Triple Whiskied Soda Bread
Quickbreads are, quite possibly, the perfect food. They can be breakfast or dessert. You can slice it up and make a sandwich. They require very little fuss and are simple to make. They stay fresh for a few days and freeze beautifully. And you can fill them with all of your favorite things. In my case, this means whiskey.
Since St. Patrick's day was coming up, I thought that maybe I could make some kind of soda bread with a twist. And this bread is technically a soda bread, though it more closely resembles a typical quickbread, which is leavened with baking powder, not baking soda. And I wanted to make something that I could slather with whisked butter, and the thing that I think goes best with whiskey is more whiskey. So here you have it: Triple Whiskied Soda Bread.
Note: I chose to use Concannon Irish whiskey. It's an easygoing whiskey, not particularly smokey, with a light sweetness. You can use whatever whiskey you choose, though I'd stick to something Irish for this recipe. Suggested substitutions follow the recipe and include instructions to make a vegan version.
1 cup coarsely ground pecans
1/2 cup Irish whiskey
Soak the pecans in the whiskey in a tightly closed container as little as an hour, or as long as overnight.
1/4 cup butter
1 tbsp Irish whiskey
Cut the butter into small pieces, and using a fork, blend with the whiskey until all liquid is absorbed. Place into a small ramekin or form into a stick, wrap tightly with plastic, and chill for 1 hour, or until it becomes solid.
Whiskied Soda Bread:
1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup Irish whiskey
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 tbsp flax meal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp allspice
Mix these ingredients together until smooth and well blended. You can use an electric mixer, but this bread mixes up by hand nicely. Add in the following ingredients, in this order:
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
When ingredients are mixed, the batter should be sticky. By hand, slowly stir in the whiskied pecans, including any remaining liquid.
Pour batter into a greased, floured loaf pan and sprinkle the top with granulated sugar.
Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50-65 minutes. You'll know your bread is ready when a toothpick or butter knife inserted into the loaf comes up clean, and not all gooey. Remove from oven, and let the great sit in the loaf pan for about 10 minutes, then shake it out of the pan and allow to cool on a rack. Or slice it up immediately and eat it, piping hot, slathered with whisked butter.
Flax: you can use three eggs to replace the 3 tbsp of flax meal. In this case, you should use only 1/3 cup of milk instead of the 2/3 cup specified.
Milk: you can use buttermilk instead of milk. This will make your bread more closely resemble a true soda bread - crumbly, slightly less dense, slightly less sweet. You can also substitute plain, unsweetened soy or almond milk.
Butter: if you choose margarine, choose a stick form rather than a "spreadable" margarine from a tub. Your whiskied margarine will separate as it softens, so make sure to serve it cold.