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Irish Soda Bread with a twist! Cranberry Orange Hazelnut Soda Bread

Those aren't burnt spots, their sweet dried cranberries. Yumm!

This week I have been terrible with getting my posts up for the dishes I have created. No real excuses, just life. But I will have a really yummy winter meal coming in one of my next posts – creamy polenta with chicken in a mushroom red wine sauce ūüôā

But first things, first. Today is St. Paddy’s day, and in true St. Patrick’s day style, I have a corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots cooking away in my crock pot right now. My hubby is Irish, so today is sort of a big deal to him. Bigger than any other holiday. He has mandated (rather lovingly) that we listen to the Celtic station on Pandora ALL day. So, as I am typing away my foot is tapping to the tune of an Irish jig. [Oh yeah!]

Since I didn’t really do anything special with the corned beef and cabbage, I felt the need to make the homemade Irish soda bread with a twist. But really, the truth is… I just don’t like following recipes. Perhaps it is a need to make my life more difficult than it needs to be, or maybe it is just that cooking and baking is a creative outlet for me. ūüėČ Yep, that’s it.

I’m not as confident in my baking skills as I am in my cooking, probably because baking is more of a science. As such, I typically start a baking adventure by finding an inspiration recipe to go off of and then make it my own if possible. This recipe is inspired by the recipe for Irish Soda Bread by¬†Barefoot Contessa, I just love her.

I can’t resist orange and cranberry flavors balanced with a little¬†nuttiness. Below is my recipe for Cranberry Orange Hazelnut Irish Soda Bread.

Ingredients

Inspired by Barefoot Contessa’s recipe for Irish Soda Bread

  • 4 cups¬†all-purpose flour, plus extra for¬†dried cranberries
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold¬†unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1 3/4 cups cold buttermilk, shaken (or buttermilk substitute)
  • 1 extra-large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon grated¬†orange zest
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk, warmed
  • sprinkle of cornmeal for baking dish (or you can use parchment paper)
  • Aluminum foil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Sprinkle a pie pan with cornmeal .

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is mixed into the flour.

With a fork, lightly beat the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest together in a measuring cup. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture. Combine the dried cranberries with 2 teaspoons of flour and mix into the dough. Add the chopped hazelnuts and mix. The dough will be very sticky.

Dump the dough onto a well-floured board and knead it a few times into a round loaf. Place the loaf on the prepared pie pan and lightly cut an X into the top of the bread with a serrated knife.

Combine the melted butter and warmed buttermilk. Brush the top of the loaf with the melted butter mixture. Continue to brush the mixture on the dough throughout baking process (every 15 minutes or so). Bake for 45 to 55 minutes; keep an eye on the loaf and after it becomes golden brown cover with aluminum foil for rest of baking time. Loaf is done when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

Cool on a baking rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Leave me a comment and let me know how you life it!
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Whiskey Caramel Cinnamon Rolls with Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

whiskey. caramel. carbs. What else do you need?

This dessert… or breakfast… or snack (it’s ok, I won’t judge you even if you eat it for dinner) was inspired first by my love for a good bread pudding. I love me some bread pudding with yummy, warm and gooey whiskey carmel sauce. If it’s on the menu at a restaurant I have probably had it. I’d venture to say that there is few things better in this world. A few weeks ago I also had one fierce craving for cinnamon rolls, but I didn’t dare indulge my craving unless I was going to have a decent cinnamon roll at best (I could have fallen hard for even one of those mall cinnamon rolls.. yep you know the one). On a recent trip to the liquor store with my hubby, I got a mini bottle of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. I had never tried it, but after rave reviews from friends and my hubs, I thought I better try it. But did I drink it? No. I made the best cinnamon rolls with it.

I must confess that I am not much of a baker. I tend to steer towards cooking as it inherently more creative and allows for more trial and error than baking does. But I do love a good challenge and up until this post I had never made my own homemade cinnamon rolls. I relied on a heavy dose of Alton Brown for the dough recipe and altered a whiskey caramel sauce recipe with the Fireball Cinnamon Whisky – so I can’t take complete credit for it, however, I have yet to find this recipe anywhere else. I learned a lot about baking for this post and if it wasn’t for a dear friend who held my hand (through the phone) and held back my tears as the dough nearly didn’t rise, this may not have become a success.

I am now hooked on making homemade cinnamon rolls and have a few new ideas up my sleeve for next time. Enjoy!

You can watch the video here to prepare the dough:¬†Alton Brown’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients

Dough (courtesy of Alton Brown from Food Network):

  • 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 1 large whole egg, room temperature
  • 2 ounces sugar, approximately 1/4 cup
  • 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted, approximately 6 tablespoons
  • 6 ounces buttermilk, room temperature
  • 20 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 cups, plus additional for dusting
  • 1 package instant dry yeast, approximately 2 1/4 teaspoons
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil or cooking spray

Filling:

  • 8 ounces light brown sugar, approximately 1 cup packed
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • 3/4-ounce unsalted butter, melted, approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons

Note: I mixed up this recipe by adding a few dashes of vanilla over the sugar mixture and I chose to add chopped walnuts on half of the dough after I rolled it out (to see if we liked it better with or without nuts). Perhaps next time I make this I will experiment with a lil’ orange zest.

Directions

For the dough: in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. Add approximately 2 cups of the flour along with the yeast and salt; whisk until moistened and combined. Remove the whisk attachment and replace with a dough hook. Add all but 3/4 cup of the remaining flour and knead on low speed for 5 minutes. Check the consistency of the dough, add more flour if necessary; the dough should feel soft and moist but not sticky. Knead on low speed 5 minutes more or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface; knead by hand about 30 seconds. Lightly oil a large bowl. Transfer the dough to the bowl, lightly oil the top of the dough, cover and let double in volume, 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

Combine the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix until well incorporated. Set aside until ready to use.

Butter a 9 by 13-inch glass baking dish. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently shape the dough into a rectangle with the long side nearest you. Roll into an 18 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush the dough with the 3/4-ounce of melted butter, leaving 1/2-inch border along the top edge. Sprinkle the filling mixture over the dough, leaving a 3/4-inch border along the top edge; gently press the filling into the dough. Beginning with the long edge nearest you, roll the dough into a tight cylinder. Firmly pinch the seam to seal and roll the cylinder seam side down. Very gently squeeze the cylinder to create even thickness. Using a serrated knife, slice the cylinder into 1 1/2-inch rolls; yielding 12 rolls. Arrange rolls cut side down in the baking dish; cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight or up to 16 hours.

Remove the rolls from the refrigerator and place in an oven that is turned off. Fill a shallow pan 2/3-full of boiling water and set on the rack below the rolls. Close the oven door and let the rolls rise until they look slightly puffy; approximately 30 minutes. Remove the rolls and the shallow pan of water from the oven.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

When the oven is ready, place the rolls on the middle rack and bake until golden brown, or until the internal temperature reaches 190 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer, approximately 30 minutes.

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky Caramel Sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup of¬†butter¬†(1/2 stick)
  • 1 cup packed¬†brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp¬†ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup¬†Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
  • 6 Tbsp¬†heavy cream

Combine the first four ingredients in a sauce pan and boil for 2 minutes.
Turn off the heat, stir in the cream.
Drizzle Drench rolls in this delicious sauce and enjoy.

Note: This sauce will make enough for about 6 of the rolls. It is so good you will want to double the sauce recipe above so you have enough for all of the rolls. Since there is just 2 of us in our house and the sauce is made so quickly, I chose to make the sauce two different times (the first night we had it for dessert and the next night we finished them up).

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