I am a big believer in celebrating occasions both big and small -as often as possible.
Ground Hog's Day: I'm there! Birthdays: no such thing as too many! St.Patrick's Day: bring on the green! As a McCarthy, however, to celebrate the shamrocks & shillelaghs I have felt the need to dig a little deeper.
Several years ago, I came across a recipe for the Best Irish Soda Bread in the Country Inn and Bed and Breakfast Cookbook. It captured my attention for a couple of reasons: simple ingredients and no fancy kitchen tools required.
I have altered the recipe just slightly to make it my own and received rave reviews. Several friends who have tasted the bread have asked for the recipe-the highest praise!
(I like to serve it with jam or lemon curd...or both..)
This recipe comes from The Golden Plough Inn in Peddler's Village, Lahaska, Pennsylvania
Best Irish Soda Bread
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons sugar
(I didn't use the 1 cup currents the recipe suggested, but might be a nice addition)
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Grease and flour a cookie sheet. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar. Stir in the currants here if you choose (make sure they are separated). Add the buttermilk, mixing by hand until it forms a dough ball. Add the cinnamon, mixing slightly. Knead by machine or hand for 5 minutes. Form the dough into smooth 10-ounce balls (might need to put flour on your hands for this!)
Here is where I alter the directions slightly.
Melt butter and rub it all over the dough balls. Then rub or dust the dough balls liberally with sugar.
Place the balls on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until the loaves are slightly browned and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove to a wire rack, rub again with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Makes 4 - 5 loaves! Enough to share!
May the wind be at your back, and the road rise up to meet you!