St. Patrick’s Day sorta-Irish Soda Bread

St. Patrick’s Day sorta-Irish Soda Bread

Top ‘o the morning to you!  It’s St. Patrick’s Day.  I’ve been wearing green since yesterday because if I don’t wake up wearing green then I get pinched first thing in the morning.  That is NOT the way to start your day.  Trust me, I speak from experience.

Today I’m bringing you a recipe for Irish Soda Bread.  You’ll notice that I called it sorta-Irish Soda Bread.  That’s because the bread that we’ve come to think of as “traditional” is not Irish at all.  There is an actual Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread and they go into all the details.  Suffice it to say that in Ireland they would scoff at what we call Irish.  Actual soda bread is very simple and consists of four ingredients: flour, salt, buttermilk and of course baking soda.  We Americans, being who we are, can’t help ourselves and have Americanized traditional soda bread by adding butter, eggs, dried fruit, carraway seeds and sometimes even nuts.  My recipe is much more Americanized because I didn’t want just a plain bread.  So sue me, I like flavor!  My recipe is adapted from Brother Rick Curry’s book The Secrets of Jesuit Breadmaking.


Start with some buttermilk.


Add one egg to the buttermilk.


Give it a good whisking until it’s combined and a lovely yellow color.


Combine all your dry ingredients in a bowl.


Whisk to combine (I really like whisking things).


Dot your butter around in the flour.


Give it a good toss and cut it in using your pastry blender or fingers.


Add the caraway seeds.


Stir them in.  Notice how I said stir this time instead of whisk?


Now it’s time to add the buttermilk-egg mixture.  I started off adding only part of it and stirring but it was too dry.  I intended to use only what I needed to make the dough come together and I would get rid of the rest but I got impatient and dumped it all in.


I should have been more patient.  My dough was WAY to sticky!!!  No worries though! I was able to salvage it!


GENEROUSLY flour your work surface.  Turn the dough out onto the surface and generously flour that too.


I kneaded the dough until a lot of the flour had been worked in and I had a nice firm-ish dough.  Be careful not to knead too much though or you’ll end up with tough bread.


Cut an X in the top.


You can put yours in a pie plate or cake pan.  I chose to use my baking stone!  The dough was still pretty soft but in the end it didn’t matter!


Add a little butter for flavor and moisture.


Ain’t it pretty? 🙂


You can see the caraway seeds throughout.  They gave the bread such a nice flavor but it wasn’t too overpowering.  Serve it up with lots of butter!

Sorta-Irish Soda Bread

2 1/2 cups flour

1/4 c + 2 T sugar

1/2 t baking soda

1 t baking powder

3/4 t salt

1 1/4 cup buttermilk

1 egg

1/2 stick butter, cold, cut into small pieces (I always use unsalted butter)

1 1/2 T caraway seeds


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk your butter milk and egg together in measuring cup or bowl.  Set aside.  In large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients.  Dot the butter around on top of the dry ingredients and give it a good toss to coat it.  Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles large crumbs.  Add your wet ingredients and stir until it is well combined and a stick dough is formed.  Flour your work surface and turn out the dough onto the surface and flour the dough generously.  Knead the dough until the flour is incorporated and the dough is more firm.  Be very careful not to over-knead the dough or your bread will come out tough when it should be very tender.  Shape dough into a flat ball and cut and ‘x’ in the top.  Transfer to preferred baking pan (pie or cake pan, baking stone)  Bake bread for 45 minutes.  Check for doneness by inserting toothpick in middle.  Toothpick should come out clean.  Generously butter the top of the bread while still warm.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Notes: This dough is a very wet dough.  Brother Rick bakes his a loaf pan so the wetness doesn’t matter.  If you choose to go this route, bake for an hour.  I wanted a more traditional style loaf so I chose to bake mine on a stone.  Next time, I would reduce the buttermilk by a 1/4 cup so it wouldn’t be as sticky and wouldn’t need kneading.


Happy St. Patrick’s Day Everyone!  Don’t forget to wear green.

Until next time, happy baking!




Happy (belated) Pi Day!

Happy (belated) Pi Day!

No, that was not a misspelling.  Yesterday was 3-14, otherwise known as Pi Day!  I’ve been ready to post this recipe ALL week long and yesterday I got so busy that I forgot. Bad blogger!  So here I am, on a Sunday afternoon, ready to share my Pecan Pie with you.  That’s right, I said Pecan Pie.  I was all ready to bring you something delicious and reminiscent of spring but Matt requested a Pecan Pie and he so seldom requests something sweet that I just had to comply with his wishes.

The recipe I used is from no other than The Pioneer Woman.  It’s from The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays and yes, I had to turn to the Thanksgiving section. I made a few slight changes to ingredients and the order that things are added but otherwise, the recipe is straight from her brain!

Here’s what I did:


I started with some Lyle’s Golden Syrup in place of light corn syrup.  Lyle’s hails from England and is pretty common there.  It’s not processed as much as corn syrup and is straight cane syrup.  It IS a special order product though, that I found online, so feel free to use the standard corn syrup in it’s place.  I purchased Lyle’s awhile back when I was trying to recreate and English flapjack, a sort of chewy granola bar, and all the recipes called for it.  I had quite a bit on had some I’m trying to use it up!


Next some granulated sugar.


Brown sugar. I used Dark Brown Sugar because that’s pretty much all I keep on had these days.  I think the darker the sugar, the better flavor.  Go big or go home, ya know?


Next I added the beaten eggs.


Salt of course to balance out all that sweetness.  I added more than PW, too.  Love salt.


A good splash of vanilla.  Vanilla is one of those things that I very rarely measure.  I love it and the flavor it gives so I just poured in a splash.  It was much closer to one teaspoon than the 3/4 that PW calls for.


A gave the ingredients a little stir to partially combine then poured in the melted butter.  Then I stirred until everything was very well combined.


Chop some pecans.  You make make them a rough chop or chop them more finely.  PW likes the finely chopped, I went for a little chunkier.  It’s totally up to you and your preference.


Put your pecans in the bottom of your prepared pie crust.


Then pour that luscious filling on top of the pecans.  Sugar and butter, does it get any better than that?


The pecans will float to the top.


Lightly tent with foil and place on a baking sheet just in case it boils over.  Cook it for 35 minutes then remove the foil and cook for 25-30 more.  My pie required considerably more time and I believe it took longer to set because of the golden syrup.  You’ll know your pie is done when I knife inserted near the middle comes out clean.  I kept jiggling my pie and it was still jiggly in the middle so I did the knife test instead.


Remove pie and let cool, on a cooling rack, several hours until no longer warm.  I totally couldn’t wait that long and cut into it when it was still slightly warm but man was it delicious!  I like pie no matter the temperature.


Here she is in all her beauty!  The extended baking time of my pie really had me worried about my crust.  It was actually way crispier that I’ve ever made one before but it was flaky, delicious and a perfect vehicle for the gooey pecan pie.  I hope you take the time to make this someday.  It was totally worth it!

Pecan Pie

1 cup light corn syrup (or Lyle’s Golden Syrup)

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar, light or dark, your preference

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

3 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1 heaping cup chopped pecans (not pecans, chopped-there’s a difference people!)

1 recipe for Basic Flaky Pie Crust, prepared and uncooked

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, except the pecans, and stir well to combine.  Sprinkle the pecans in an even layer over your prepared pie crust then pour the wet ingredients over the pecans.  Place pie on a baking sheet and lightly tent it with foil.  Bake for 35 minutes, remove the foil and bake for 25-30 minutes more or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean.  Even if your pie is jiggly in the middle, you may want to check for doneness.  When you’ve determined your pie is done, remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.  Cool completely before serving.

Enjoy everyone and thanks for reading!

Until next time, happy baking!



My favorite pie crust

My favorite pie crust

So, I love to make pie.  I love to eat pie.  I love when other people eat pie that I’ve made.  If there were other things to do with pie, I’m sure I’d love doing those, too.  With every good slice of pie, there’s a (hopefully) good crust.  Everyone has their own way of making pie crust, too.  Butter or shortening.  Egg or no egg.  Vinegar. Cold water.  Sugar or not.  This crust recipe comes from Ken Haedrich‘s pie bible: PIE, one of my favorite cookbooks of all time (I had it checked out from the library for months at a time.  I eventually had to buy my own because I got tired of racking up late fees!)  It’s got shortening for flakiness and butter for flavor.  It’s chilled to make it easier to handle and it bakes up like a dream.  I’ll be posting a pie recipe soon and this is the crust I use!


Start with your flour, sugar and salt.


Whisk ’em together.


Cube up the shortening and butter and dot them randomly into your flour mixture.


Give ’em a toss to make sure all the pieces are well coated.


Using your pastry blender (or two knives or your fingers) cut the fat into the flour.  You’ll have roughly small pea-sized chunks when you’re done.


Drizzle the cold water over the mixture.  Start with about half the water and add more as needed.


Using a spatula (Ken recommends a fork and he’s right, a fork is good for this and it’s what I normally use.  Don’t ask me what I was thinking with the spatula.), toss the mixture around scraping up from the bottom and giving it a toss.  Kind of like folding the dough in on itself and making sure as much of the flour is incorporated as possible.  You may need to add more water when mixing by hand.  I kept sprinkling on a little water and tossing the mixture around until there was no dry flour left underneath and I could compress the mixture into a ball.


Lightly flour a work surface and turn your dough ball out onto it.  Lightly sprinkle with flour on top.  Knead the dough 2-3 times until relatively smooth.  DON’T overwork the dough or you’ll have a tough pie crust!


Flatten into a 3/4″-1″ thick disk and wrap in cling wrap.  Now, pop that baby in the fridge for NO LESS than 30 minutes but and hour is really best.  I was in a bit of a rush this time so mine probably only got about 30 minutes.  It wasn’t the end of the world.


When you’re ready, lay out a sheet of waxed paper and sprinkle lightly with flour.


Roll your dough out into a 12″ circle.


Now here’s the fun part: don’t roll the dough around your pin or fold it in quarters and try to get in it your pan, oh no!  You’re going to take your dough, waxed paper and all and flip it, dough side down, into your pie pan.  Get it centered then peel off the waxed paper by pulling it straight back towards you (not up and away).  Make sure you pie dough is tucked into the pan nice and neat.


Trim the rough edges and use your preferred crust finishing method.  I use my left thumb knuckle and two fingers from my right hand to crimp the edges.

You’re now ready to pre-bake your pie shell or fill it with something yummy and then bake it up nice and golden brown.  Here’s the recipe:

Basic Flaky Pie Pastry

1 1/2 c All Purpose Flour                          1 1/2 t sugar

1/2 t salt                                                    1/4 c (1/2 stick) cold butter, cubed

1/4 c cold vegetable shortening, cubed    1/4 c cold water

Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl.  Whisk together to combine.  Scatter butter and shortening over the flour and toss to coat.  Work the fat in with your pastry blender (or two knives or your fingers) until the mixture resembles small peas.  Sprinkle half the water over the mixture and toss well with a fork to dampen the mixture.  Add remaining water 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons at a time and continue to toss and mix, pulling the mixture up from the bottom of the bowl on the upstroke and pressing down on the downstroke.  Dough made by hand often needs a bit more water.  If necessary, add water 1 or 2 teaspoons at a time until pastry can be packed.  Using your hands, pack the pastry into a ball.  Knead once or twice then flatten into 3/4″ disk and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight before rolling.

Tips: Refrigerating the dough is super important because it helps the fats solidify again and makes the dough easier to handle.  I probably only chilled mine for a half hour and it ended up working out just fine for me, but I’ve also made a lot of pies and I have a pretty good ‘feel’ for the dough and what it should look and feel like.  If it’s too soft, chill it another 30 minutes and it should be easier to handle.  Ken also suggests chilling your pie shell once you have it in the pie pan so it can set up again and be more sturdy for when you add the filling.  I often do that but this time I was in a rush so I skipped that step.

Stay tuned for a yummy, not-so-springlike pie. 🙂

Keep baking!

See you soon!

Love, Callie

Stay tuned!

Stay tuned!

I haven’t forgotten about you all.  I promise!  It’s just that The Great Floor Project of 2015 is still under way and my kitchen is in MAJOR disarray, including my computer desk and my main cooking space.  The good news is my new floor looks fabulous and I’ll be sharing before/after photos soon.  Hopefully by the end of the week all will be right with my world again and I’ll be back to sharing recipes and stories with you.

I still haven’t forgotten that pie, either.  Round one of pie was not a complete failure but not a complete success either.  I did share the fruits of my labor with my tenants (they’re of the elderly persuasion) and they did ask for the recipe but I’m still not convinced.  They’ll literally eat anything I give them as long as it’s free.  Seriously.  I’ll wait to post it until I have complete pie perfection.  It may take awhile.  In the mean time, keep baking!!!



It was bound to happen…

It was bound to happen…

I’ve known this day was coming since the day Noah was born.  I’ve been patiently waiting and telling myself how lucky I am that it hasn’t happened yet or maybe it would happen on Matt’s watch.  No suck luck.  Tonight, for the very first time, at 7 months, 3 weeks, my sweet little Noah pooped in the tub!  Like I said, I KNEW it would happen at some point, it was just kind of surprising.  I went to pick him up but he wasn’t done yet!  Eek! I had to hold him, hovering over the water, wait until he was done because I wasn’t cleaning up a mess in the tub and on the bathroom floor.  I also had to make sure his favorite bath toy, the red solo cup, wasn’t full of contaminated water.  Ick.  After that things were pretty uneventful as I drained, rinsed and refilled the tub.  In fact, my evening has been downright boring in comparison AND, although it was the first time, I know it certainly won’t be the last!

So, fellow moms, do you have a crazy baby-in-the-bathtub story?


May your bath water always be clean!

Until next time!



To Binky or Not To Binky: That is the question

To Binky or Not To Binky: That is the question

That IS the question! And before I had Noah, I thought I had an answer: Not to binky, of course.  I didn’t want my two year old running around with a binky hanging out of his mouth, having a meltdown every time it disappeared. Then, enter Parenthood, stage left.  Parenting, like almost everything else, I’ve found, is easier in theory than it is at 3 am when all you want is more sleep!

Two months ago, we were doing great.  Noah only took his binky in the car when we were driving.  The rest of the time he went without.  Enter Teething, stage right.  Since teething began, sucking on his binky gives him comfort.  It gives him something to chew on and feels good on his gums.  One night, in a bleary-eyed state, he was upset so I shoved it in his mouth and he instantly settled down.  I told myself it was only temporary then I told myself to let it go.  Who cares?  Right now, it’s what’s best for him.  In a few months we can reevaluate the situation.   Maybe he’ll be two and still want if for comfort. I don’t know.  What I DO know is that I’ve never seen a kid go off to college and still want his binky so I’m guessing Noah will lose it somewhere along the way.  If the evil binky means more sleep for me, I selfishly choose more sleep. Obviously.

Well played, Parenting, well played!  Another lesson learned.


Until next time!

Love, Callie

Cooking In General or What I’ve Found To Be True

Cooking In General or What I’ve Found To Be True

Hi there!  I hope you’re having a great start to your week!  I’m dragging today because I watched the Oscars last night and I thought they would never. ever. end.  Also, Noah woke me up a couple of times last night so needless to say, today, I’m tired!

I can’t wait to share my next recipe with you!  I haven’t yet decided what to call it, but last week Stef from The Cupcake Project posted her recipe for Chocolate Potato Chip PMS Pie and suddenly visions of chocolate chip cookies and potato chip pie crust were dancing in my head- with Ruffles of course!  I would love to crank this pie right out and post it today but our kitchen floor is currently being renovated, by Matt, so I won’t have full access to my oven for a few days.  Sigh.  Bear with me, please? It’s coming very soon, I promise, and it will be worth it when it arrives!

Now, on to the “meat” of this post if you will.  I am a self-taught baker and cook. I’ve learned a lot over the years that I’ve picked up from family members, in books or on the internet and from personal experience.   I think that the most important lesson I’ve taken from all I’ve learned is: failure.  Recipes fail due to the recipe or more often that not, my error.  Every thing that I cook or bake will not always be perfect or turn out the way I’d wish.  My chicken may be underdone and then when I cook it more then it will inevitably come out dry, I may forget to add the leavening to a cake, the sauce may not thicken like it’s supposed to or maybe my butter is too soft or too cold for my frosting.   The list really can go on and on.  With every failure comes a lesson to be learned.  I try to listen to my instincts.  They rarely steer me wrong.  Mainly, though, I’m not perfect (though I really try to be when it comes to my cooking and baking).

Here at Babydoll Bakes, I will always endeavor to share the best recipes with you time and again.  If you try a recipe and something doesn’t come out right, let me know and we’ll try to figure it out together.  I would love to hear your feedback!  I also want you to know that I appreciate your being here and sharing in this experience with me.  Without you, I couldn’t be here!

Thanks for reading!  I’ll be back very soon to share more delicious eats!  Until then, happy baking!