Monthly Archives: March 2012

Irish Soda Bread

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Our group  Tuesdays with Dorie- Baking with Julia chose  to bake  this traditional Irish Soda Bread recipe., and I am so glad we did. This bread is very easy and fast to prepare. It has only four ingredients- unbleached all-purpose flour, baking soda, buttermilk and salt.

Stir the dry ingredients with a fork in a medium bowl.

Then add the buttermilk and mix it up until the  dough comes together.   With the buttermilk, you can also add the raisins or other stir-ins that inspire you such as dried cherries, currants, craisins, orange zest, cheese, herbs….

When you turn the dough out on a floured surface, knead it gently – not too much.  Pat it into a disc.  Cut an “X” into the top

Place on a greased pan.

Bake for 50 minutes till golden brown.   Let it cool completely before slicing.

Spread on butter or cream cheese and maybe a dollop of apricot jam.

I baked this recipe twice.  The first time I wanted to add a cup of raisins and forgot to mix it in with the buttermilk.  So I baked it again on St. Patrick’s Day  and added that cup of raisins. I also used half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour.  Both breads were delicious, but the family favorite was the whole wheat and raisin.

Be sure to wrap any leftover bread in saran wrap and a ziplock bag.  We re-heated it the next day in the oven wrapped in aluminum foil and proceeded to finish it up for breakfast. It was still yummy!  After a couple of days the bread will be hard so if you don’t plan on eating it right away,  a  good idea would be to freeze half the bread.  When you hear it calling your name, re-heat it and enjoy! (I don’t know about you, but it isn’t easy for me to forget that there are homemade baked goods in the house!)

(And thanks to my special helper, Zoe, my clean-up crew!)

Our hosts for this recipe were Carla and Cathleen.  Visit their blogs to find the recipe. You can find everyone’s links HERE

Rugelach

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I love rugelach and was really happy that our TWD (Tuesdays with Dorie) Baking with Julia group chose this recipe.  As a novice baker, I followed the recipe exactly.  So, even though my favorite combination fillings are chocolate, cinnamon and nuts, I went with the prune and apricot with raisins, nuts, and cinnamon. These rugelach are very rich.  There is a lot of cream cheese and butter in the dough, but I went for it!!

Although there are a lot of steps to follow, I spread them out over three intervals and it wasn’t too difficult.  On the first day, I made the cream cheese pastry dough which needed to chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Later that evening, I prepared the filling ingredients.  I used a combination of toasted nuts- walnuts, pecans and almonds. I love nuts and cinnamon so I knew this was going to be very tasty!  There is also a cinnamon, sugar and nut topping which I finely processed as well.

The rest of the nuts were coarsely chopped!

These nuts were to be used for the filling along with “plumped” golden raisins and prune and apricot lekvar.  I decided to use a store bought brand as I felt that there was a lot to prepare for the rest of the recipe.

It was time to roll the rugelach!  It was a little tricky, but I got the hang of it and it was actually fun!

The 4 logs went into the fridge to chill overnight.

Bright and early, I sliced the dough, rolled the pieces in egg wash,

and tossed each one in the cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture.

They were ready for baking!!

Well, I made a critical mistake here and realized a few minutes into baking that I had the oven temperature too high.  This caused the first batch to get overcooked on the bottom. ( A note of caution, since the rugelach will caramelize, the recipe suggests baking them on double baking sheets.  I did not have enough baking sheets so I couldn’t do that, and with the initially high oven temperature, the bottoms did get overdone). Luckily, the rest of the rugelach came out great! My family and friends loved them!

I would like to try this recipe again and will be brave enough to experiment and use some different fillings- perhaps chocolate, raspberry, dried cranberries, maybe nutella!  I also felt that there was too much cinnamon-sugar-nut topping, so I will be less generous on the next go round and will possibly roll the log in the mixture before slicing.  It was difficult to see the beautiful spirals of the filling and I think this would remedy that!

For the recipe, please see visit our co-hosts blogs Jessica of My Baking Heart or Margaret of The Urban Hiker or purchase the book Baking With Julia written by Dorie Greenspan (pp. 325-327).