Tag Archives: buttermilk

Irish Soda Bread

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Nothing personifies Irish food and St. Patrick’s Day like Irish soda bread. Neither savory nor sweet this raisin studded bread is incredibly simple yet unforgettably good. I would describe both the taste and texture as being similar to a scone. And best of all it is incredibly easy to make.

There are many recipes out there for this classic bread but my favorite is this one from Simply Recipes. So in honor of St. Patrick’s Day go ahead and bake up a loaf, or two. Eat it as is or my preferred way, toasted until warm then slathered with butter. Yum!

IRISH SODA BREAD

4 to 4 1/2 cups flour

1 Tbsp sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

4 Tbsp butter

1 cup raisins

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 3/4 cups buttermilk

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 4 cups of flour, the sugar, salt, and baking soda.
  • Using your fingers or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal, then add in the raisins.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add the beaten egg and buttermilk to well and mix in with a wooden spoon until dough is too stiff to stir.
  • Dust your hands with a little flour and then gently knead dough in the bowl just long enough to form a rough ball. If the dough is too sticky to work with, add in a little more flour. Be careful not over-knead the dough.
  • Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. Note that the dough will be a little sticky, and quite shaggy (a little like a shortcake biscuit dough).
  •  Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased cast-iron skillet or a baking sheet (it will flatten out a bit in the pan or on the baking sheet).
  • Using a serrated knife, score top of dough about an inch and a half deep in an “X” shape.
  • Transfer to oven and bake until bread is golden and bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.
  • Remove the pan  from the oven and let the bread sit for 10 minutes before moving it to a rack to cool briefly.
  • Serve the bread warm, at room temperature, or sliced and toasted.

Yields 12-16 slices

 

Rustic Chocolate Chip Tea Bread

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Think of this as a giant chocolate chip studded scone. With its crispy crust and cake like interior this is a quick bread that is just as nice for dessert as it is for a snack. And it is easy; very easy. The recipe comes from the kitchens of the Washington Post and the first time I baked this recipe the bread got eaten so quickly that I now make two (baked on two separate baking sheets). It is that good. The loaf is free formed so you can experiment with its shape–make two or four smaller loaves, make it round or rectangular–whatever you prefer. Just be sure to adjust the baking time if your loaves are smaller.

And because I am a fan of chocolate I prefer to use miniature chocolate chips since I think they give you more chocolate for your buck. You can also switch out the chocolate chips for diced dried fruit or use a combination of chocolate and fruit (sour cherries are particularly good).

RUSTIC CHOCOLATE CHIP TEA BREAD

3 cups flour

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt

1/3 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for sprinkling

10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into teaspoon-size chunks

1 large egg

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon buttermilk, plus 1 to 2 tablespoons, if needed

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set it aside.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and 1/3 cup of the sugar.
  • Drop in the chunks of butter pulse until pea sized dough balls form. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, the 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon of buttermilk and the vanilla extract.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture, sprinkle with the chocolate chips. USe a wooden spoon or paddle to stir, forming a rough, cohesive, slightly sticky dough. If the dough seems a little dry, drizzle it with an extra tablespoon or two of buttermilk.
  • Gather the dough into a rough mass with your hands, then knead lightly until it comes together completely, using firm strokes to gather it all cohesively. Form the dough into a 5 1/2-to-6-inch ball.
  • Place the ball of dough at the center baking sheet. Use a sharp paring knife to score an 1/8-inch-deep cross in the top of the ball of dough, then sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar evenly over the top.
  • Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until the loaf is set, golden on top and baked through. It should sound hollow when you lightly tap the top or bottom with a wooden spoon.
  • Cool, on the baking sheet, on a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  • Slip a metal spatula under the loaf and transfer it to a separate rack to cool completely.
  • Use a serrated knife to cut slices or wedges.

Serves 12

Lemon Burst Buttermilk Cake

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If you love lemons, and lots of them, then this bright and tangy lemon cake from Melissa’s Southern Style Kitchen is just the recipe for you. It is so good that it has become my go-to recipe whenever I have an abundance of lemons on hand.

I love this cake because it is so moist. It also contains buttermilk which has become my preferred dairy product for baking.  And because it contains a generous amount of both lemon juice and lemon zest, you are rewarded with a mouthful of lemon flavor with every bite. And by all means don’t skip the lemony glaze; it is the finishing touch for this already delicious cake.

LEMON BURST BUTTERMILK CAKE

For the cake:

3 cup all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, softened

2 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 large eggs

4 large lemons, juiced and zested

¾ cup buttermilk

For the glaze:

1½ cup powdered sugar

1 Tbsp heavy cream

1 Tbsp lemon zest from lemons

2 Tbsp lemon juice from lemons

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat 2- 8 x 4½ x 5-inch metal loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a medium sized bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.
  • Using a hand mixer and a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
  • Beat until creamy then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Reserve 1½ tablespoons of the lemon zest for the glaze then add the rest to the creamed butter and eggs.
  • Mix together ¼ cup fresh lemon juice with ¾ cup buttermilk.
  • Add to the mixing bowl alternately with the sifted dry ingredients. Beat until fully combined and all of the dry ingredients are fully moistened.
  • Divide the batter between the 2 loaf pans, tapping the pans to release air bubbles.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center shows moist crumbs.
  • Cool in the pan then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  • To make the glaze, mix together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, lemon zest and lemon juice until drizzling consistency. If needed add additional cream 1 tsp at a time to thin.
  • Drizzle the loafs with glaze, slice and serve.

Yields 24 slices

Cinnamon Bun Muffins

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I love cinnamon buns but sometimes there simply isn’t enough time in the morning for the mixing, rising, rolling, sitting and baking that is required of the dough. But not to fear; when the craving strikes but time is of the essence I make these cinnamon bun inspired muffins that are adapted from King Arthur Flour. They are truly the best of both worlds. You get the tender crumb of a buttermilk muffin filled with all of the cinnamon and brown sugar goodness you find in your favorite cinnamon bun. Cinnamon comes in three forms in these muffins. A generous amount of cinnamon chips fill the dough while there is a layer of cinnamon infused brown sugar in the center of each muffin. If that isn’t enough, more cinnamon is sprinkled over the tops before they are baked.

If you love cinnamon these are definitely the muffins for you. They are so delicious that my son has declared them to be “the best muffins ever”.

CINNAMON BUN MUFFINS

For the filling:

3 tablespoons melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon

  • Melt the butter in a small microwave proof dish.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon until combined.
  • Set aside.
For the topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  • Set aside.

For the batter:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

3/4 cup lukewarm buttermilk

2 large eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 cups cinnamon chips

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake papers and set aside.
  •  In a small bowl whisk together the melted butter, buttermilk, and eggs. 
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the chips. 
  • Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined. 
  • Divide half the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
  • Dollop 2 teaspoons cinnamon filling onto each muffin. 
  • Top with the remaining batter. 
  • Sprinkle generously with the cinnamon-sugar topping.
  • Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
  • Remove the muffins from the oven, and wait 5 minutes before transferring them from the pan to a rack to cool. 

Yields: 12 muffins

Carnival Cupcakes

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While I love baking, anything involving decorating with icing really isn’t my forte. A few years ago I got ambitious and baked 250 miniature cupcakes for a friend’s farewell party. This was probably my most creative baking moment as I made hundreds of miniature mocha cupcakes topped with coffee bean icing, devil’s food with fresh coconut frosting, and lemon with mixed berry icing. They were a hit and disappeared long before the cramp in my hands did. But I found the task tedious and after that baking and icing extravaganza, I vowed never to repeat that foolishness again. (In all fairness I should also mention that I only had a couple of days to prepare and execute all of the baking and decorating).

So for the next couple of years I focused on baking and perfecting other sweet treats–cookies, tarts, bars, and breads–these are all right up my alley. And I studiously avoided making another cake or cupcake. But then this past year, at Sidney’s request, I baked and iced cupcakes for his birthday. While they tasted great, their appearance left a lot to be desired. And then last week I received a request from  Sidney’s pre-school asking parents to contribute baked goods for their upcoming Carnival party. Sidney once again requested cupcakes and since this was going to be a kid’s party, I decided to make them fun.

One of the things I love about Sidney’s school is its complete lack of food restrictions. Children are encouraged to eat anything and everything and are welcome to bring in homemade treats to share with their classmates. While my initial inclination was to get creative with my flavors, I eventually decided to keep it simple and kid friendly. Both the cupcake and butter cream recipes are courtesy of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes. The yellow buttermilk cupcakes are tender without being overly sweet. And I must admit, I absolutely love this Swiss meringue butter cream icing recipe. Again, since it has a minimal amount of sugar it isn’t sweet and the loftiness of the meringue makes it a decorators dream–and yes, this is coming from a cake decorating adverse person.

YELLOW BUTTERMILK CUPCAKES w/ SWISS MERINGUE BUTTER CREAM

For the cupcakes:

3 cups cake flour

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 1/2 cups sugar

5 whole eggs, at room temperature

3 egg yolks, at room temperature

2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line standard sized muffin tins with paper liners.
  • Sift together the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium. Add the whole eggs, one at a time, beating until each in incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the egg yolks, and beat until thoroughly combined.
  • Reduce the speed to low and add the flour in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in two additions.
  • Add the vanilla and beat until combined.
  • Divide the batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters of the way full.
  • Bake, in batches if necessary, rotating half way through for 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcakes comes out clean.
  • Transfer to a wire rack and cool in the tins for 10 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely before frosting.

Yields: 36 standard sized cupcakes

Swiss Meringue Butter Cream

5 large egg whites

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Pinch of salt

1 pound unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food coloring, if desired

  • Combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heat proof bowl of a stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water. Whisk constantly by hand until the mixture is warm to the touch and the sugar has dissolved (the mixture will feel completely smooth when rubbed between your fingers).
  • Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Starting on low and gradually increasing to medium-high speed, whisk until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. Continue mixing until the mixture is fluffy and glossy and completely cool, about 10 minutes.
  • With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter, a few tablespoons at a time, mixing well after each addition. Once all of the butter has been added, add the vanilla extract and food coloring, if using.
  • Switch to a paddle attachment and continue beating on a low-speed until all of the air bubbles have been eliminated, about 2 minutes.
  • If using immediately, use a rubber spatula to move to a piping bag and decorate your cupcakes as desired.  Or, transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days of freeze for up to 1 month. Before using, return the frosting to room temperature and beat with the paddle attachment on low-speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.

Yields: 5 cups of frosting

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pound Cake w/ Buttermilk Glaze

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October is pumpkin season. Actually, I’m a fan of pumpkin treats year around but once fall hits, my cooking with pumpkin goes into overdrive. I simply can’t get enough of it. Fresh cooked pumpkin puree is the best but when the season isn’t right or you don’t have the time, canned puree will do. I always have a stash in my pantry since you never know when the inspiration to cook with pumpkin will hit.

My favorite way to use pumpkin is in baked treats and this this delicious cake adapted from Cooking Light magazine has quickly become a new fall favorite in my house. The cake is moist and dense and filled with spicy goodness. And as if that isn’t enough, it is flecked with chocolate chips. As an added bonus, the cake comes together quickly so it the perfect last minute dessert to add to your dinner table.

PUMPKING CHOCOLATE CHIP POUND CAKE w/ BUTTERMILK GLAZE

FOR THE CAKE:
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk
2 cups miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
FOR THE GLAZE:
1/3 cup fat-free buttermilk
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Lightly coat a 10 inch bundt pan with non-stick cooking spray then set aside.
  • Place the granulated sugar, brown sugar and the butter in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 3 minutes or until well blended.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Beat in pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
  • Combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, baking powder, baking soda and the salt in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips making sure that they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Spoon batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  • Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan, and cool completely on wire rack.
  • To prepare glaze, combine the buttermilk, sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil.
  • Cook 1 minute or until thick, stirring constantly; remove from heat.
  • Drizzle cake with glaze.

Serves 12

Strawberry Mint Muffins

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Muffins are the perfect breakfast item.  I will bake up a batch on a Sunday morning to be enjoyed over lazy cups of coffee all morning long.  Leftovers can be reheated and eaten on the go for busy weekday mornings.  Just about anything can be added to a basic muffin recipe.  Fruits, nuts, chocolate; the possibilities are endless.  I like to use buttermilk as the liquid in this recipe since I think it adds a slight tang to the muffin but you could easily substitute plain yogurt or even sour cream.  Depending upon the add-ins, I’ve also used good quality unsweetened flavored yogurt with fantastic results.

This time of year I like to use fresh fruit.  Fresh seasonal fruits are a perfect foil to the sweet, crumbly cake but if fresh fruits aren’t in season, frozen makes an absolutely acceptable substitution.  With fresh strawberries in abundance I had been thinking about baking up a batch of strawberry muffins all week.  When I discovered mint growing in my garden I decided to turn these muffins into the ultimate spring treat.  The mint adds a fresh contrast to the sweet berries and the combination is amazing. Do eat these muffins warm.  If you can’t eat them fresh from the oven reheat them in the microwave for a few seconds. You won’t be disappointed.

STRAWBERRY MINT MUFFINS

3 cups flour plus 1 Tablespoon

1 cup white sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 Teaspoon baking soda

1/2 Teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 1/4 cups buttermilk

1 1/4 cups sliced strawberries

1 heaping Tablespoon fresh minced mint

1 Teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Granulated sugar (if desired)

  • Preheat an oven to 375 degrees.  Generously grease a 12-cup muffin tin.
  • Combine 3 cups of flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the mint and lemon zest.  Set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl whisk the eggs until blended.  Add in the buttermilk and stir to combine.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg-buttermilk mixture.  Gently stir until just combined.
  • Add in the butter and mix until incorporated.
  • In a small bowl toss the strawberries with 1 tablespoon of flour.  Mix into the batter being careful not to crush the berries.
  • Using a large ice cream scoop or spoon divide the muffin batter evenly between twelve muffin cups.
  • Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated sugar if desired.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until browned and a tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tins.

 

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