Who am I to not haul myself up onto the St. Paddy’s Day bandwagon with something green or Irish? I can’t do green beer, but I can manage a fresh loaf of bread. Or buns.
It occurred to me as I lay in bed last night far past midnight, trying to convince my brain to quiet and let me sleep, that an Irish soda loaf looks an awful lot like a giant, rustic hot crossed bun. Don’t you think? Big and round, with the X slashed across the top? And although I do love from-scratch hot crossed buns, soda bread is quick (leavened not with yeast, but containing in fact more baking powder than soda) and thus something that can be mixed and baked in the wee hours of the morning while everyone else is still asleep.
I added grated orange zest and currants, which remind me of my Grandma (although I have no memory of her making Irish soda bread nor hot crossed buns), but you could add chopped candied citron and golden raisins or whatever you might be inclined to add to a hot crossed bun. I shaped the sticky dough into rough balls, slashed Xs on them with a serrated knife, brushed them with buttermilk and sprinkled their tops with coarse sugar. They came out much like drop biscuits/scones, but with far less fat (1/4 cup to 4 cups of flour). I liked their texture and way they spread; if you’re inclined to have them hold their shape a little better, add about 1/2 cup more flour.
One Year Ago: Third-Month-of-the-Year-Cake