Happy Saint Patrick’s Day ~ Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! (Well, almost ;-). I start to get in the Irish holiday mood once March begins).

I love this holiday, even though I’m not even a wee bit Irish. I make a different Irish inspired recipe every year to celebrate. (Check out some of the fun and festive recipes from years past ~ ’10, ’11, and ‘12).

This year, I decided to make Irish soda bread muffins, which my hubby and I have been enjoying for breakfast. They have unique flavors between the caraway seeds and the dried currants, so they are a really refreshing change from the usual banana or berry muffin recipes I usually make. I found the original recipe on the website hosted by King Arthur Flour. They make high quality flours that pastry chefs I know swear by. I did bake my version of the muffins with 100% whole-wheat pastry flour instead of using any all-purpose flour to make them a little healthier. I only used 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, but you can add as many or as few as you’d like. I chose vegetable oil instead of butter, and I used buttermilk instead of the other options. (The yogurt and sour cream are perfectly fine substitutes if you choose the low fat versions, however). I omitted the sugar topping, as well, since I thought they were sweet enough with all of the currants. (My hubby, who is Irish, said they are some of the best muffins he’s ever had :)). I hope you’ll give them a try this month!

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Based on a recipe from KingArthurFlour.com

2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups currants

1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants, and caraway seeds.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and oil.

4) 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.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups.

6) Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.

I hope you have fun on the 17th, whether you are in the Emerald City, the Emerald Isle, or someplace without even a wee bit of green ;).

(PS. Thanks for the cute clover napkins, Mom! Someone else who loves this holiday as much as I do. Must be the 17 connection ;-)).

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