Category Archives: Holidays

Irish Soda Bread

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This has been a really difficult week for me.  My mother passed away.  I lost a mentor, an inspiration, a friend and the most loving person I have ever known.  She suffered from lung cancer and her struggle came to end last Friday.  It has been really hard to deal with, so I have taken a break from this project of mine.  I never got to tell her that I started this site, and that is something I wish I would have shared.  I know she would be proud that I am sharing a passion of mine.  She is looking down on me from heaven, and I hope that I make her proud in everything that I do. 

Share the important stuff, and always let the people you love know.  You never know if you’ll get another chance.  I love you, Mom. 

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 Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner, I wanted to share this recipe for Irish Soda Bread.  According to this site, this actually isn’t Irish Soda Bread at all.   They say that if it has sugar and raisins and is sweet, it is a “cake.” 

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 Even if it doesn’t technically fit the definition, it is still delicious! 

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 Chemically leavened breads are fast and easy to make.  They are chewy and much denser than those leavend using yeast.  The addition of raisins to this loaf lend just the right amount of sweetness without turning it in a dessert.

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 Irish Soda Bread

Slightly adapted from this recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Add raisins to a small bowl.  Cover with boiling water and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  4. Mix in 4 tablespoons of butter until small crumbs form.
  5. Add buttermilk and egg and mix until a soft, sticky dough forms.
  6. Drain raisins and add them to the dough.  Mix until raisins are distributed throughout the dough.
  7. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface.  Knead for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Form dough into a round ball.  Place dough onto a buttered baking sheet.  Let dough rest for 15-20 minutes. 
  9. Score the top of dough with a large “x” shape.  Do not score too deeply.
  10. Cominbe melted butter with remaining buttermilk.  Brush the top of dough with this mixture.
  11. Bake for 45-50 minutes.

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Filed under Baking, Holidays

Mardi Gras King Cake

Happy Fat Tuesday!

I love any excuse to celebrate, and what better reason than Mardi Gras!  King Cakes are traditionally baked with a small trinket or toy baby inside, and the person who gets the slice with the trinket is King (or Queen!) for the day.  That person is also responsible for bringing the King Cake to the next party!  I didn’t get the baby last time, however we are having a pizza luncheon at work today, and I thought it would be fun to celebrate Fat Tuesday with my co-workers.

King Cake

adapted from Southern Living Magazine

Ingredients

For cake:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 oz (2 envelopes) active dry yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 5-6 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

For icing:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tbsp milk

For topping:

  • 1 cup sugar, divided into three bowls (1/3 cup each)
  • Green, Yellow, Red and Blue food coloring

Or

  • Green, Yellow and Purple sanding sugar

Directions

  1. In a small sauce pot, mix butter, sour cream, yogurt, sugar and salt over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture is smooth.  Turn off heat and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and 1 tbsp sugar.  Set aside 5 minutes until yeast is frothy.
  3. Add butter mixture, eggs and 2 cups of the flour to the yeast.  Mix until combined.
  4. Switch attachment on mixer to a dough hook. Continue mixing, adding flour until a soft dough is formed.  You may not need the total amount of flour listed in ingredients.
  5. Knead with dough hook for 5 minutes.  Turn dough out on a floured surface and hand knead for 2 minutes until dough is elastic and smooth.
  6. Place dough in a well greased bowl, turning to coat the top.  Cover with a clean dish towel and place bowl in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.
  7. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Divide dough in 2 equal pieces.  One at a time, roll each dough piece into a long rectangle (approx. 24 in x 10 in).
  9. Spread 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick) onto each dough rectangle.  Sprinkle 1/2 sugar mixture onto each dough rectangle.  If you are using a trinket, place it in the cake before rolling.
  10. Roll jelly-roll style beginning with the long side.
  11. Shape each dough log into an oval shape, pinching edges together where they meet, on a foil lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Pinch to
  12. Cover and let rise for 25 minutes.
  13. Bake cakes in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 15 minutes.
  14. Let cool completely before decorating.
  15. To make the colored sugar, mix 2-4 drops of desired color of food coloring into each bowl of sugar.  Mix until combined.
  16. To make the icing, combine powdered sugar, melted butter and milk.  Mix until smooth.
  17. Drizzle icing over cooled cakes.  Decorate with colored sugars.

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Filed under Baking, Dessert, Holidays