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Irish soda bread muffins,  that is.

On St. Paddy’s day, I am always reminded of the  “holiday” cards my mom would get from the O’Wileys or the O’Gormans. Her friends always adding the “O'” to their last names to get in the spirit of things. I also remember my mom making corned beef and cabbage back when I was in grade school. I haven’t eaten beef since I was 12 yrs old but I was just telling my husband yesterday that I remember it tasting SO good. While he won’t be having that tonight I did just buy some Guinness beer and will make him a beef irish stew. As for me, I have already had a delicious irish soda bread muffin with my morning coffee.

These are super fast and easy to put together. Since they are baked in a muffin tin the baking time is only 20 minutes. The size is perfect. One went in my daughters lunch box, another wrapped up for her teacher.

Back in the day, for a few years I had an office that overlooked 5th Avenue in Manhattan and had the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade pass under my window. The streets would be filled with many drunk folks and after work I am sure I was one of them too. Never green beer though. Now I bake muffins. O’ the times they are a changin’….

Bake On!

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Yields 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups (177 g) AP Flour
3/4 cup (85 g) whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (74 g) granulated sugar (I actually used 1/4 c)
1  cup (135g) currants
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, or to taste
1 large egg
1 cup (8 oz)  buttermilk
1/3 cup (2 3/8 oz) canola oil

Preheat your oven to 400 F and line a muffin tin with papers.

Whisk together all of the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (egg, buttermilk and oil) wet

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and give a few quick stirs with a large spoon to combine everything. Do not overmix! As with all muffin recipes, this only toughens the dough. It will be a thick batter. Fill each muffin tin 3/4 of the way full and sprinkle with some course sugar (I used green).DSC_0115
Bake for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Flip them out of the pan so the bottoms don’t get soggy. Let cool slightly before digging in.

 

 

 

 

 

The leprechaun catcher…….
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Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

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What a tasty treat from the Bread Baking Babes for January!  Elle, from Feeding My Ethusiasms chose fantans, a little single portion of deliciousness. |In the past I have made Flo Braker’s Lemon Pull Apart bread (to die for), which is really just a giant version of this so I was eager to give these individual babies a try. While the recipe was for jam filled fantans, I still has some leftover speculaas spices from the Gevulde Speculaas I made last week  that I knew would be perfect for something like this. I just mixed the potent spice blend with some sugar that made a spicy  cinnamon roll effect treat. With a slathering of cream cheese frosting these were outstanding!

I definitely want to try a savory version next time since I think these would be great for a side of soup but in the meantime I am trying desperately not to eat the entire pan these delicious buns. Bake On!

Starter:
At least 4 hours ahead prepare the starter (I did this the night before):

1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup water
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active dry yeast

Stir together until well blended, cover with plastic wrap and set aside until later.

Dough Ingredients:BBBuddies_Jan_2013
2 – 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup non fat evaporated milk
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter
¼ cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

Filling:
1/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 Cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons speculaas spice mixture

Directions:

Sift 1 cup of the all-purpose flour, the 1 cup of whole wheat bread flour, salt, and nutmeg into a large mixing bowl. Stir until well blended. Set aside.

Placed evaporated milk, butter and honey into a saucepan and heat until butter is nearly melted. Remove from heat. Stir a few minutes to help mixture cool. Let cool to 110 degrees F.

Add the starter mixture to milk mixture, then add milk mixture to flour mixture; beat well. Add egg and vanilla; stir until blended. Add 1 cup all-purpose flour, stir until thoroughly incorporated. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft, tacky dough.

In a standing mixer with the dough hook attachment,knead for 3 minutes or until dough is smooth and silky. If doing by hand, lightly flour your work surface and knead for about 5 minutes adding additional flour if needed, but only enough to keep it from sticking too much.) Place in oiled bowl, turn dough to lightly coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for 1 ½ to 2 hours. I tend to place my dough in my bottom oven with a bowl of steaming water along side of it. This provides a warm, moist environment for the dough to rise.DSC_1952

Dust your work surface with flour. Punch down the dough, then half it. Roll one half into a 12×12-inch square. Brush dough with half the melted butter. Score the bottom every two inches so you can cut even strips. Cut one two-inch wide strip off and set aside.DSC_1954

Spread the surface of the remaining rolled out dough with  1/2 of the speculaas sugar filling. Remember, don’t put the filling on the  1/6 plain strip. This will allow you to have a plain side of dough on each side of the roll touching the muffin cup. Cut into 5 equal strips, then stack the strips on top of each other with the plain strip on top. You will now have 6 layers.  Cut through the layers into 6 equal pieces, then place each into a buttered muffin cup, standing up so the layers are visible. Gently fan them open. Each will have six dough pieces with marmalade or other filling in between. Repeat with the remaining dough and the rest of the marmalade for the other six cups of the muffin tin.DSC_1955

Cover with a clean dish towel and let the rolls rise in a draft free spot at warm room temperature until the dough doubles, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. I actually covered mine with plastic wrap and put them in the fridge for about 2 1/2 hours since I had to go out. I then just let them come to room tempeture and “wake up” for an hour before baking.

Place the rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.

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Remove the towel and bake the rolls until they are golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan ten minutes, then transfer to a rack and allow to cool for about another 20 minutes before serving. If desired, make a simple cream cheese glaze by mixing together cream cheese, confectioners sugar and cream until smooth  then drizzle over the fantails while still warm. Enjoy!

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Please visit all of The Bread Baking Babes to check out their awesome work:

Bake My Day – Karen
Bitchin’ Bread Baking Babe Bibliothécaire – Katie
blog from OUR kitchen – Elizabeth
Feeding my enthusiasms – Elle
Life’s A Feast – Jamie
Living in the Kitchen with Puppies – Natashya
Lucullian Delights – Ilva
My Kitchen In Half Cups – Tanna
Notitie Van Lien – Lien
Paulchens Foodblog – Astrid
Provecho Peru – Gretchen

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Well, the time has finally arrived. School. Kindergarten, that is. It’s sounds so cliché, but really, where did the time go? With out a doubt, the fastest (and best) five years of my life. We made it through the first week, and for us, the hard part wasn’t school itself, but getting up at 7am everyday. You see, we are a family of late risers. 8:30 is more like it for this bunch, so for us to be out of the house by 8am for an entire week is a big accomplishment. I guess this is the new me; an early riser. Maybe if I just  keep saying it I just might start believing it. I’ll keep you updated….

With school comes snacktime. Another new normality; no nuts. That is tough one for us since we all love nuts of every kind – but since we want to be kind to other little ones, a conscious effort will be made to make school snacks sans nuts. But….. if you wanted to add nuts to this recipe, by all means, please do! Add some for me! Walnuts are a great choice, but sunflower seeds (1/2 C) are truly perfect in this. I haven’t confirmed if they are okay yet to be in the classroom; I think they would be but I want to be polite and make certain before adding them to anything.

This falls into the healthy category while still being really tasty. Veggies, whole wheat, ground flax.. all good things. Oh, and dairy free. Once your veggies are grated it takes moments to get this whipped up and in the oven. So wish me luck with the whole early rising thing and, as always, Bake On!

Carrot Zucchini Bread 

Makes 2 loaves, or 1 loaf and 12 muffins

Eat your veggies!

Preheat your oven to 350 F

1 1/2 C finely grated carrot
1 1/2 C finely grated zucchini (or a combination to make 13 oz)
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 C (3 oz) Orange Juice
4 Eggs
1 C (8 oz )Canola Oil
1 Vanilla Bean,seeds scraped (save your pods for the sugar bowl) or 2 tsp pure vanilla
1 1/2 C (6 oz) Whole Wheat flour
1 3/4 C (5.3 oz) All-Purpose Flour
1/4 C (1 oz) Ground Flax Seed
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 C (7 oz) Light Brown Sugar, packed
1 1/4 C (8.5 oz) Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Cardamom
1/2 tsp Nutmeg, freshly ground if possible

Lightly grease 2 loaf pans or line 2 muffin tins with paper liners (or 1 of each as I did)

In a medium glass bowl, mix together  the zucchini, carrot, lemon zest/juice, eggs, orange juice and oil (the wet ingredients) until well blended.

In a separate large bowl, sift together the flours, the cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, baking soda and baking powder. Add the ground flax seed and the sugars. Stir together well, making sure to get out any brown sugar clumps that might remain. I usually just use my fingers to make sure there are no clumps.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended. This is one of those lovely recipes that an electric mixer is not needed, it comes together easily with a wooden spoon. Pour into your prepared pans. Bake at 350 for approximately 45 minutes if using a loaf pan or 25 minutes if using a muffin tin. Either way, just bake until fragrant and golden brown.  A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Cool thoroughly before eating.

Enjoy!

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