Irish Soda Bread Muffins

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I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. Instead of dwelling on the potential downsides of turning the Big 3-0, I made a conscious decision to do the opposite. Instead, I decided to embrace where I am in my life and reflect on how much I’ve grown personally, spiritually, and professionally. Now that I’m plunging into my thirties, I even did some self reflecting on the upcoming years and some of my dreams and aspirations. Who says it’s not too late to run that half marathon?

While there were several things that I was expecting on my birthday, one thing that I didn’t see coming was the wonderful surprise party that Matt threw for me. It was a surprise that unfolded in stages leaving me guessing at every turn. What made the celebration even more special was getting to spend time with my parents and several friends from out of town. I’d been missing my family and close friends in Ann Arbor, so it was invigorating to have an entire weekend with loved ones.

Aside from celebrating my dirty thirty, there’s also been some baking going on in the Sweet Precision kitchen.

Saint Patrick’s Day is a holiday brimming over with myths and traditions that date back centuries. Perhaps the best part of the holiday is the food and beverages that also get consumed. March 17th wouldn’t be complete without a few classic items such as green beer, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, and my absolute favorite— Irish soda bread.

Irish soda bread is a sweet white bread made with eggs and butter, which is studded with raisins and sometimes caraway seeds. The “soda” in the name comes from the baking soda used to leaven the bread instead of yeast and kneading. These muffins are a fun and healthier twist on the traditional bread. Half of the flour is whole wheat and the butter in the recipe is reduced to three tablespoons which means that each muffin comes in at approximately 145 calories.

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Whole Wheat Irish Soda Bread Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp chilled butter
1 cup 1% buttermilk
3 tbsp honey or agave
1 large egg, beaten
2/3 cup raisins

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray muffin tin with baking spray.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Using a pastry cutter or two knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, honey (or agave) and egg until blended. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Stir in raisins.

Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.

Remove tin and cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes before removing muffins from tin; finish cooling on rack. Serve warm or cool completely and store muffins in an airtight container or ziplock bags at room temperature.

Heather’s Helpful Hints
None of us want to deal with a mountain of dishes once we’ve made muffins. But don’t let that inspire you to use an already dirty spoon to divvy up the batter. Use a cookie scoop — even though it’s one more thing to clean — to equally measure the batter into your muffin tins. This will ensure evenly cooked muffins.

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19 thoughts on “Irish Soda Bread Muffins

  1. Hello Heather and firstly I would like to wish you , belatedly, a very happy birthday and I am pleased to hear you got to catch up with family and friends at the celebration Matt organized.

    I have never heard of Irish soda bread muffins so I think I am going to have give your recipe a try.

    Happy St Patrick’s Day! :)

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  2. Happy Birthday Heather! What a wonderful surprise your lovely husband organised for you. Nothing like spending time with family and friends, especially when you’ve been missing then, and I know so much how that feels ;-)
    I love Irish soda bread but never had a recipe for this before so thank you! These muffins look divine.
    I hope you had a very Happy St Patrick’s Day :-)
    PS Never fear, your 30’s are a great time, trust me on that :-)

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  3. Happy Birthday Heather, sounds like a great weekend. Don’t worry…the thirties are great! I still feel like I’m 25 even if my birthdate tells me otherwise. :) It’s been so long since I’ve had Irish soda bread, your version looks delicious!

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    • It’s funny because I was expecting to feel different, maybe older… but I don’t! I’ll just consider my thirties an extension of my twenties :) Yes, Irish soda bread is such a treat, my mom usually buys it every Saint Patrick’s Day!

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  4. Happy (belated) birthday, Heather! I wish I was invited to your party! I’m sure it was a blast. Enjoy your thirties. Especially the first five years are fantastic and so full of opportunities. Your muffins looks so tempting. I would love to have one with my coffee right now!

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  5. My kind of muffin! Guess what I’m making for breakfast this weekend? (Thanks for the idea!)

    So glad you got to celebrate your birthday with family. And it’s refreshing to hear that you’re celebrating the benefits of aging, instead of bemoaning the negatives. Wait a minute–which negatives are we talking about? I can’t seem to think of any (and I’m way older than you are–and still celebrating the benefits of getting older, which keep accumulating).

    And it’s definitely not too late for the half-marathon, if that’s your goal. I have a friend who learned to swim in her 30’s, and then entered a triathlon in Duluth!

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  6. I’ve always been a terrible swimmer and a coworker recently offered to teach me some of the basics as she is training for a triathlon. I guess it’s never to late to learn a new skill! :) I hope you enjoy the muffins, we devoured them in just a few days!

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  7. Much belated best wishes for your birthday, dear Heather: let me just say that I wish I had the “problem” of turning thirty… once again! ;-) In my view, the thirties is a great decade in human life, one of wonderful empowerment: you are no longer a kid and you do not have any of the problems that may come in later decades :-) Enjoy every day of your thirties! :-)
    Oh, and course great muffins!

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  8. I agree with Stefano. The thirties were one of my favorite decades. I found them liberating finding some of the things I let clutter earlier years no longer mattered. Each season of life has so much to offer and experience both uplifting and challanging….what a blessed adventure! Oh, by the way, I will be making these muffins this weekend adding a bit of caraway to the batter. I can hardly wait.

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    • What a wonderful perspective to put on each season of our life. You have such excellent insights and I love your way with words. I must say that I am rather looking forward to my thirties and now consider myself a little more of an adult :) I look forward to hearing about these muffins, they are quite a treat!

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