Amidst our busy schedules, my friend Jackie and I snuck in a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It was our third year in a row baking Irish soda bread together, officially coining a tradition. I had a corned beef simmering on the stove and a hunk of cabbage ready for a quick sauté for dinner (ok, so the non-Irish in me took some liberties here and rejected boiling cabbage) and was all set and pre-measured when she arrived. All I needed to complete the meal was the soda bread. With the gorgeous spring weather peeking through on a late winter day, I pre-measured the dry ingredients so our kitchen time would be brief and we could enjoy a bit of sunshine on my front porch while our muffins baked.
Jackie measured the wet ingredients while I whisked the dry ones. And as I measured the currants into my batter she stopped me before I threw some in hers. She announced that she’d be making hers with mini chocolate chips instead. She knew her kids would like them better, even though her husband would chide her for not using the dried fruit. (Jackie is known to enhance many foods with chocolate — banana bread, pear and bran muffins! Who wouldn’t?) After I promised not to disclose her secret to her husband, she agreed to trade some of hers with mine. It was a nice arrangement since I knew my kids would prefer her chocolate ones and her husband would be pleased with the more traditional Irish taste.
Below is our recipe, which turned out more like petit scones than muffins. I am sure the chocolate chips didn’t hurt! Neither one of us likes caraway seeds, so our recipe isn’t faithful to the original Irish. Forgive us for taking liberties to create a delicious St. Patrick’s Day treat which can be enjoyed any day of the year as a plain old breakfast muffin.
A Tad Irish Muffins
Makes 12 large or 30 mini muffins
Hold the caraway seeds and substitute chocolate chips for the currants and you’ve got a scone like breakfast muffin. Although it hardly resembles Irish soda bread, it’s delicious none-the-less.
2 ¼ cups unbleached white flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips (or currants)
1 cup sour cream
6 tablespoons melted butter
Course sugar for sprinkling on the tops (optional)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, sour cream and butter. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry.
Grease the muffin tins with butter or baking spray and fill halfway with batter. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake for approximately 18 minutes.