Despite being predominantly Irish (37.5%), I never had Irish Soda Bread before. So when my friend brought over a homemade loaf, I ate most of it. The crusty outside, the dense inside, the sweet raisins…it was scrumptious. The first thing I wondered was how peanut butter would taste on it, and (of course) it was delicious. The second thing I wondered was how peanut butter would taste baked into it. After some recipe sleuthing and combining, I devised my own recipe to infuse peanut butter into this staple food of my ancestors. I don’t consider myself a baker, but this came out perfect the first time. St. Patrick’s Day is around the corner, so you should probably start practicing now….
3 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup raisins
2 cups buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 425°. Whisk together the first 5 ingredients. Work the peanut butter into the flour mixture with your hands, two knives or a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse meal. Mix in the raisins.
2. Add the buttermilk and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands for about 2 minutes. Don’t over-mix or it will become too stiff. Let the dough sit for a few minutes for the buttermilk to soak into the oats. Grease a baking sheet and place the dough on the baking sheet. Use your hands or a spoon to shape the dough into a round loaf that is about 3-4 inches tall in the center. Use a serrated knife to make a cross on top of the bread.
3. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack or prop the loaf on it’s side so the top and bottom of the loaf are both exposed to the air (so it doesn’t get moist).
4. Serve while still warm or re-toasted. My favorite eating methods are with crunchy peanut butter or with butter and jelly – I use Smart Balance Light and any orange-colored preserves (orange, apricot, peach, etc…).