I’m 1/8 Irish.

I couldn’t let St. Patrick’s Day go by without a nod. It is beloved by so many after all. It’s a passport to drink a month’s worth of beer in one day. And to wear buttons demanding to be kissed.

But I can’t say it’s a holiday that celebrates my favorite foods.

I thought about what to make for a while… and couldn’t bring myself to negotiate with green food coloring. It ain’t my style.

Corned beef and cabbage? It’s probably my favorite of the choices, but “eh.”

Grandma Pellegrini suggested Irish Soda Bread.

I decided she was right. In the same email (we converse a lot over email, we’re very modern like that) she also gave me a list entitled “My Favorite Green Foods.” It said:

Pea Soup (I make it with split peas, then add petite peas and mint)
Green (Spinach) Lasagna or Pesto with some type of green Pasta
Brussels Sprouts (maybe with parsnips, an Irish favorite)
Green Salad (endless possibilities)
Pistachio Ice Cream
Irish Coffee to top it off (with green whipped cream)

So if you’re not interested in my Irish Soda Bread, Grandma P. has some stellar alternatives.

These are some of the things you will need.

I ran out of white flour so I threw in some whole wheat at the end and kept my fingers crossed.

I do that a lot with baking. It’s a constant tug of war between my inner wild child and the type-A precision required to be a baker. On any given day, you never know who will win — Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde.

Q: Do you know what the difference is between baking soda and baking powder?

A: They are both leavening agents, but baking powder contains baking soda (pure sodium bicarbonate) in addition to cream of tartar and some sort of starch.

That’s my science tutorial for the week.

And just because I can’t help myself, and it’s Friday, and I’m feeling wise, and because I love ya, here’s one more… see that bit of salt in my palm?

Well, if you cup your palm and put salt in the little pocket, that always equals 1 teaspoon of salt. It’s true. Go try it!

Now where was I…

Ah yes, RAW sugar. Because it’s crunchy and makes baked goods more intriguing than your regular run of the mill sugar.

Some softened butter, or in my case, I used Earth Balance. Because that’s the kind of mood I was in.

In case you couldn’t tell… Mr. Hyde is winning here…

And then I used my favorite mixing tool…

Hands. It’s awfully fun to get your hands in there and really feel what’s going on. I’m just sayin’.

(Mr. Hyde…)

A little egg…

A little buttermilk that’s been sitting in my fridge since last June…

(Just kidding).

(Sort of).

Mix ‘er in…

And then I uncovered some prunes in the cabinet… and because I was feeling wild as you know…

Yup.

Then I combined it all into one nice ball.

Melted some butter and buttermilk and painted it on to give it a nice golden glossy look…

Then scored it with a big X.

Be careful not to over-score. I always over-score. I love to over-score. So sometimes I just do. But it will make your loaf look a bit strange.

I’m just warning you, since that’s what I’m here for.

It’s basically like a giant scone. A little crusty, a little soft.

And there my friends, is your Irish Soda Bread.

Oh, and if you’re Irish: *mwah*

“Irish Soda Bread”

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 glossy loaf

“Irish Soda Bread”

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 5 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter or Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped prunes
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and butter. Stir in 1 cup buttermilk and egg. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead slightly. Mix in the prunes.
  3. Form dough into a round and place on prepared baking sheet. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with 2 tablespoons buttermilk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. For an extra glossy look, continue to brush the loaf with the butter mixture while it bakes.
http://georgiapellegrini.com/2010/03/12/recipes/irish-soda-bread/