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Mini Irish Soda Breads with Dates & Pecans

Posted Dec 07 2010 3:21pm

It may not be Saint Patrick’s Day but for an Irish girl there’s always a reason to celebrate … with Irish Soda Bread.

I bought buttermilk the other day without a plan. No recipe in mind. And it’s unlike me to buy buttermilk. It’s just not one of my staples. But something was itching me to buy it.

And for some reason, Ireland has been on my mind lately. I think it’s because my sister visited recently. And her visit brought back memories of the last time we vacationed with just us girls, just a few years ago.

It was the first trip to the mother country for three Irish-American sisters.

Needless to say, it was a very special trip for us.

The Quiet Man House

The Ashford Castle


Look –> the Sopranos Pizzeria, in a small village outside of Galway

My beloved sisters

Now, getting back to the buttermilk.

I decided to make Irish Soda Breads mini because I love all things mini, plus they’re convenient. I like to add toasted pecans and chopped dates to my bread but you can use any nut you like and/ or dried fruit, such as raisins.

Some Irish folks believe the reason you need to carve a cross on top before baking the bread is because it wards off evil spirits. Others believe it’s for practical purposes like air circulation and even slicing. You decide. I think it’s a little of both :-)

These guys are so delicious with just a little butter and/or jam and a hot cup of Irish Breakfast tea. Hope you like them.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 oz) butter, unsalted
4 oz. dates, chopped
1 cup pecans, chopped and toasted
1 1/4 cup buttermilk, reduced fat
1 egg

Preheat the oven to 400F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Cut butter into small pieces (about 1/4 inch pieces) and, using finger, blend butter into flour mixture. Add dates and pecans and mix well. In a separate medium bowl, whisk buttermilk and egg. Slowly add wet mixture to flour mixture and mix well. Lightly flour surface and knead dough until it’s fully incorporated and even. Flatten dough and divide into 10 chunks. Divide each of those chunks in half, making 20 chunks. Shape each chunk into a round ball and then flatten. Place breads onto 2 lightly floured baking sheets, 10 per sheet. Carve a cross into the top of each bread. Bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy!

Makes 20 mini breads (or 10 larger-size mini breads).

Nutrition Facts: Calories 178; Fat 8g; Sat Fat 3g; Sodium 198mg; Carb 25g; Fiber 2g; Protein 4g.

What kind of mix-ins do you like in your soda bread?
What do you top it with?

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