These sweet and not-so-sweet treats are easy to bake.

By Peggy Kieran
February 19, 2021
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Why do hearty main dishes get all of the attention when March 17 arrives each year? When it comes to celebrating the Emerald Isle, at least on this side of the Atlantic, it's all about highlighting corned beef and cabbage and Irish stew. While these mains are St. Patrick's Day staples, we think it's high time some of the easy but delicious Irish baked goods got more respect. Yes, we're talking about soda bread, but that's not the only doughy delight we've got in mind. Here, we're sharing some favorites that we hope you'll bake this St. Patrick's Day.

Credit: Mike Krautter

Irish-Style Brown Bread

Let's start with an easy loaf of brown bread (that's whole wheat to you and me). Like the soda bread you know and love, it's a quick bread made with buttermilk and baking soda—there's no yeast needed, and it comes together quickly. Pair your loaf with stew or smoked salmon; they're a good match because you'll find that Irish-style brown breads lean savory, not sweet like those raisin-studded loaves. Still, no one would complain if you spread a slice with Irish butter and jam.

Credit: Yuki Sugiura

Scones with Pears, Irish Cheddar, and Honey

A favorite with a cup of tea at almost any time of day, scones are any easy, crowd-pleasing quick bread. In Ireland they tend to be simpler and less cake-like than the chocolate-chip types found stateside, but that's not to say they're dry or crumbly. Irish scones are rich with butter and milk or cream or buttermilk, as is the case in this recipe. Try these currant-studded scones with that cup of tea but also try them decked out as dessert with slices of ripe pear, Irish Cheddar, and honey.

Credit: Raymond Hom

Irish Soda Scones

"Another scone?" you ask. We say, "Why not!" These delicate morsels are also made with buttermilk and currants, but there are caraway seeds mixed in, too. Plus, they're scooped into mounds which is easier than cutting them out or forming large circles and scoring. The finishing touch is a glaze made with confectioners' sugar, milk, and orange zest that takes these delightful treats into decadent territory.

Credit: Mike Krautter

Celtic Knot Cookies

Anise and caraway seeds, plus a touch of vanilla, give these butter cookies a wonderful aromatic flavor, but it's the intricate design that makes them so appealing. The dough is rolled into a trefoil and a circle, then merged to create the symbol known as the Celtic knot. The biscuits are also sometimes called jumbles, which is derived from the Latin word "gemmel," meaning "twin," and refers to the double intertwined rings.

Credit: Chelsea Cavanaugh

Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Guinness brings out the deep tones of the chocolate, or is it the other way around? Either way, the rich, creamy stout is a natural pairing for chocolate. In Ireland, we fancy they'd skip the frosting and pair these gems with a glass of stout.

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