You know, I feel a little guilty about this (shock – I’m a mom who feels guilty), but quite possibly my favorite part of the day is naptime.
I feel guilty because, you know, my favorite times should be while I’m basking in the glow of a toddler hug, or oohing and mmm-ing over a wedge of plastic pizza, or reading Rainbow Fish and answering important compound questions like “What’s fishy doing?! What’s shark doing?? What’s the water doing?!”
Those moments definitely are wonderful. But naptime … ahhhh. What a glorious, glorious time of day it is.
In lieu of soap operas and bonbons (like any stay-at-home-mom actually does this – when do we ever let ourselves sit still?!), I’ve discovered an even better naptime pleasure. In our new house, I’ve found the perfect spot at the far end of the kitchen island, where I can park myself in view of trashy TV on Hulu Plus.
I can chop onions for dinner’s recipe while watching The Bachelor (oh, that Juan Pablo). Or, say, I can watch the latest Nashville (Deacon’s new girlfriend and Teddy?!! NOO!!!) while sifting and stirring and kneading a loaf of Cranberry Orange Irish Soda Bread.
Mix. Knead. Rewind (“did they REALLY just do that?!”). Form into a loaf. Pat. Slice. Smile.
During a particularly long nap this past week, I did just that. I may have also watched the latest Nashville twice in a row while doing it. What?! When you’re multi-tasking, you miss stuff!
This Irish soda bread is pretty far from a traditional recipe, but that doesn’t make it any less delicious. This recipe results in a dense, buttery-golden-crisp loaf flavored subtly with orange and studded with dried cranberries. And there is no, I mean NO, better toast to be had.
Especially when enjoyed at naptime.
Cranberry Orange Irish Soda Bread
- 4 cups + 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (divided)
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into squares
- 1 3/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest (from 1 medium orange)
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or a piece of parchment paper, or coat with non-stick spray.
- In a large bowl, mix together the four cups flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- Add the butter and with a pastry blender or your fingers, squeeze and mix the butter in with the flour mixture until the butter is about the size of peas.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and orange zest.
- Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon just until the dough starts to come together. Add the dried cranberries and stir just until incorporated. The dough will be wet and sticky.
- Spread some of the remaining flour onto a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. Sprinkle a bit more flour over the bread and begin kneading, adding more flour as you go, until the bread is no longer sticky and you're able to knead it easily.
- Form dough into a round loaf and place on the baking sheet. With a sharp knife, cut an "X" into the top.
- Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, or until golden brown and the bread sounds a little hollow when you knock on it. You can also try using a cake tester just to be sure - when it comes out clean, it's done.
- Let cool for at least 10 minutes, then slice, butter, and serve. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap; keeps at room temperature for up to 3 days.