It’s the Luck of the Irish

Coming from a large Irish background, I’m no stranger to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day. I’m pretty strict when it comes to following the typical traditions — decking out in all things green and enjoying at least one glass of green beer. I have a lot of Irish heritage on my Dad’s side (among many other backgrounds) so St. Patty’s was a big holiday in my family. My parents always made sure I was wearing some form of green that day for school, lest I be painfully pinched. Aside from clipping on shamrock pins or listening to some good Irish music, I mostly remember the food. Sheppard’s pie, corn beef and cabbage, potato and leek soup — the works. My favorite thing to eat, though, was definitely Irish soda bread.

Warm, fluffy and sweet, Irish soda bread couldn’t get any better. The traditional Irish soda bread typically includes whole meal flour, buttermilk and caraway seeds. But this year I decided to switch it up a bit by making Irish soda bread muffins. I always like to add a special “Claire” touch to everything I make and while it might go against tradition, I think you’ll enjoy it, too.

sodabreadingredients

INGREDIENTS
● 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
● 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
● 1/3 cup granulated sugar
● 1 egg
● 6 tablespoons melted butter
● 1 1/2 cups raisins
● 1 cup buttermilk
● 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
● 2 teaspoons baking powder 

● powdered sugar for topping

muffinpanDIRECTIONS
1. Oven and muffin pan. The first thing you’ll want to do before we start is to set the oven to 400 degrees. This way, by the time we’re finished filling our muffin tins, it can go straight in to bake. Thankfully, my best friend bought me the perfect muffin pan for my birthday this year, and this is the first time I’ve been able to utilize it (thanks Courtney!) I tried searching for some cute St. Patrick’s Day muffin cups or even something green, but no luck — completely against the title of this blog post. It was pretty much a choice between white, pink or tin. So white it is. It’s completely up to you whether or not to use muffin cups, although it does make it easier to pull the muffins out of the individual holes. Plus it makes them pretty. Once you lay the cups down, make sure to spray each of them with non-stick cooking spray. Nobody wants to bite into a muffin only to find a piece of paper stuck between their teeth.

sodabreaddrysodabreadwetsodabreadaddingsodabreadmix2. Mixing it all together. The best way to mix everything together is to separate your dry  ingredients from your wet. In a large bowl, combine the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, baking powder and raisins. Once those are mixed together, combine the wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl: the egg, buttermilk and melted butter. The next part can get a little tricky. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry, making sure to mix it together with a large spoon at the same time your pouring in the wet mixture. Once you begin incorporating the wet ingredients into the dry, it should begin to form into a sticky, clump-like dough substance. It’s important to separate the wet and dry from the beginning in order to avoid a soupy batter or hard dough. The end result should be sticky and soft in form.

rawsodabreaddoughmuffinsovenmuffinsfinishmuffinssugar3. Bake away. Once our ingredients are well incorporated and mixed together, we can start adding them to our muffin pan. Fill each muffin hole between 1/2-3/4 full. Make sure not to fill the cups all the way otherwise our Irish soda bread muffins are going to rise up and flow over the pan. Once you’ve filled up your pan, place it in the oven for about 20 minutes. The mixture should have enough to make two dozen muffins. Once the timer goes off or the muffins have turned golden brown, set them out to cool for about five minutes before you take out the cups. If you have a cooling rack, you can place the muffins on it to help with the cooling process. Our last step involves sprinkling a little powdered sugar on each muffin top, just to add a little extra touch to our final
product.

And there you have it. Irish soda bread muffins that everyone can enjoy. While St. Patrick’s Day may be full of historical Irish traditions, it’s important to include some of your own along the way. One thing’s for certain — I’ll be sure to pass this recipe on as my own personal St. Patty’s celebration. In honor of Irish tradition, though, I’ll leave you with an old Gaelic saying that I find very appropriate for this post: Is maith an t-anlann an t-ocras — hunger is the best sauce.

irishmuffins2
Check out my Pinterest page to see the original version of this
recipe: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/110478997083748032/
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