Friday, March 18, 2011

The Luck o the Irish

The Irish must be some of the luckiest people ever!!!! I mean seriously...corned beef, fresh butter from the cow, all of your side dishes made with butter...YUM!!! I had a little gathering celebrating the land of the shamrock and scored some amazing new recipes that I just had to share with you!!! Both are butter-tastic and absolutely delicious! Share these with your friends, drop them off at a neighbors house or just sit in front of your favorite movie sipping hot chocolate and munching matter what you do, you'll be feeling lucky!

Irish Soda Bread
Adapted from The Secrets of Jesuit Baking*

5 c. sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick of butter, cold
3 tbsp. caraway seeds
2 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Generously butter two 9x5 bread pans.
  2. Stir together the sifted flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Cut in the butter and mix very thoroughly with your hands until it gets grainy. Stir in caraway seeds.
  3. Add the buttermilk and egg to the flour mixture. Stir until well moistened. Shape dough into 2 loaves (with loads of flour on your hands!) and place in the pans.
  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Test with a toothpick for doneness. Cool in pans for 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Serve with fresh, homemade butter (pour heavy cream into a jar, seal it, shake it until you have butter).
*This recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of raisins that I decided would ruin the bread. I'm SO happy that I ditched the raisins! It was absolutely perfect without them!

Shortbread Cookies
Adapted from Ina Garten's Shortbread Hearts recipe

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 1/2 c. sifted flour
pinch of salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment or Silpat mats.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer lightly cream butter and sugar together (the less mixing the better.) Add in the vanilla and mix.
  3. Mix together flour and salt and slowly add to butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
  4. Dough will be crumbly! Pour out onto a lightly floured board and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out on floured surface to about 1/2" thick. Cut with 2 1/2 inch round cutter and place on prepared trays. Sprinkle with granulated sugar so that your cookies sparkle!
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until edges are barely golden.
  7. Makes 24- 2 1/2" cookies
Oh...and since I'm doing Weight Watchers here are the PointsPlus values for these lovelies:
Irish Soda Bread: 1 slice = 4 pts. (if each loaf is cut into 12 slices)
Shortbread Cookies: 1 cookie = 6 pts.