Melissa’s Menu: Soda bread scones with Irish whiskey butter

A fully realized Soda Bread (chowhound.com)

St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, and what better way to celebrate than with some Irish-inspired food? Whether you’re Irish or not, you’ve probably heard of Irish soda bread. The “soda” is not the carbonated beverage you’re probably thinking of—it’s actually baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, which is used to leaven the bread instead of yeast. Classic soda bread only contains a few ingredients, but this week’s recipe takes it to the next level: soda bread scones. The scones are airy and light just like traditional soda bread but incorporate some extra flavors such as raisins, whiskey and caraway seeds. They pair deliciously with the simple homemade whiskey butter and will leave you craving more. 

Ingredients (for 8 scones) 
⅓ cup of Irish whiskey 
½ cup of golden raisins 
2 cups of all-purpose flour 
¾ cup of whole wheat flour 
3 tablespoons of granulated sugar 
1 ½ teaspoons of baking powder 
½ teaspoon of baking soda 
1 ¼ teaspoons of fine sea salt 
8 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 
¾ cup of buttermilk, plus more for brushing 
2 teaspoons of caraway seeds, divided 
flaky sea salt for sprinkling 
For whiskey butter: 
4 tablespoons of room temperature unsalted butter 
1 tablespoon of Irish whiskey, leftover from soaking raisins 
1 teaspoon of flaky sea salt 

Directions 

In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the whiskey to a simmer. Turn off the heat, add the raisins and set aside for at least 15 minutes to allow the raisins to plump. Drain and reserve the raisins and whiskey separately. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and fine sea salt. Add the butter and use your hands to pinch together the butter and flour mixture until coarse crumbs form. Add the buttermilk to the mixture and mix just until a dough begins to form. Add the whiskey-soaked raisins and one and a half teaspoons of caraway seeds. Mix until combined. Shape the dough into a roughly 7-inch  round ball. Use a pastry brush to brush the top of the dough with buttermilk. Sprinkle with the remaining half teaspoon of caraway seeds and flaky salt. Cut the dough into eight triangles and transfer to the parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing the scones about two inches apart. Bake until golden, for about 20 to 25 minutes. While the scones bake, make the whiskey butter: In a medium bowl, add the reserved whiskey to the butter, a little at a time, mixing after each addition until fully combined. Stir in the salt. Serve the scones warm or at room temperature with the whiskey butter alongside. 


Melissa Scrivani is the associate life editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at melissa.scrivani@uconn.edu.