Holidays, birthdays and quite a few weekends throughout the year bring guests to our home. A side effect of living away from extended family means I’ve gotten pretty good at prepping our home for out-of-town guests.
I buy an extra pound of coffee at the grocery store, maybe a bouquet of flowers, wash the sheets and run the vacuum. One thing that has taken years to get right though is the food. What we eat and what our guests eat can be different; different preferences, dietary concerns, you name it. But I’ve honed in on a few key things that saves the day every time. Lots of chips and salsa for snacking, plenty of beer and wine and always always make something ahead for breakfast in the morning.
Sometimes it’s a baked French toast or a frittata, but in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought I would doctor up a loaf of Irish Soda Bread. Filled with currants, plenty of orange zest and even a little white chocolate, this is an easy and delicious quick bread to feed a crowd.
Irish Soda Bread:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 ¾ cups cold buttermilk, well shaken
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 cup dried currants (or raisins)
- ½ cup mini white chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Add the butter and combine at a low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour. (The dough will be crumbly, not combined like in a cookie dough).
Beat buttermilk and egg together, with the mixer on low, add the milk mixture to the batter. Add orange zest. With a spatula, stir in currants and white chocolate.
Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared pan and cut an x into the top of the bread. Bake for 45-55 minutes. When you tap the loaf, it should make a hollow sound. Cool before cutting into the bread.
Serve with honey cinnamon butter.
To make honey cinnamon butter, stir 1 tablespoon honey and 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon into 4 tablespoons of softened salted butter.