Irish Soda Bread Muffins

March 2, 2015

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Yes indeed-y…Day Two of the St. Patrick’s Day count down and today I’m featuring Irish Soda Bread Muffins. Now before you folks in Ireland sneak a peek at the ingredients and start shaking your head, raising your eyebrow and getting a bit huffy…let me explain. I didn’t actually say “traditional Irish Soda Bread” Muffins. I openly admit, these muffins are a departure from “traditional” Irish Soda Bread. Traditional Irish Soda bread is a quick bread, meaning it uses baking soda as a leavener rather than yeast. The only other ingredients involved are flour, either whole meal, used for the every-day, or white, which was used for special occasions, buttermilk and salt. That’s it! Back in the day, currants were a luxury item which again might have been used along with a bit of sugar or an egg if the bread was being made for a special occasion, but not on a daily basis.

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Soda bread was traditionally cooked in a lidded cast iron pan which was placed directly on the coals of a fire. Irish immigrants brought the recipe for this bread with them when they came to America. This is the point where things begin to change, or I suppose you could say evolved if you had a friendly eye to the changes. Clever folks are quick to adapt to new situations and that is just what these immigrants did. Finding themselves in a new land where the availability and cost of ingredients were very different from what they had found at home, they had to improvise. And these modifications were often reflected in the dishes that were cooked. That is why an Irish-American might have a very different idea of what “traditional Irish” food is. Soda Bread is a great example of that phenomena, as is Corned Beef (shock…horror…but more on that later). I love traditional Irish Soda Bread and make it myself all the time. I also like the thoroughly Americanized versions, for the most part…. (Cue the ominous sounding music here)

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Once in America the flour used in soda bread became almost exclusively white, butter was not only slathered over the slices of bread but was also added into the dough, as was sugar, eggs, raisins and often caraway seeds. I have to stop right here and say that while I’m ok with all of the other modifications to this bread, I HATE caraway seeds in my soda bread. I’m actually glad you can’t see the face I’m making right now, but it is a cross between disgust and outrage. Wait…perhaps I do have a picture that I can share that will convey my feelings adequately…

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Me upon finding out there are caraway seeds in my soda bread. Should I be troubled that this is one of the husband’s favorite pics of me?!!

I’m serious, I don’t know how folks could ruin perfectly good bread with those dastardly little seeds. Just say NO! Ahem…So back to these lovely Americanized Irish Soda Bread Muffins we have here. Gone is the big round soda bread loaf, replaced with perfect serving sized muffins. Needless to say, there are no caraway seeds, but there are Irish Whiskey plumped currants, as well as a blend of All-purpose flour and King Arthur Irish Wholemeal flour, which gives them a pleasant toothsome texture over those made with white flour alone. Though if you don’t have Irish Wholemeal flour, you could use regular whole meal flour, or just use 2 1/4 cups of all-purpose in a pinch. The muffins are just perfect with a nice cup of tea, moist, tender, slightly sweet, but not too sweet. Just enough to satisfy any tea time cravings. They are delicious all on their own, with a bit of jam spread over the top, or my favourite…covered with lashings of butter! Certainly a crowd pleaser for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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Irish Soda Bread Muffins

  • Servings: 12 Muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe slightly adapted from: King Arthur Flour

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4 ounces, 177 grams)  All purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces, 85 grams) King Arthur Irish Wholemeal flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (2 5/8 ounces, 74 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces, 170 grams) currants (first choice) or raisins
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup (8 ounces, 227 grams) buttermilk yogurt, or sour cream
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces, 85 grams) butter, melted; or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • sparkling white sugar, for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

Place currants/raisins in bowl and cover with boiling water, adding 1 tablespoon irish whiskey to the mix if you’re feeling a bit devilish. Let raisins steep for about 10 minutes to plump. Thoroughly drain before incorporating into the batter.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and melted butter (or equivalent).

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, quickly and gently fold in the plumped currants or raisins and then quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.

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.

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.

Enjoy!

Irish Soda Bread Muffins brought to you by: Runcible Eats (www.leaandjay.com)


Arán Spíosraí with Irish Whiskey Glaze

March 5, 2014

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Alright! Here we go on day five of my annual St. Patrick’s Day blog-a-polooza with a recipe for Arán Spíosraí with an Irish Whiskey Glaze. Arán Spíosraí simply means Spice Bread and I think we all know what Irish Whiskey Glaze means. Isn’t that the look that your eyes take on after tasting a bit too much of your frosting recipe as you prepare it?  (Good old Jameson!) Well, in my defense, I had to make sure the recipe was good before I published it right? What kind of a cook would serve something up without tasting it? And some things require a bit more tasting than others…

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Anyhooo….This lovely quick bread can probably be thought of as more cake-like than bread-like. Quite sweet, it is chock full of chopped citron and raisins along with a veritable riot of spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice ginger – hence the name. Very versatile, this bread is great for breakfast slathered in butter, equally welcome along with your afternoon tea or can be a simple yet tasty dessert topped with a bit of fresh whipped cream. And leftovers are not a problem. It holds up well in the pantry and I think the taste even improves a bit with age. Perfect to have a loaf on standby for your St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

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Arán Spíosraí with Irish Whisky Glaze

recipe from: Bob Vivant

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup candied citron, chopped
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 6 oz. Lyles Golden Syrup ( can substitute 1/3 cup honey and 1/3 cup molasses or 2/3 cup light corn syrup)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk

For the Irish Whiskey Glaze:

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons Irish Whiskey
  • pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Line a 9×5″ loaf pan with parchment paper or grease it with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Stir in the raisins and candied citron. Make a well in the center.

In a small sauce pan, melt the butter. Remove it from the heat and stir in the brown sugar and Lyle’s Golden syrup. Beat in the egg and milk until combined.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. Place batter in prepared pan.

Bake for 60-70 minutes until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool loaf on a rack for 20 minutes and then remove from the pan. Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in confectioner’s sugar, vanilla and whiskey. Allow the glaze to cool for 15 minutes. Spoon the glaze into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe glaze in pattern of your choice across top of bread.

Enjoy!


Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread & Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread

March 1, 2014

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Here it is March 1st already! That means today is the first day of my annual blog-stravaganza leading up to St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th. Yup…I will be publishing one Irish-y recipe every day until March 17th. This is the 3rd year that I have done this and if you are looking for some tasty Irish-y dishes for St. Patrick’s Day, I hope you will follow along here each day. But I should also mention that I have quite a back catalog of Irish-y recipes from the past years. Just click on Runcible Eats/Recipes at the top of the navigation bar and scroll down to St. Patrick’s Day to see them.  (or just click here and scroll down)

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This year we’re going to get underway with a great recipe for a quick beer bread using… you guessed it – Guinness! Now you know that a bread made with Guinness is going to be fantastic. Cooking anything with Guinness just seems to improve it whether it be a hearty beef stew or a rich chocolate cake. Guinness stout seems to give everything a real depth of flavour. And this Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread not only has yummy Guinness goodness in it, but it also has delicious apple butter added into the mix! I used some of my homemade Drunken Granny Apple Butter, but if you don’t have time to whip up a batch of your own, any store-bought apple butter will do in a pinch.  Being a quick bread, there are no rise times involved, so you’ll have two loaves out of the oven and ready for snacking before you know it. The bread is very moist and bursting with apple flavour. I like mine slathered in butter.

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The folks at A Spicy Perspective, the blog where I came across the original recipe, suggested that it paired well with a sharp cheddar spread. Apples and cheddar do taste great together, so I adapted a spicy cheddar spread from the folks at Cabot Creamery that I already had in my repertoire. Since this is for St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to Irish it up a bit and used Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar Cheese and a bit more Guinness (of course). Folks loved the resulting Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread, both on the bread and on crackers as  well.

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This bread would work well with whatever St. Patrick’s Day feast you are preparing, but would also be very welcome at your St. Patrick’s Day breakfast table. Or as a mid-day snack to sop up some of those pints, I mean as a bit of pick-me-up. Make a couple of loaves today and don’t forget the Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread! (That’s one down and 16 more days to go!)

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Guinness Irish Apple Beer Bread

recipe adapted from: A Spicy Perspective

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups Drunken Granny Apple Butter, or your favourite Apple Butter
  • 12 oz. Guinness Stout beer
  • 1 Tablespoon Lyle’s Golden Syrup (can substitute in 1 T Molasses)
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter and flour two 8 1/2 x 4″ loaf pans.

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs, apple butter, Guinness and golden syrup. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together. Slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared loaf pans. Baked for 60 – 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool bread in the loaf pans for 10 minutes before gently inverting on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Spicy Guinness Cheddar Spread

recipe adapted from: Cabot Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Kerrygold Reserve Cheddar, grated (about 2 cups) *
  • 1/4 cup  Sour Cream
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Guinness Stout
  • Large pinch freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground red pepper (cayenne)

Directions:

Place grated cheddar, sour cream, butter, Guinness, nutmeg and cayenne pepper in bowl of  food processor and pulse until smooth.

* You can substitute in another cheddar if you are not able to find Kerrygold. I will mention though that you should buy a block of cheddar and grate it yourself. Do not use bags of shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is coated with cellulose or corn starch to keep it from sticking together and could cause your cheese spread to be less creamy than it could be if you grated the cheese at home.

Enjoy!


Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread

March 3, 2013

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Everyone knows that “Guinness is Good for You”. And I’m sure ya’ll knew that its appearance as a featured ingredient in several of my St. Patrick’s Day recipes was inevitable. So here we go with a great beer bread that is just chock full of quality Irish ingredients, Guinness Irish Stout, Kerrygold Irish Butter, and Kerrygold Dubliner Cheddar cheese. You should be able to find all of these ingredients at a larger grocery store. I certainly know that Guinness is widely available. If you can’t get ahold of any brand of Irish Cheddar or Butter, you can of course substitute in other quality brands. Do whatever you need to do, but definitely make up a loaf of this bread for St. Patrick’s Day.

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It is absolutely delicious and easy! Yes, that’s right, I said easy. This is a “quick bread”. That means there is no yeast involved, so there is no bothering with rise times. Well, that is a bit of a lie. The bit about the yeast not being there. In beer breads, which this is, the beer provides the yeast for you and that is what acts as the leavening agent. And this bread does have a wee bit of baking powder thrown in as well. You’ll have this loaf mixed up and in your oven in no time flat! Your house will smell heavenly with the aroma of that fresh baking bread. And oh…when that mouth-watering Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread is ready…hold on to your hat!

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The moist, tender, savoury center of the bread is surrounded by a buttery, crunchy, chewy crust. The cheddar flavour is quite evident and woven throughout the loaf. So many cheese breads only taste distinctly of the cheese when you are biting into a big chunk of it. Serve it slathered with more butter or with a nice hearty bowl of soup. It will definitely be love at first bite!

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Cheddar & Chive Guinness Bread

recipe from: The Kitchn

yield: one 8 1/2 ” loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle Irish stout beer
  • 1 cup grated Irish cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1/4 cup Irish butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375° F. Line 8 1/2- x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, or coat with butter.

In a mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour in the beer and mix until the dry ingredients are evenly moistened. Fold in 3/4 cup of the cheese and the chives.

Transfer the batter to prepared pan. Pour the melted butter evenly over top of the dough. Bake about 30 minutes then scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of cheese over the top. Return the loaf to the oven and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes.

Turn out and serve warm, sliced.

Enjoy!


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