Orange-Raisin Irish Soda Bread

With St. Patrick’s day being this past week, I figured I should be a little festive. As a result, I made some Irish soda bread. However, instead of just adding raisins, I used some orange zest too to give it a springtime kick. This whole wheat, low sugar, egg free bread is best enjoyed with a hot cup of tea and some fresh orange slices. Enjoy!

0319171228aPreheat the oven to 375°F and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. I prefer using the mats because they are reusable and result in less waste.

Heat three tablespoons of water in a teapot and whisk with one tablespoon of flax seed in a small bowl to make an “egg”. If you don’t have an egg allergy or flax seed, one normal egg will work just fine.0319171235a

Then, wash an orange and grate the peel until you have about one tablespoon of zest. Set aside.

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In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. After that, cut in three tablespoons of cold butter. Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix it with your hands. I find that to be the best way to work with cold butter.:)

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Fold in a heaping 1/3 cup of raisins and set the bowl aside.

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In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine the buttermilk, skim milk, and “egg”.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until everything is well combined. Turn out the mixture onto a well floured surface and knead until you have a nice dough to work with. Form it into a small, round loaf.

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Transfer the dough onto the prepared baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut an X in the center of the loaf, being sure to cut all the way to the edges.

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Bake at 375°F for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Enjoy with the leftover orange and hot cup of tea!

Ingredients:

3 Tbs. hot water

1 Tbs. ground flax seed

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus some extra for kneading).

1 Tbs. sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 Tbs. orange zest

3 Tbs. cold butter

1/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup skim milk

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  3. Heat the water in a teapot and whisk with the flax seed in a small bowl. This will make an “egg”.
  4. Zest the orange and set aside.
  5. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest.
  6. Cut in the butter and combine it with the other ingredients by hand.
  7. Fold in the raisins.
  8. In a medium bowl, combine the buttermilk, skim milk, and “egg”. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients.
  9. Turn out the mixture onto a well floured surface. Knead until it forms a nice dough.
  10. Shape the dough into a round loaf and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
  11. With a sharp knife, cut an X in the center of the loaf, being sure to cut all the way to the edges.
  12. Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Tip: Try substituting the raisins for blueberries. Just be sure to toss them lightly in flour first so that they do not discolor the bread.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Just because fall is over and I find myself in the midst of another classic Wisconsin winter is no excuse to take a break from my signature Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. Like many of my favorite baked goods, I’ve adapted a recipe from Bunner’s, a fabulous vegan and gluten-free bakery in downtown Toronto. I love their recipes because they are all egg and nut free. However, being that I’m far from vegan and not gluten-free, I’ve taken it upon myself to make some substitutions and personalize the recipe. While it may sound like this recipe is another unclean pastry, it is actually whole wheat, cholesterol free, and essentially fat free (aside from the chocolate).

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Start by preheating the oven to 425°F and line a muffin pan with 10-12 muffin liners, depending on how big you want to make the muffins.

Add the whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a large bowl. Mix until all the ingredients are combined. Feel free to experiment with the amounts of cinnamon and ginger based on your personal preference. If ginger is too strong in general, a good a substitute is Penzey’s Pumpkin Pie Spice.

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In a smaller bowl, add the pumpkin, milk, yogurt, and molasses. Mix until combined. If it’s January and your molasses is too cold to pour (or you just need a substitute), pure maple syrup is a milder, delicious option.

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Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Lightly mix everything, being sure not to over mix! A few clumps of flour here and there is totally fine. Then fold in the chocolate chips.

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Spoon it into the muffin cups. In order to get bigger, puffier muffins, fill the cups to the top. If you prefer smaller muffins and more of them, only fill the tins 2/3 full.

When the oven is preheated, place them in the middle of the top rack. Bake for about six minutes. When you see them rising, decrease the temperature to 400°F and bake for another 8-10 minutes.

If you use silicone muffin liners, you may need to bake them longer. When a toothpick comes out clean (with the exception of chocolate), they are done. Let them cool for about 15 minutes before turning them out onto a cooling rack.

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Enjoy with your favourite tea, hot chocolate, or apple cider!

Ingredients:

1 3/4 cups Bob’s Red Mill whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tbsp. Penzeys Cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground Penzeys Ginger or 1 tbsp. Penzeys Pumpkin Pie Spice

1/4 tsp. Penzeys nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup pumpkin purée

1/2 cup skim milk

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

2 tbsp. blackstrap molasses or pure maple syrup

1 cup dark chocolate chips

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425° and line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners.
  2. Mix all the dry ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a large bowl.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all of the wet ingredients.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  6. Evenly distribute the batter between the muffin cups. If you want bigger muffins, distribute the batter between 10 cups rather than 12.
  7. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 425°.
  8. When the muffins start rising, turn the oven down to 400° and bake for another 8-10 minutes.
  9. Test them with a toothpick to see when they are done.
  10. Let them cool for about 15 minutes before placing them on a cooling rack.