Sunday, December 30, 2012

Holyoke Holiday Irish Soda Bread


2013 is only a day away and already the calender is crowding up with things to do, places to be, and people to see. 

January will see me hooting and hollering as we celebrate the second term inauguration of President Barack Obama. 

February will be a frenzy of activity between Groundhog Day, Chinese New Year and Valentine's Day prior to the winter doldrums setting in and I get serious about using that time to plan this year's work projects.  

Before you know it, March and St. Patrick's Day will be here. And anyone who lives in western Massachusetts knows what that means...the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day parade!

Here's a challenge for my friends of irish ancestry: If you can manage to convince me there's better St. Patrick's Day parade than the Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade, I will bake and overnight my version of Irish soda bread to your door in plenty of time to accompany your traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner. 

Or better yet, come to Massachusetts to attend the parade and I will set a place at our table for you!

CRANBERRY IRISH SODA BREAD
4 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter flavored shortening (or margarine)
1 cup eggnog 
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
1 egg
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 365 degrees F. Line large baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly spray parchment with butter flavor cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and shortening. Stir in dried cranberries. Mix in eggnog, vinegar and egg to make a soft, moist dough. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured board. Divide dough into two equal rounds and knead lightly (five or six times each). Place rounds on prepared baking sheet leaving adequate expansion space between each round. In a small bowl, combine melted butter with the milk; brush loaf with this mixture. Use a sharp knife to cut an 'X' into the top of the loaf.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.