bru doughnuts

Picture: Peter Gilchrist

Peter Gilchrist of food blog Tenement Kitchen went viral with these amazing looking doughnuts, which you can make at home.

Ingredients

  • 450ml Irn Bru, reduced to 200ml
  • 100ml milk
  • 7g instant yeast
  • 2 large eggs
  • 113g unsalted butter melted and cooled
  • 50g granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 535g bread flour (plus more for rolling out the dough)
  • oil (for frying)

Glaze

  • 500g icing sugar
  • 100ml Irn Bru
  • Tablespoon Double Cream
  • 1 pinch salt

 
Method

In a pot, bring a litre of Irn Bru to the boil and then simmer for around 20 minutes without a lid.

This is less of a science and more about a personal call. I’d recommend letting it reduce by half.

In a medium bowl, heat the milk in the microwave until it is warm to the touch, about 45 seconds.

Add the warm 200ml of Irn-Bru syrup firstly by mixing in a tablespoon to temper (Don’t worry if it curdles; it won’t affect the yeast).

Add in the yeast and give it a gentle stir. Let the mixture sit until there is some foam on top, about 5 minutes.

Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, beat together the yeast mixture, the eggs, butter, sugar and salt until combined.

Add in about half of the flour and mix until combined. Add in the remaining flour and mix until combined.

During the mixing process, you may need to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides. If the dough is too wet to handle, add in flour 1 tablespoon at a time.

Cover the bowl with a large kitchen towel, and leave it in a warm place to let it rise until it doubles in size, about 1 hour.

When the dough is done rising, pour it onto a well-floured surface and roll it to 1/2-inch thickness.

Cut the doughnuts with a doughnut cutter, or with 2 different sized round cutters. If you’ve lost the smallest cutter, like all reasonable human beings do, a round cap from a spice jar is perfect.

Save the doughnut holes. Knead scraps together, being careful not to overwork the dough, and repeat the process of rolling it out and cutting the doughnuts.

Place the cut doughnuts on parchment paper, leaving room to rise between each one.

Cut squares of parchment paper for the doughnuts to rise on. This makes everything so much easier when it comes time to individually dropping them in the oil.  

Cover the doughnuts with a kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm place until they are puffed up about 45 minutes.

About 15 minutes before the doughnuts are done rising, heat oil in a deep-fryer or large heavy-bottomed pot to 190°C.

When the doughnuts are ready and the oil is hot, carefully add the doughnuts to the oil, a few at a time without overcrowding your deep-fryer or pot.  

If the doughnut sinks to the bottom, your dough is under-proved and you need to wait a little longer.

When the bottoms of the doughnuts are golden, about 45 seconds, flip the doughnuts over using a spatula. Cook until the other side is also golden.

Doughnut holes will cook quicker. Remove doughnuts with a tong or slotted spatula, and place on the prepared racks or plates. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, making sure to keep the oil at the right temperature.

Glaze

In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, Irn-Bru, cream and salt until smooth. I’ve never achieved a lump-free icing sugar without the use of a stand mixer or whisk.

Dip one side of the fried doughnuts into the glaze. Flip the doughnut over using a fork. Carefully transfer the glazed doughnut to the prepared cooling rack.

The glaze will slowly drip off the doughnuts as it sets. Repeat with remaining doughnuts.

Irn-Bru cupcakes

Irn-Bru cupcakes

Food blog Baking with Granny shares this recipe for Irn-Bru cupcakes

Ingredients

  • For the Cupcakes
  • 120g Plain Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 1½ tsp Baking Powder
  • 40g Butter (at room temperature)
  • 100ml Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 tbsp Irn Bru Syrup
  • For the Icing
  • 200g Icing Sugar
  • 50g Butter (at room temperature)
  • 4-5 tbsp Irn Bru Syrup
  • Orange Food Colouring (optional)

Method

1. Buy your Irn-Bru. It must be the full sugar version (such as 1901) as the diet ones won’t reduce to a syrup. I used a 2 litre bottle which gave me enough to experiment but a 500ml would suffice (& save time) if you’re only using it for one batch of cupcakes.

2. Place your Irn-Bru into a pot large enough to hold it & bring it to the boil.

3. Boil until the Irn-Bru reduces to around a 10th of it’s original volume. It took around 2.5 hours for 2 litres to reduce down to 200ml but obviously the less Irn-Bru you use, the less time it’ll take.

4.Once it’s ready it’ll be a thin syrup consistency and a deep orange colour. Remember it will be very hot and as such will be a bit thicker once it cools down.

For the Cupcakes

1.Pre-heat your oven to 170°c and line your muffin tray with 6 cupcake cases.

2.Sift the flour, sugar & baking powder into a large bowl. Add the butter and mix on a medium speed until the mixture resembles a sandy consistency.

3.Gradually add half the milk to the mixture. Whisk the egg & syrup into the remaining milk and again gradually add to the other ingredients. Mix until only combined - do not over mix!

4.Using an ice cream scoop, fill your cupcake cases 2/3 full and bake for around 20 minutes until a skewer comes out the cupcakes clean.
When cool enough to touch, transfer to a wire wrack to cool completely.

For the Icing

1.Sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add the butter and mix on a slow-medium speed with a clean tea towel over your mixer to prevent your kitchen filling with icing sugar!

2. When the butter & sugar start to come together, gradually add your Irn Bru syrup a spoonful at a time. Continue to mix until completely combined and of a light & fluffy consistency. If you want a deeper orange colour then you can add a dab of orange food colouring also.

3.Pipe on to your cupcakes when they're completely cool and sprinkle with a little blue sugar if desired.

Irn-Bru pancakes

Ingredients

  • 275 g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 200 ml milk
  • 175 ml IRN-BRU
  • 1 pinch of salt

Method

In a bowl mix the eggs, Irn-Bru and milk thoroughly.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

Combine the two sets of ingredients and again mix thoroughly.

Fry the mixture on a medium heat for three minutes, or when the pancake is cooked, and then flip and fry the other half for the same amount of time. For the best results only flip your pancake once.

Plate up and enjoy with a glass of cold Irn-Bru.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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