Traditional Halloween treat - Barnbrack

Halloween festivities are never complete without some traditional Irish treats to help you celebrate. A great way to get all the family involved in the holiday, we have listed these simple recipes for our favorite Irish inspired Halloween dishes. Not only can you enjoy these delicious traditional dishes but you can also have fun with future predictions!


In the weeks leading up to Halloween homes are littered with the delicious treat known as  barnbrack which is an  Irish fruit loaf. The title comes from the Irish Gaelic bairín breac which literally means speckled loaf. In traditional Ireland each member of the family would get a slice of the delicious cake. But you had to be careful when chewing the delicious treat as there were several charms hidden in the cake wrapped in baking paper which signified an omen for the finders future.

If you found a ring you’re in for some romance. If you got the coin then you were in for a prosperous year, but if you found the rag than your financial future was in doubt. If you find the thimble then you will never marry! Nowadays all barnbracks sold in Irish shops around Halloween contain a ring.

Barnbrack recipe


375g dried fruit
300ml cold tea
225g self-raising flour
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon mixed spice
125g caster sugar
honey or Golden Syrup (optional – for decoration)


Soak the fruit in tea overnight, then drain. Mix together with the rest of the ingredients (apart from the honey/golden syrup) and stir in the charms. Don’t over knead the dough, or your delicately re-hydrated fruit will break up.

Line the base of a 20cm round cake tin or 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper. Grease the tin and pile in the mixture.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for about an hour until risen and firm to the touch.
You can brush melted honey or golden syrup over the brack before cutting. Or glaze the brack with a syrup made from two teaspoons of sugar dissolved in three teaspoons of boiling water. *Source The Evening Herault.


Colcannon is a traditional Irish potato dish eaten at Halloween. It's unique and simple recipe has become popular around the world. It normally includes chopped kale cabbage of green cabbage mixed with hot floury mashed potatoes.

This tasty dish is easy to make and it's a popular favorite at oíche shamhna (Halloween). This simple recipe is an ideal one to make with the kids. The word colcannon is from the Gaelic cal ceannann' which literally means white-headed cabbage.

In the past similar to a barnbrack charms were mixed in with the colcannon. Depending on what charm you found it was seen as a portent for the future. A button meant you would remain a bachelor and a thimble meant you would remain a spinster for the coming year. A ring meant you would get married and a coin meant you would come into wealth. Others filled their socks with colcannon and hung them from the handle of the front door     in the belief that the first man through the door would be their future husband.

Colcannon Recipe


4 lbs (1.8kg) potatoes, or about 7-8 large potatoes (‘old’ potatoes or russet potatoes are best, waxy potatoes won’t do)
1 green cabbage or Kale
1 cup ( 7 fl oz, 240 ml) milk (or cream)
1 stick (4oz, 120g) butter, divided into three parts
4-5 scallions (green onions), chopped
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Parsley or chives *Not everyone adds scallions to colcannon, but they do add something worth having in my opinion.


Peel and boil the potatoes. Remove the core from the cabbage, slice it thinly, and put into a large saucepan. Cover with boiling water from the kettle and keep at a slow rolling boil until the cabbage is just wilted and has turned a darker green. This can take anything from 3-5 minutes depending on the cabbage. Test it and don’t let it overcook, if anything it should be slightly undercooked.

When the cabbage is cooked, drain it well, squeeze to get any excess moisture out, then return to the saucepan. Add one third of the butter and cover. Leave it covered and in a warm place, but not on a burner, with the butter melting gently into it while you continue.

When the potatoes are soft, drain and return the saucepan, with the drained potatoes in, to a low burner, leaving the lid off so that any excess moisture can evaporate. When they are perfectly dry, add the milk to the saucepan along with a third of the butter and the chopped scallions if you are using them. Allow the milk to warm but not boil – it is about right when the butter has fully melted into it and it starting to steam.

With a potato masher or a fork mash the potatoes thoroughly into the butter/milk mixture. Do NOT pass through a ricer or, worse, beat in a mixer as it will make the potatoes gluey and disgusting.

Mix the cabbage thoroughly through the mashed potato.
Before serving season with a little salt and sprinkle with fresh parsley or chives. Most importantly, make a well in the centre of the mound of potato and put the last third of the butter in there to melt.