Irish Soda Bread Muffins
So who says Irish soda bread HAS to be made in a round or loaf pan? These coffee-break-sized muffins, bursting with tiny sweet currants and a hint (or a hit, your choice) of caraway, are the perfect offering for St. Patrick's Day -- particularly if you're looking to celebrate with something other than corned beef and cabbage!
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|2 1/4 cupsKing Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour|
|2 teaspoonsBaking Powder|
|1/4 teaspoonBaking soda|
|1/2 cupGranulated sugar|
|3/4 cupcurrants; (first choice) or raisins|
|1/2 tspcaraway seeds; up to 2, (the effect will range from faint to assertive)|
|1 cupbuttermilk; (or plain yogurt, or sour cream)|
|4 tablespoonsbutter or margarine; (1/2 stick, 1/4 cup), melted, or 1/4 cup|
Irish Soda Bread Muffins Preparation
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, 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 12 lightly greased cups in a standard muffin pan, filling the cups about 2/3 full. Bake the muffins in a preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan and cool them on a wire rack. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam. Yield: 12 muffins.
**Note.. About 1 minute prior to removing from oven, I brushed the muffins with a little milk and sprinkled a bit of granulated sugar over them.
This is not at all a traditional Irish soda bread, which would be simply made with whole-wheat flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Thoroughly Americanized, these muffins have traveled a long, long way from their Irish origin -- as have most of us Irish-Americans.
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