I can’t remember when I did not have this wonderful bread as a child and grew up with it served at breakfast and often with soups and desserts. Mother made it in every creative way possible and so it is a staple for us. My favorite is my version of the combos of chocolate and cranberries or cherries and sweetened up for a sweet breakfast or brunch bread or used as accompaniment to fruit or pudding desserts. Try my version and use your imagination to create wonderful soda bread recipes both sweet and savory!
Cranberry & Chocolate Irish Soda Bread*
4 cups all-purpose flour + 1 tbsp for cranberries
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk
1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.
With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the cranberries with 1 tablespoon of flour and mix into the dough. Add the mini chocolate chips and mix well.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared sheet pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. When you tap the loaf, it will have a hollow sound.
Remove from oven and cool on a baking rack to cool slightly. Prepare Glaze
1/4 cup water
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 orange, zest finely grated
1 large egg white
To prepare the orange glaze: Mix the all the ingredients together in a bowl, until the sugar dissolves. Whisk the glaze to smooth out any lumps; drizzle it over the top of the soda bread while it is still warm.
Slice and serve when glaze has dried.
*This Irish Soda Bread recipe is based on my Mother’s recipe, my Beyond the Yum recipe. Ina Garten’s original recipe is almost identical to Mom’s so updated and used in part for ease of sharing online). My recipes are in the upcoming Beyond the Yum cookbook; you can visit Ina Garten online at her website.
** If you like your glaze light (like glazed doughnuts) spread on bread while still very warm.