Irish Soda Bread

In keeping with the season, I thought I’d share my favorite recipe for Irish Soda Bread. Every time I make this bread, I chastise myself for not making it throughout the year. Let’s face it, no one said you could only eat it for St. Patty’s Day. Right?

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 425 degrees

INGREDIENTS
4 to 4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour, reserve the 1/2 cup for kneading
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoon butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins or currants
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 3/4 cup buttermilk. If you don’t have buttermilk, using regular whole milk is fine.

In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together, then add the softened butter and work the mixture with your fingers until the flour mixture is soft and crumbly.

Combine wet ingredients together and mix, then pour over the flour mixture and stir until you incorporate the liquid into the dough. Dough will be sticky. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Use the remaining flour, just a little at a time, until you have a nice round ball of dough.

Press in a lightly greased 9″ cast iron skillet. Score the top with a cross and bake for 35-40 minutes. This recipe makes one large loaf.

Erin go bragh!

Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding

I went grocery shopping yesterday and of course, I always buy too much because I still shop like I’m in my big house. So, what do I do about that? I cook to make room. This is my creation!

Creamy and rich

6 cups bread cubes cut into one-inch cubes
2 cups chocolate morsels
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
3 cups milk, half and half (I used non-fat milk)
6 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla

Place the bread cubes, the nuts and 1 cup of the morsels into a large bowl and mix with your hands. Butter or spray a large baking dish, then transfer the mixture into the baking dish.

In a 3 quart saucepan, add remaining morsels, sugar, cocoa, and half the milk. Using med low heat, stir until melted and combined.

Reusing the large bowl, add the eggs, the remaining milk, salt and vanilla. Whisk together, then gradually add the egg mixture to the melted chocolate and continue to whisk to blend together. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes. Push the cubes that didn’t get covered down into the liquid.  Let it sit for 25 minutes so the bread cubes absorb the liquid.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  After the 25 minutes, place the pudding on the middle rack and bake for 45 minutes.  

The finished product

 Now, you wait. The house smells OMG yummy, and you can’t wait to dig in, but you must let it cool down before serving.  And don’t forget the whipped cream. Serves 10-12