Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sweet Irish Morning Bread

Surprisingly, Saint Patrick's Day is a feast day that excites my husband more than any other. This is surprising mainly because he does not have a smidgen of Irish blood running through his veins and he is dang proud of it. He is all about his German background even though a large chunk of his genes are Polish as well (and his son looks every bit a Polish poster child). However, while he enjoys eating bratwurst and drinking a beer in honor of Oktoberfest, when it comes to the little Irish holiday that falls on the seventeenth day of March each year, he insists that we go all out.

This might have something to do with his love for the following:

1. Guinness
2. Jamison Irish Whiskey
3. Bailey's Irish Cream
4. Irish Car Bombs
5. Beer of any type
6. Reuben Sandwiches
7. Cheese! (especially since it has been banned from our house for Lent)
8. Guinness (it deserves another spot on the list)

From this list, it is readily apparent that my guy likes to drink and eat really, really healthy stuff. In fact, I am typing this shortly after watching him down a 12 oz. steak in under 5 minutes while simultaneously perusing the Margarita section of his Bar Book. We're a healthy, healthy family.

For our Saint Patrick's Day dinner, we will be making a Guinness-glazed corned beef brisket for Reubens  (unless, of course, our baby chooses to make her appearance before then!). And Paul will probably be sipping (aka gulping) Guinness while helping me glaze the vegetables. 

However, we will also be enjoying a simple breakfast composed of Sweet Irish Bread slathered with Irish butter and served alongside steaming mugs of hot Irish coffee (sense a theme?). I have another recipe for American Soda Bread that I normally make - it has such a delightful scone-like consistency - but Matthew has difficulty with its crumbly nature. This Irish Morning Bread is a delightful alternative because it captures the flavor of American-style Irish Soda bread while sporting a softer, less delicate crust. This was another fun little baking project with my Matthew.

And I have no idea if this is an "authentic" recipe or not. My best guess is that it is about as "Irish" as we are.

Sweet Irish Morning Bread
adapted from AllRecipes.Com

Note: While I have substituted plain yogurt in the recipe with awesome results, the sour cream really makes the best loaf of bread (please do not use nonfat sour cream!).

1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup raisins or currants, softened in 1/4 cup boiling water for 3-5 minutes (be sure to drain before adding to batter!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Either by hand or using a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until completely combined and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure each egg is completely incorporated before adding the next. Blend in the sour cream.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sat, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the sour cream mixture. Fold everything together gently with a spatula until just combined with no streaks of flour remaining. Fold in the softened, drained raisins.

Pour batter into a greased 9x5" loaf pan and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool in the loaf pan on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before turning out. Let cool completely before slicing.

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