Monday, March 14, 2011

American Soda Bread (Patty's Day '11)

Dear Mouse,

Am I really about to say this? Let's see:

"That was the most delicious thing I've baked".

To set this up: Happy Purim AND St. Patty's Day! Is it always like that and I just never noticed? Both of our ethnicities, on the same DAY, celebrating past religion-related triumphs with drunken frivolity and silly costumes? Wow.

R: Corned beef and cabbage at Cunningham's, a restaurant on 4th St. in Louisville, where you probably shouldn't order the corned beef and cabbage.

Of course, we never celebrated Purim growing up, and were trained from an early age to loathe St. Patrick's Day as inauthentic and un-Irish in the extreme. Having spent a considerable amount of time on the aul sod I can tell you that Patty's Day, though acknowledged over there, is kind of not that big a deal. I think mainly because in Ireland a day where you see green everywhere, sing raucous songs, and drink til closing is ... well, say ... Tuesday.

But as it turns out, in spite of myself I had a very celebratory St. Purim's Day here in Louisville. We had a day off from the show so all I had to do was have a breakfast meeting about the upcoming workshop of my play at this festival, go to the gym, and attend a "meet the artists" function where no one showed up and we just stood around drinking free cocktails! Also, the SUN finally came out! So this morning found me standing on my little balcony in my PJs, waiting for my meeting to start. I gazed out over Louisville in the bright light, coffee cup in hand, soaking up the Vitamin D and basking in the delicious fragrance coming from my oven.
What did I make? Soda bread, of course. But in the spirit of the holiday itself, it is a deliciously inauthentic version that features chocolate chips!! instead of traditional raisins and a fluffy, sugar-crusted texture rather than the traditional granite rock-face-type affair. It is so easy, so fast, and so delicious I had to share it with you here. It is the PERFECT thing to make when you want to be that person who just "whipped something up" for your friend who is coming over in 15 minutes. With the exception of the buttermilk, all the ingredients are probably in your pantry anyway. It's almost harder NOT to make this bread than to make it. There is practically no labor. I got this into the oven between waking up at 920 and welcoming my friend at 1020. I've made two loaves now and it's a big hit on the 15th floor.

Here goes. From MEMORY, that's how easy it is.

The Boo's American Chocolate Chip Soda Bread
via Epicurious

Preheat oven to 300. *** I LIED IT's 375, I hope no one has tried to make this yet SORRY**

2 C flour
1 .5 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp sugar (i made the second loaf with 4 tsp by accident, still great)
1 tsp salt.

Mix/Whisk/Move these guys around in a bowl.

3tbsp butter, chilled and cut into pieces. Crumble in with your hands until the mixture is coarse and mealy.

Make a 'well' in the middle of the dry mixture for reasons I don't understand.
Pour 1C buttermilk into the well.

Mix that around (I like a wooden spoon) til it's a soft sticky dough.
Mix in 1/2 C chocolate chips.

With floured hands, form a ball of sticky dough. Place on sprayed baking sheet or parchment paper*. Flatten the ball somewhat with palm of hand, just let it spread out a bit.

Sprinkle with 1 tbsp sugar.

Bake for 40 min at 300 or until a knife comes out clean.

That's it.

* My new obsession, parchment paper is your answer if you find yourself, like me, short of resources and stuck with disposable pans. You can use them multiple times and there's no greasing of anything. Sooo easy and neat.

Long live breakfast. Erin Go Bragh.

The Boo


Anonymous said...

How delicious sounding....and wonderful that those little black things I see in the bread are NOT RAISINS!!!
I surely wish I could be having a piece right now.

Anonymous said...

WE HAVE THE SAME MIX ETHNICALLY and, no, I think rarely does Purim and St. Pats come on the same day . You are very very funny. "Hilarious" (see I'm one of your fans)

Anonymous said...

I love soda bread and had no idea it was this simple - just ate it on a trip to Ireland - thanks for this recipe - def will make it and let you know how it comes out.