Irish Soda Bread Muffins

The other day a friend asked for a recipe for gluten-free Irish Soda Bread. That sent me on a quest and I quickly came upon several. I’m not sure if I have ever made soda bread before but it sounded pretty good. On my favorite site, King Arthur Flour, I found a recipe for Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Muffins.

As I got into the recipe I found that not all my planned ingredients were available without a trip to the store. The recipe clearly says that the tenderness of the muffin could be compromised if fat-free yogurt was used. Guess what was in my fridge? If you said non-fat Greek Yogurt you are absolutely right.

Sitting next to the non-fat Greek Yogurt was a container of “full fat” ricotta cheese. The mad scientist in me went to work. I got on the web and did some research. A couple of places suggested mixing in the full fat ricotta in with the yogurt so that is what I did.

Then there was the episode with caraway seeds. The most popular substitute seemed to be cumin seed. Not having those the search continued. I stumbled onto a site that suggested a lower amount of anise seed. Bingo anise seeds were in my spice cabinet.

The recipe called for currants which I did not have. I had purchased a container of raisins then remembered that my daughter didn’t care for raisins. I opted to use craisins. After a couple of other adjustments, I ended up with a nice moist, tender muffin. Does it taste like Irish Soda Bread? I’m not sure. Should you decide to make the recipe, please let me know.

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

3/4 cup craisins or raisins
1 medium orange, zest and juice
2 1/4 cups Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour Blend
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon anise seeds, to taste
2 large eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 cup full fat ricotta cheese
1/4 cup buttermilk
6 tablespoons melted butter or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
coarse sparkling sugar, for topping; optional but good

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

2. Zest and juice the orange into a small microwave safe dish. Add
craisins to the bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Allow to stand
while combing the other ingredients.

3. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants or raisins, and caraway seeds. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, ricotta, buttermilk and melted butter or oil.

4. Stir together the dry and wet ingredients. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, stop stirring; this batter doesn’t need beating.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan; a muffin scoop works well here. The stiff batter will be mounded in the cups. Top with sparkling white sugar, if desired.

5. Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven.

6. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.

7. Yield: 12 muffins.

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