There’s a saying in Gaelic, “Chan fhiach cuirm gun a còmhradh.” It means,”A feast is no use without good talk.” And I believe that, which is probably why I have a food blog. I like to talk, and eat, so it’s really only fitting I talk about eating. Irish people are known for being given the gift of gab and I definitely inherited that from the Irish sides of my family. I have a blog where I actually think people care about whatever I have to say about food… if that’s not a perfect example, I don’t know what is.
Wouldn’t be St. Patrick’s Day without some Belleek!
As I mentioned a few days ago, I have a favorite Irish soda cake recipe that cannot be replaced. However, I saw this recipe on the King Arthur Flour website and I just needed to try it. I do not like raisins or currants in my breads, and while I do like caraway seeds, I had to make some without because Jay does not. So I totally omitted the raisins/currants but used the caraway seeds (only 1 teaspoon). I also didn’t have crystal sugar, so I used green sparkling sugar on the tops of some; the others I left plain. All in all, they were delicious.
IRISH SODA BREAD MUFFINS (from King Arthur Flour)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ cups currants (first choice) or raisins
- ½ to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted; or ⅓ cup vegetable oil
- sparkling white sugar, for topping
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants or raisins, and caraway seeds.
- 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, quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about ¾ 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.
I prefer to use the melted butter as opposed to vegetable oil in Irish soda breads/cakes/muffins. It lends a better flavor. I also like to use buttermilk, but I used half plain whole milk yogurt and half buttermilk in this recipe (½ cup of each). If you’re really a person of the British Isles, you can use clotted cream on them as well. Some people like marmalade. I like them plain, or sometimes warm right out of the oven with some butter.
The liners are the colors of the flag of Ireland, in case you didn’t realize. Duh.