Irish Soda Bread with a Twist – Perfect for St. Paddy’s Day!

Irish Soda BreadThere’s nothing that adds to a traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage meal than Irish Soda Bread!  The cross that is slashed into the dough before baking was made to ward off devils and protect the house. During the mid 1800s, the Irish were making so much soda bread that baking soda almost doubled in price!
*Preheat Oven to 400 degrees
3 cups biscuit mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup raisins
1 tablespoon currants
3/4 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 cup buttermilk  *See below for an easy way to make your own buttermilk
1 tablespoon brandy
Directions: Combine biscuit mix with sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Blend, then add raisins, currants and caraway seeds. Mix until the raisins, currants and caraway seeds are coated with the biscuit mix. Stir in buttermilk to make a soft dough. Toss onto a lightly floured board, shape and pat into a well-greased and lightly floured deep round baking pan. The dough will be slightly sticky. Cut a gash on top of bread with a sharp knife. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue to bake until golden brown. Cool a few minutes, then brush top of warn loaf with brandy or Irish whiskey (give it two coats). Return to oven for 5 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Dust lightly with a little flour. When cool, slice thinly and serve with fresh sweet butter. This bread is best the day it’s baked and can also be served slightly warm.
Make your own buttermilk: 2 tablespoons white vinegar or fresh lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Fill with whole milk or 2% and let stand 5-10 minutes before using.