I'm Irish by marriage, and, well, everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day, so slainte!
We have been celebrating St. Patrick's Day all week here, and will continue to do so at least through tomorrow... From crafts (including a cute leprechaun puppet made out of a paper bag!) to food, we are doing it up.
And of course, what could be more perfect to bake today than a traditional Irish Soda Bread. We use my husband's grandfather's recipe, and I look forward to it all year. Not that you can't have Irish Soda Bread the other 11 months of the year, but I think it tastes better with the St. Paddy's spirit around...
Little miss loves making Irish Soda Bread because she can pretty much do it herself - there are only a few ingredients, no eggs, and you get to knead it with your hands, so that makes for a great pre-schooler recipe.
The only liquid in this bread is buttermilk, and this is the one time of year that I am guaranteed to have actual buttermilk in the house, rather than depending on my usual substitution. Little miss did all of the mixing, most of the measuring and all of the pouring, too. And she was totally in the spirit, too, between the shamrock on her shirt and the one on her cheek... and yes, I had a matching one. A fun time was had by all.
Anyway, her favorite part was kneading the dough. And getting to pick what dried fruit to include. Today she chose craisins. The hardest part for me is making sure the craisins (or raisins) are incorporated evenly through the dough. I always soak them in orange juice before kneading them in so that they don't burn in the oven. The time I forgot to do that, the ones on the outside of the bread were... less than tasty, shall we say. So I try to remember now.
Anyway, this comes together super quick, and then after 40 minutes in the oven, you have a beautiful loaf of this:
Truth be told, this was neither the first nor the last loaf of this that I made this week. I made a loaf yesterday, for which little miss chose raisins (which was why she chose craisins today), which we had with our day-early traditionaly St. Patrick's day dinner of corned beef, cabbage and potatoes. I always add carrots, too, because I like them, and because little miss doesn't like cabbage, but loves carrots. Easy thing to do.
And as for it not being the last? Tomorrow I am going into preschool again with little miss and making another loaf with her class. So the spirit of the Irish will continue on for at least one more day, and the leftovers will be enjoyed for at least that long.