In my family, there are people who remember in detail the dreams they had days, weeks or years ago. I don't mean hopes-and-dreams; I mean I-just-woke-up-where's-my-coffee dreams. I'm not one of those people, so when I tell you that the idea for these Irish soda bread muffins came to me in a dream, and I remembered and then actually made them, you'll understand why in every sense of the word, these muffins are a minor miracle. I know that Irish soda bread purists will cringe at the notion of golden raisins, but they add just the right amount of sweet. Though it's good to let the muffins cool for a few minutes so you don't burn your fingers, my husband Ted and I couldn't wait, and we slathered on some butter as soon as the muffins came out of the oven. It was the right thing to do.
Irish soda bread muffins
Makes 12 muffins.
Baking spray (PAM with flour, or Baker's Joy)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp light brown sugar, mixed with 1-1/2 tsp water
1/2 cup golden raisins
1-1/8 cups buttermilk
Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat to 325°F. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with baking spray, and set aside.
Place flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and raisins in a large bowl and mix well. Add the buttermilk and stir until you have a wet and shaggy dough.
With your hand, knead the dough in the bowl a few times, then empty onto a lightly-floured countertop and knead a bit longer, until the dough comes together in a semi-firm ball. The surface will not be smooth, but that's okay.
Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each into a ball, and place each ball of dough in one of the muffin cups. Make a small slice in the top of each muffin, and let the dough sit on the countertop for 10 minutes.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly browned on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 3-4 minutes, then serve warm with butter and jam.
More not-too-sweet muffins for breakfast, brunch, or soup dinners:
Cinnamon buttermilk breakfast muffins
Pumpkin pecan mini muffins
White corn and green chile cheese muffins
Squash walnut wheat muffins
Apple crisp muffins, from Iowa Girl Eats
Peach cobbler muffins, from Barbara Bakes
Zucchini muffins, from Simply Recipes
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