Friday, April 30, 2010

Irish American Soda Bread Scones

These have a soft interior and a crusty flavorful exterior and have a very similar flavor to biscuits.  If your looking for a new biscuit recipe this is the one to try!

I made Irish soda bread for the first time this year during St. Patrick's Day and discovered that it is really just a biscuit recipe plopped down on a pan and cooked as one big biscuit and the recipe I tried was just ok.  It is sometimes called no rise bread and usually calls for buttermilk and baking soda.  I liked the idea of making the Irish Soda Bread and making it into individual smaller biscuits so when I found this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and then tried it, I was in heaven.  Her recipe is the best for Irish Soda Bread and I think this is really almost better than most biscuit recipes I have tried. These taste best if eaten the very first day.

4 cups flour
2 TBL. cornstarch
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon table salt
4 tablespoons softened butter
1 1/4 cups buttermilk (or, make your own)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup currants or raisins (optional)
1 tablespoons caraway seeds (optional)

my addition to this recipe comes from another soda bread recipe, you combine the two ingredients below and brush over the tops of the bread or scones before baking and if desired, a couple times throughout the baking process.  I really liked what this did to the bread, it made the outside really flavorful and crusty as well as a pretty brown.
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup buttermilk

Mix first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Work the softened butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until crumbly.
Add the wet ingredients (buttermilk and egg), currants or raisins and caraway seeds, if you’re using them, and stir with a fork until the dough just begins to come together. Will look a lot like drop biscuit dough.  If you want you can try to knead this on the counter a little to make the dough come together more, like Smitten kitchen suggests, but I didn't, I think really all that does is make them look prettier and more presentable, but in my kitchen I don't care about that. 
You can make these into 8 large scones or 16 smaller ones which is what I prefer.   Place on a parchment-lined or greased baking sheet. Cut a cross shape into the top of each. (If desired brush with butter and butter milk as I described above)
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.  Scones should be golden brown a skewer should come out clean.  If making 1 loaf instead of the individual scones (biscuits), try to make 1 large round as best you can out of the dough and place on baking sheet (brush with butter and buttermilk as well if desired like explained above), bake 40-45 min.


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