Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Boston is full of people in green, especially in the part of town I live in, so it’s hard to forget. Also, every year I convince myself that Irish Soda Bread is “bread” and therefore not a sweet, so I’ve consumed quite a bit of that in the last couple of days.
Now, I’ve made Irish Soda Bread on the blog before. It was my mom’s recipe, and I made it as a surprise for her. Turns out, my mom is rather single-minded when it comes to soda bread: it’s Stop & Shop bakery brand or bust. Between that and her insistence on Pepperidge Farm Coconut Cake, I don’t really know why I try to bake for her at all!
But even my mom was intrigued by the idea of these scones. Madison, my roommate, gave me the idea, and I was immediately sold. I had been wavering around whether to make some kind of Bailey’s infused cupcakes, or Guinness something, but once she said she’d seen Irish soda bread scones somewhere, nothing else would do.
This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen, who is a very reliable blog, and these definitely did not disappoint. I made them this morning and we had them for breakfast, still warm from the oven, with a pat of Kerrygold butter, obviously.
One thing I’ve learned about scones is that you really have to trust the process, and overkneading is to be avoided at all costs. This will mean dumping a half-flour mess onto your counter and pretending to knead it until it actually becomes knead-able. That’s OK. That’s what you want. Just power through the doubt, and you’ll be happy you did.
First, in a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
Using a pastry blender, cut in the softened butter until coarse and sandy in texture.
Next, add the buttermilk, egg, raisins, and caraway seeds. Feel free to double the caraway seeds if that’s your thing.
Mix with a fork until JUST coming together. I mean it – it will still be very not-together. That’s fine.
Turn it out onto a work surface, no flour needed if yours is as not-together as mine.
Then, just kind of knead at it until it turns into dough, and then STOP. It will still be lumpy. You won’t think you’ve kneaded enough. You have. Let it be.
Pat it into a disk and cut into 8 wedges.
Form each wedge into a ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. It’s OK if they’re a little close together – they don’t spread much.
Cut an X into the top of each ball of dough.
Bake at 400°F for about 20 minutes, until the temperature reads 170°F internally (I’m really into my Thermapen right now) or until golden and a toothpick comes out clean.
Immediately after removing from oven, brush with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
If you don’t eat them immediately, you should store them in an airtight container.
Irish Soda Bread Scones
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup cake flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup raisins
- 1-2 tablespoons caraway seeds
- In a large bowl, whisk together all purpose flour, cake flour, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt.
- Add softened butter and use a pastry blender to mix in until the texture of coarse sand.
- Add the buttermilk, egg, raisins, and caraway seeds and mix with a fork until it just comes together.
- Turn out onto a work surface and knead until becomes a ball, and no further. It should be still be lumpy.
- Pat into a disk and cut into 8 wedges. Form each wedge into round ball and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut an X into the top of each ball.
- Bake at 400°F for 15 to 20 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.