Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Leprechauns are Marching...

OK, so I'm a little late for a proper St. Patrick's Day post, but there are lots of St. Paddy's parades today, so I figured I could still post this recipe.

Growing up, as the daughter of a kindergarten teacher, every holiday was a big deal. We celebrated every holiday - major or minor - and Mom made a big deal of decorating and making special foods in honor of the current holiday. I remember coming down for breakfast before school on Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day, and Mom would have the table set with all kinds of decorations and a themed breakfast. It really was fun and now, as a grown-up, not even having kids of my own, I wonder how she found the time and energy to do it!

For St. Patrick's Day, mom would make this amazing Irish Scawn Bread, with raisins and this crisp sugary topping... Although it's so delicious (especially toasted and drenched in butter), it's actually quite low fat. So - I thought it appropriate to include it in healthy.tasty.easy!

This bread is so delicious it's easy to keep slicing a I decided to make muffins this year instead of a loaf, an attempt at portion control. The recipe makes 24 muffins (or two loaves) so it's up to you how to make them! Although this is an "Irish" recipe it tastes just as good in October as it does in March... you could mix it up a bit by using dried cranberries instead of the raisins. In this version I substituted half of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour to add a bit of fiber.

Mom's Irish Scawn
  • 4 cups flour (2 cups all-purpose plus 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 1/2 cup raisins (mini raisins work best)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 - 1 1/2 cups fat free buttermilk
  • 1 T. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. granulated or sanding sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the raisins and mix well.
  3. In a liquid measuring cup, lightly beat the eggs. Add enough buttermilk to bring the total contents up to the 1 cup mark. Add vanilla, then pour into the flour mixture.
  4. Here's the warning about the mixing part... it's not easy. The dough is going to be a bit intense - mix the batter, and add buttermilk gradually so that the mixture is moist but not too moist. Once you've incorporated all of the dry ingredients, you're done. Turn the batter into 2 9x5 loaf pans, or 2 12-muffin muffin tins.
  5. Place into the oven. For the loaves, you'll cook a total of 40-45 minutes, while the muffins will need 25-30 minutes.
  6. Glaze: 5 minutes before the end of baking time, add enough water to the 1/2 cup granulated or sanding sugar to make a relatively thin glaze. Spoon it over the top of the loaves or muffins (about 1 t. per muffin) and put the pans back in the oven to finish baking. Don't worry of the "glaze" seems a bit watery; it'll all bake off.
  7. The scawn is done when a toothpick (or piece of uncooked spaghetti) is inserted and comes out clean. Take the scawn out of the oven and cool. Enjoy!
Nutrition information: Per muffin or slice (assuming 24 slices): 137 cals, 29 g carbs, 2 g fiber, 1 g fat, 3 g protein

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