Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Some Good Ole’ Irish Soda Bread with a Serious Twist

I’m about as Irish as I am Mongolian, but then, truth is, with those 23andMe kits you can now buy, I just might surprise myself. As far as I know, I’m 1/4 English, 1/5 Native American, and have German roots. The rest puts me in the mutt mix.

The crazy thing is that I married a man who has the same last name as my paternal grandmother… hers was English, and his roots of the name are Irish. Wee bit too close on some counts. Good thing it’s also one of the most common names on the planet.

But on the day when everyone claims Irish roots, I’m not looking for green beer or whiskey in some pub. I might want me a good slab of corned beef, but that wasn’t in the cards this year. But a fast and easy Irish Soda Bread Muffin from King Arthur Flour was in the cards. My house smells like bread, which is always a bonus, and these came together in less than 30 minutes total. Score one for me and my love of everything carb. img_7458.jpg

Bonus round: you can make these year round just as a nice muffin for breakfast with butter or jam/marmalade, a cup of soup with lunch, or a nice addition to any dinner table… all year long.

This is a major Americanized spin on traditional Irish Soda Bread, which is generally made with just a handful of ingredients – flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk – but it is an-mhaith.

This is Google translate telling me how to say really good in Irish. Hell if I know if that’s actually how someone says really good in Irish. As far as I remember, when I traveled to Ireland about 15 years ago, everyone spoke the English language. Even though some areas spoke Gaelic, they fully spoke the English language. I never knew Irish was a language, in and of itself. I guess, just maybe, I learned something this St. Patrick’s Day.

Welcome to the an-mhaith Americanized version of Irish Soda Bread! It is a dense, sweet and savory muffin that will make you smile.

King Arthur Irish Soda Bread Muffins: 

  • 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup King Arthur 100% White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups currants (first choice) or raisins
  • 1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted; or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • sparkling white sugar, for topping (optional)

Instructions

  1.  Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants or raisins, and caraway seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and melted butter (or equivalent).
  4. Quickly and gently combine the dry and wet ingredients; honestly, this won’t take more than a few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.
  5. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups. Top with sparkling white sugar, if desired.
  6. Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.

My Thoughts After Baking:

  1. I sprayed my muffin tins with cooking spray, but then double lined them with cute shamrock paper muffin cups. Totally Irish, right?? In my humble opinion, double lining with paper muffin cups helps the bottoms not get so soggy. Click on the picture below to a link to purchase these pretty cups to make you feel oh so Irish.
  2. I doubled the recipe, and I didn’t have enough currants, so I made up for the rest with raisins. You could easily use raisins in this recipe, but currants with their tart-sweet bite are best. If you want to learn about the differences between a currant, raisin, and sultan, The Spruce explains it nicely.
  3. Personally, not the largest fan of caraway seeds, so I only used 1/2 tsp, and I was pleased with the note it added. If you’re a fan, be goin’ hog wild with the full 2 tsp. suggested. Be my guest.
  4. I used sour cream for the tang that it gives, but this does make the batter thicker, be warned. See my next note:
  5. When they say this batter comes together quickly…ummm, no. Not so much. Since I used sour cream, it was a much thicker batter than they described. No worries, as it baked up fine, just just beware if you use sour cream that it will take more than a “few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon” to make this batter come together. Bonus: it’s a friggin’ arm workout.IMG_7457
  6. Use the blue Zeroll scoop to create nicely rounded muffins on the top. I used the black one and I was wrong with the size – shocker that I was wrong, right?! Then I had to go and add the extra dough in the cups, and many of the tops came out extra craggy because of the uneven shape of the dough. Stiff dough doesn’t like to be moved once in the muffin cup…learn from my mistakes….

These muffins are dense, moist, flavorful, delicious! The tops are craggy and crunchy – add the sparkling coarse sugar – you’ll be happy for the crunch and sweet touch it adds.

I very much like some of the comment suggestions:

  1. Zest an orange peel into the batter.
  2. Soak the currents in Irish whiskey.
  3. Both ideas sound amaze-balls.

Always read the comments for someone else’s mistakes and suggestions to make it better!

img_7459.jpg

thumbnail image credit

3 Comments

Leave a Reply