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Baking, Quick Breads

Irish Soda Bread

A few days before St. Patrick’s day I was on the phone with a friend chatting about my pup’s recovery (he did amazing and fingers crossed for his next follow-up appointment) from a surgical procedure and she was interrupted by her husband who had a question. He wanted to know if I was baking Irish Soda Bread (he’s not Irish but he loves to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day since I moved in across the street). I said, “of course I am.” It’s one of my favorite breads and I bake it throughout the year, not just on the Wearin’ of the Green day. I was first introduced to Irish Soda bread by my uncle’s second wife. Born and bred in Ireland she moved to the United States in her twenties and kept along with her brogue her Irish traditions. Each year she bought Irish Soda bread from the nuns and that’s how I got introduced to the bread. Even though my family is Irish, no one ever baked Irish Soda bread. Go figure. Well, I set to correct that terrible error and I’ve been baking this bread for years.

I bake my bread on a pizza stone. I love the texture to the bread when it’s baked on the stone. There’s a lot of speculation of the meaning of the cross that is slashed into the dough prior to baking. There are some that say the cross wards off the devil, others say that it lets the fairies out and others who claim that it was an easy way to portion the bread. I select #2, letting the little Irish fairies out.  When you bake your loaf, you can decide. 🙂

 

The bread comes together quickly so it’s perfect for any meal.

Whenever I bake this bread I think fondly of my late Aunt Bridie. She was a tough old broad with a big heart. That’s the one awesome thing about cooking, even if you’re standing at the counter in your kitchen by yourself, you’re never alone because our recipes keep the spirits and hearts of our beloved ones with us.

If you haven’t tried baking Irish Soda bread before I hope you try this recipe. I’m sure you’ll love it. If you have baked this bread before, who’s recipe do you use? Is it one that has been handed down or did you get it from some place else?

 

Irish Soda Bread
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
Instructions
  1. Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir well to
  3. mix.
  4. Add the butter and combine until well-blended into the flour mixture.
  5. Stir in raisins.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk ad egg together and mix into the dough mixture with a
  7. rubber spatula.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and fold it over itself several times, shaping
  9. it into a round loaf. Transfer the loaf onto a cooking sheet covered with parchment paper or
  10. onto a pizza stone and cut a cross in top.
  11. Bake for 15 minutes then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for about 15-20 minutes
  12. more until slightly browned and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
  13. Cool the bread on a rack and serve with plenty of sweet butter.

Baking, Quick Breads

White Chocolate Scones

It seems like a forever since I’ve tied on an apron, pulled out the flour canister and rolled up my sleeves to do some baking. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of bad news, a beautiful destination wedding , a holiday and a (finally) completed partial submission to an agent. To break my non-baking period and to welcome the new season of spring I opted to baked up a batch of scones. There’s just something about spring and scones that speaks to me.

Baking is my yoga. It’s where I go when I need to find balance, to center myself. Baking requires that you give your full one hundred percent attention or else you’ll end up with a loaf of Irish Soda bread minus the sugar (yeah, that happened). Baking allows me to step away from reality for a brief period of time and not think about what’s going on around me. For a little while it’s just me and the ingredients and a recipe.

Baking is also what I do when I want to celebrate a holiday, an event or an accomplishment. So much has happened over the past few weeks, the biggest for me is that I’ve completed the partial to submit to an agent. Query letter, synopsis, three chapters and a marketing plan all done! That definitely requires a celebration. Below is my celebration, followed by some time on the treadmill. Balance, you know. 🙂

 

These scones are light and sweet and one is just never enough. They also come together quickly and easily so if you need to serve something up at the last minute this will be a perfect go-to recipe for you to have in your recipe box.

What recipe speaks to you when spring rolls around?

 

White Chocolate Scones
Author: 
 
Light and sweet, these scones are perfect for breakfast or a mid-day snack.
Ingredients
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)
  • Buttermilk
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup white chocolate chips
  • ½ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Place egg in a liquid measuring cup. Add enough buttermilk to equal 1 cup, set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in raisins and white chocolate chips. Add milk and egg mixture. Stir until dough clings together.
  3. Drop dough, use ¼ cup measure, onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
  4. Serve warm and enjoy!