Irish Soda Bread

It’s almost St. Patrick’s Day and while I am not an ounce Irish I still enjoy Irish Soda Bread as much as the next girl. I have never been one for the green beer and bagels or for the ridiculousness that occurs on this holiday but I do look forward to this yummy baked good every year.

I went to college in Boston – with the lovely ladies I talked about in this post I shared many delicious baked goods. On Newbury Street (a picturesque shopping destination) there is a restaurant called Stephanie’s on Newbury. This is the type of place that you would go when your parents were in town – because it is not exactly college student budget friendly. It’s a cozy restaurant and one of my favorite parts about dining there is the soda bread that you get in the bread basket. They also serve the recipe with the bread on a small card. I love when people openly share recipes – I am obviously a fan of sharing recipes as evidenced by this blog and always feel that my special recipes shouldn’t be kept secret but shared for anyone who wants to enjoy. I also strongly believe that when different people follow the same recipe the food is never the same.

I stashed this little recipe card a long time ago and have been happily enjoying this soda bread in March ever since. At Stephanie’s they serve the bread in little rolls which could easily be made instead of the loaf that I chose to make.

Before baking

Stephanie’s on Newbury Irish Soda Bread: (makes one loaf)

4 cups flour

1 stick butter (1/4 cup) – cold

3/4 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

3/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is crumbly and the consistency of cornmeal.

In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk and egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry until all of the liquid is incorporated but not smooth. Add the raisins into the dough and shape together into a loaf. Cut an x into the top of the loaf (or mini loaves) and bake on a baking sheet for 45-50 minutes.

Enjoy your soda bread and have a happy St. Patties Day!

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Sunday Baking: Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

A while back I talked about what happens when I fail to cook in advance of a busy week. Today I got ahead of the game and spent my Sunday in the kitchen cooking up a storm – more on this later in the week! While I was making room in my freezer for the newly cooked goods I came across some frozen bananas. Baking bananas in every form is one of my absolute favorite activities. The first recipe I ever created was my BaNina Bread and anyone who has known me for longer than a week has probably been treated to this delight. I could make it with my eyes closed and with one hand tied behind my back – and it still would come out great. I promise I will post this recipe in the near future but today I was in the mood for something different.

Given the joy that over ripe bananas bring to me and my electric mixer I have trained my friends and family well. They all know when bananas start to go bad you don’t toss them you put them in the freezer. I then find them on days like today and spend time baking them up into goodies. While banana bread is awesome (and apparently I missed Banana Bread Day this week) I wanted something a little more on the go, and a little less sweet for this week. I often go to the gym early in the morning before work and then bring my breakfast and coffee to enjoy at my desk post workout. These little treats make those moments all the more fun – and I of course share with co-workers.

Delicious! Do you taste your batter before baking? I always do.

Mini Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Makes 3-4 dozen mini muffins

1/2 cup of butter

1 cup of sugar

1 egg

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a mini muffin pan by greasing the pan or placing in tin liners.

With an electric mixer cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy beat in the egg until fully combined.

In a separate bowl place the bananas and the vanilla they should be ripe enough that you can mash them with a fork. Add this mixture to the mixer and stir together until combined.

In a third bowl mix together the dry ingredients and stir into the batter. Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined. Drop about a tablespoon full into each muffin cup (each cup should be about two thirds full).

Bake 10-15 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Turn the rack halfway through cooking since they are mini muffins they will cook at different speeds in the front and back of the oven. These could easily be made into full sized muffins just adjust the cooking time (and you may need to adjust the temperature to 350 degrees).