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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! Irish Soda Bread Cookies

Irish soda bread purists will have a fit.  Okay, so Irish soda bread isn't sprinkled with green sugar.  They were supposed to be shamrocks, but I didn't have a clover shape.  Think of each as a clover bunch.  Extra lucky.

While I'm not sure I'm diggin' this combination, I think there's hope for these cookies.  They do taste like soda bread, but the caraway with the sweetness makes the cookies taste a little toothpastey.  And, after all, soda bread isn't sweet.

These actually taste quite a lot like scones.  In fact, if cut thick enough, they could probably be served as such, though I would want the sugar reduced.  They were a tad too sweet for such a mild cookie.  After sampling a few, though, I started to imagine flavors that would suit this cookie well.  The two that immediately came to mind were lemon (sprinkled with powdered sugar) and almond (with sliced almonds.)

These were easy to make, but the dough was pretty sticky.  I chilled it for about 30-45 minutes, and then rolled it out in bits, keeping the rest of the dough in the freezer while I worked.  That helped.

My changes are in italics and strikeout.  Yield:  about 2½ dozen cookies.  Here's what I used:

2 1½ cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1/2 cup salted butter
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup dried currants

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Combine dry ingredients in a food processor. Add the butter in slices and process until mixture resembles coarse meal. On low speed, mix in beaten egg and then the milk to make a soft dough. (May need a little more milk).  Stir in currants.  Dump onto a floured surface and knead lightly 5 or 6 times to bring together. Chill until firm if dough is unmanageable.  Roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick and cut into desired shapes (approximately 2 inches in diameter).  Bake for 12 to 14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Conclusion:  This is not something I'll make again as is, but I will probably play with the recipe.  They were so easy and the texture was really nice -- very light and airy.  Even as is, if the sugar were reduced they would be nice as a late morning or afternoon snack with a cup of tea.  They're also nice dipped quickly in coffee.  And they'd be delicious with a spot of clotted cream.

Original recipe:  Irish Soda Bread Cookies by Laria Tabul for Allrecipes

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