I know it was a good weekend because the basement is organized, the kitchen is clean, we ate three meals with friends, and Sally went off to school this morning with a homemade soda scone in her belly.
It is the best, I think, when you rediscover an old favorite recipe. I have no idea how Darina Allen's Brown Soda Bread got lost, but I'm very glad to have found it again. It is the kind of thing you can make on a weekend when you also need to caulk the tub and rehang the closet door and take everything out of the kitchen cupboards and wipe off the molasses rings and still have time to make waffles, go to a potluck, and spend Sunday afternoon with friends and cousins. In other words, it is the kind of bread we very much need.
So without further ado, I'll let you two meet. I've changed the recipe a tad—Darina uses a bit of all-purpose flour, which I don't find necessary—and she also bakes hers in a loaf pan, while I like to drop mine into a tin as little scone-muffins. They're best hot, they're good with butter, and they're even better with homemade blueberry jam. I think that's all you need to know.
BROWN SODA SCONES FROM DARINA ALLEN
Darina Allen has a whole chapter on soda bread in her book Forgotten Skills of Cooking. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: this is a fantastic book; you want to own it!) She has a white version and this brown version—"Mummy's," which I love because it makes a good healthy treat at breakfast or with soup. They will last a few days, but it's best to eat the majority fresh out of the oven.
4 cups wholewheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon melted butter or oil
1 teaspoon honey, molasses, or maple syrup
1 and 2/3 cups buttermilk or sour milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a standard muffin tin. Whisk together all the dry ingredients in one bowl, then combine the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones and gently fold together. If necessary, add more buttermilk—you want the dough to be wet and "slightly sloppy." Divide the dough evenly between the muffin spots and bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden and just cooked through. Try not to overcook; the scones will get very dry.