Gluten-Free Irish Soda Bread Muffins




photo courtesy of king arthur flour

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with the taste of Irish soda bread in the form of a muffin that's easy to dispense. Bring them to the office, stick them in the freezer or offer them to your favorite bartender. In this recipe, sour cream or yogurt is added instead of the traditional sour milk or buttermilk — this is the agent that helps the baking soda give rise to the soft flour. Irish soda bread was not actually invented in Ireland. The recipe and the baking soda came from America, but it was quickly adopted across the ocean because yeast and hard wheat were more expensive. Don't want the gluten-free version? A similar recipe using wheat flour can be found online at kingarthurflour.com.

Makes 12 muffins

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
2 teaspoons baking bowder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups currants (first choice) or raisins
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste
2 large eggs
1 cup yogurt or sour cream*
6 tablespoons melted butter or 1/3 cup vegetable oil
Coarse sparkling sugar, for topping; optional but good
*For best results, use full-fat yogurt or sour cream. Non-fat will yield an unpleasantly tough muffin; lower-fat will make an acceptable but less-tender muffin.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan, or line with papers that have been greased.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants or raisins, and caraway seeds.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt or sour cream, and melted butter or oil.

Stir together the wet and dry ingredients. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, stop stirring; this batter doesn't need beating.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan; a muffin scoop works well here. The stiff batter will be mounded in the cups. Top with sparkling white sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don't get soggy. Wait five minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool. Serve them plain, or with butter and/or jam.

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